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Is this my home now? Entry for Travel Photography Scholarship 2011

My Photo scholarship 2011 entry

Cambodia | Tuesday, 8 November 2011 | flickr photos

As a recent graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, trying to figure out how best to put my new fancy Masters degree to use, I uprooted my life in Washington D.C. for a four-month residency in Phnom Penh. As an intern reporter at the Cambodia Daily, I get to experience something eye-opening every single day. And wherever I go, my camera goes with me.

Drawn to the story of regular government-sanctioned evictions, I began to make trips to the various resettlement sites on the outskirts of the capital, where after a year, five years, even 10, evictees still wait for water and electricity, decent roads, and jobs close enough to home. Rather than the protests and court battles we see when stories of evictions surface, these people are simply trying to go about their lives.

I struggled to select these images. I'm not certain they represent the best of my work, or even the best of my photos from this project. But as I visited these sites, I kept thinking how normal activity continued, in the face of daily hardships as well as the extraordinary challenges of the historic floods that have struck Cambodia this year, and I chose photos I hope reflect that.

Being a reporter, for me, has always been about trying to tell the story in a way that doesn't fall into cliché. It is important to me to report on issues that have true impact on people's lives. How do I tell the story in the most truthful, meaningful way? I'm still learning.

Over the past year, since I began photojournalism in earnest, I've missed as many shots as I've captured. My failures drive me. I study even my most successful pictures--how could they be better? How could the aesthetics of the image more fully serve the story it tells? I've got a long way to go, but it's a labor of love.

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