120 FILM: Hong Kong

Film throwback, shot whilst traveling around Hong Kong in 2015, all on 120 film with an old TLR camera.

We traveled to Hong Kong to buy an old TLR camera. This was my first time ever shooting a medium format 120 camera, and the first TLR I ever bought... My beautiful Yashica MAT.

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Nat Geo Explorer: 2017 Our Forest

As modern technology is having a great impact on, and altering indigenous culture and traditions within Cambodia, the Kuy of Prey Lang are utilizing this technology to their advantage, and using it in a way to benefit their communities to combat illegal logging. Using technology such as smart phones, cameras, and GPS, to create and add to larger databases, as well as developing new mobile apps to be used by the network. Their use of modern technology is not losing their indigenous identity, but saving it. 

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Nat Geo Explorer: 2013 Made in Cambodia

With rural indigenous groups feeling the impact of climate change, as it continues effecting crops- as well as rife land concessions involving big companies- more young people are leaving their traditional rural villages, to seek work elsewhere in urban areas, within the garment industry, in order to support their families back home. 

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1986 Returning Home

After years of displacement in Vietnam, many Phnong villages returned to Cambodia in 1986. With entire villages fleeing the US bombings in the early 1970s, they sought refuge in Vietnam, where they were exposed to Christian aid from missionaries. Returning home, not only has the villages changed from the war, but so had the Phnong people...

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1966 Medicine Man

During the Khmer Rouge Phnong culture suffered greatly and was lost, as they were not allowed to perform traditional ceremonies, or use traditional healing when sick.  As well as village chief, Toun is also a traditional healer, curing sick people in the village. Collecting natural plants from the nearby forest and making traditional medicines, as well as performing ceremonies such as “exorcisms”, when there is a bad spirit inside someone making them sick. 

Phnong villagers now call on Toun for traditional healing ceremonies, ceremonies which were not permitted during their time under the Khmer Rouge...  

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Nat Geo Explorer: 2008 Last Love Hut

Bride and Groom huts- also known as “love huts” have been an indigenous Kreung custom, where young girls and boys approaching adolescence, were given their own huts outside the family home, where they could live independently, court the opposite sex to find the correct life partner, as well as experiment with premarital sex. With villages being so scarce, and bad road conditions, making traveling time between villages long and tiring, it would be common for visitors courting from other villages to stay for the night.

Now this tradition which was once a key part of Kreung culture no longer exists. These huts have not been used for the past 10-15-years, being made redundant within indigenous society, due to technology and better road conditions. 

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1977 Death of Cadre Horm

In 1973 as relations between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam deteriorated, a paranoia kicked in, sparking a wave of purges in the highlands bordering Vietnam. In 1977 another wave of purges was sparked after cadres escaped to Vietnam.

Through research, we sourced the Khmer Rouge case files of prominent high ranking indigenous officers who were arrested and killed by the regime. From these files, the surviving family members of Cadre Horm were tracked down.  

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1976 Forced Marriage

Forced marriages were common practice under the Khmer Rouge, leaving the people with no choice but to marry, or to die. Like the khmer people, and people in other provinces, the indigenous people in the northeast were also subject to forced marriages, often being made to marry non-indigenous Cambodians. 

Not in love, and not wanting to marry, couples would be wed in mass ceremonies, with multiple couples being wed at once under the authority of the Angka. After marriage, couples were expected to live together and consulate their marriage- they would be spied upon to make sure of this. if they did not do so after marriage, it would be seen as a betrayal to Angkar, and life threatening. 

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Nat Geo Explorer: Kuoy the Elephant

Kouy the elephant (70) assisted his owners family, as well as their neighbors- Pros Sokhas family- as they village fled Cambodia, trekking through the jungle, across the border into Vietnam. 

Before the indigenous Phnong were renowned as great elephant keepers and masters of the forests in eastern Cambodia.

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1977 Death of Cadre Kasy

In 1973 as relations between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam deteriorated, a paranoia kicked in, sparking a wave of purges in the highlands bordering Vietnam. In 1977 another wave of purges was sparked after cadres escaped to Vietnam.

Through research, we sourced the Khmer Rouge case files of prominent high ranking indigenous officers who were arrested and killed by the regime. From these files, the surviving family members of Cadre Kasy were tracked down.  

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1976 Forced Marriage

Forced marriages were common practice under the Khmer Rouge, leaving the people with no choice but to marry, or to die. Like the khmer people, and people in other provinces, the indigenous people in the northeast were also subject to forced marriages, often being made to marry non-indigenous Cambodians. 

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Nat Geo Explorer: 1971 US BOMBING

On March 18, 1969, the US began its 4-year long carpet bombing campaign in Cambodia. Cambodia secretly suffered from US secret bombing campaign, which paved the way for the Khmer Rouge, gaining more support. Almost 3-million tons of bombs were dropped on Cambodia, internally displacing a large percentage of the rural population, and killing an estimated 500,000. Many of the displaced people fled Cambodia, to the safety of neighboring Vietnam.

The bombing campaign targeted the northeast region on Cambodia, sharing borders with Vietnam. This region was heavily populated by indigenous groups such as the Phnong, resulting in many indigenous Phnong villages evacuating their lands, fleeing to Vietnam in 1971, unable to return till 1986.

 

PROS SOKHA

Pros Sokha (b.1963, Indigenous Phnong) was 8-years-old when her family fled the village to avoid the US bombings, one of which landed on her families home, almost killing them. She remembers bombs being dropped every 15-days, and feeling scared whilst looking for a place to escape. Abandoning their elephants, they traveled and transported their belongs by foot, and using their neighbors elephant, walking across the border to Vietnam.

From 1971-1986 her family lived in Vietnam as refugees, being supported by aid, and working as farmers. There were no indigenous schools, and she attended a khmer school in Vietnam. They moved back to their village in 1986, where things changed. Before they lived with Phnongs, but after the war they started mixing with khmer people, as khmer people started buying land, and moving to the village. Before houses were far apart and on the ground opposed to khmer stilt houses, now these ground house are no longer used, and only used for tourists to visit. 

In Vietnam many Phnongs were exposed to Christian aid, converting them to Christianity, and abandoning their indigenous beliefs. Pros Sokha and her family remained Phnong, and still practice their customs in the village, despite the majority of the once Phnong village, now being Christian. The Phnong believe in animal sacrifice, and is a part of their preyer ceremony when someone becomes sick, or bad things occur. Her daughter became pregnant before marriage, therefore the family were obliged to sacrifice animals- a pig and a chicken- whilst preying to an elephant, which are still regarded as sacred animals in Phnong culture, despite dwindling numbers after the war. before each home owned an elephant, which were used for work, transport, and preyer. Now after the Khmer Rouge there are only a few left, as they were either left behind, or killed during the regime...

Following Phnong tradition, as Pros Sokhas daughter became pregnant before marriage, her family performed a traditional sacrifice ceremony, to appease the spirits.

Nat Geo Explorer: 2016 Animal Sacrifice

Some Bunong customs have survived, one of which is animal sacrifice. Following Phnong tradition, as Pros Sokhas daughter became pregnant before marriage, her family performed a traditional sacrifice ceremony, to appease the spirits. The father of her daughters child first sacrifices a pig, and a chicken. The meat is then shared with the village as an offering, along with jar rice wine- another indigenous Bunong custom..

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Indigenous Voices: National Geographic Blog...

My first piece for Nat Geo Indigenous Voices, about my Explorer expedition looking into Cambodias changing indigenous culture...

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SMILE Magazine: Textile Weaving in Siem Reap

Whilst working on a shoot for Smile Magazine (for Cebu Pacific Airlines) in August, 2017, shooting the weavers on the Tonle Sap- we also got to take a detour and visit some textile weavers in Siem Reap...

Fishing on the Tonle Sap

Whilst working on a shoot for Smile Magazine (for Cebu Pacific Airlines) I got to visit weavers on the Tonle Sap... Here I also got to meet some fisherman on the Great Lake, along the way....

Throwback: 3D Munition Printing

On assignment for DISEGNO magazine- The Quarterly Journal of Design. Disegno is the leading quarterly magazine dedicated to in-depth and independent reporting on design.

The Golden West Humanitarian Foundation have a 3D writing design lab, where they create 3D printed plastic models of munitions for organizations -such as the UN- to be used in teaching de-miners.

National Geographic Explorer...

Almost 1-Year of Hard Work!

In 2016 I was lucky enough to become a National Geographic Explorer, and be awarded a grant to fund a project looking into the history of Cambodias indigenous minorities...

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