28 NOV – 3 DEC 2019
3 DEC – 7 DEC 2020
Photo from “Our Songs From the Forest“
by Uma Bista
Huge love and gratitude to the community of photographers, supporters and partners who made this year’s activities a memorable success.
See you in November 2020 for the 16th Edition!
Divisiveness seems to still be the flavor of the day. Around the world, in conflicts large and small, battle lines continue to be drawn up and bolstered between opposing groups of people. As a rather inventive species, we have discovered a myriad of ways to separate ourselves: territory, race, cultural identity, language, religion, gender and political beliefs, etc.
A difference in opinion could remain just that, with neither party worse for wear by the existence of an alternative belief, and perhaps even enriched by the genuine embrace of diversity.
Unfortunately, as the endless news cycle informs us, not all differences are celebrated. Quite the opposite, with many having been deemed unfit to even exist. From newly-emerged scenarios in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, to the continuation of unresolved conflicts in the Kurdish region, Kashmir, and countless other areas, the struggle for the right to exist in a manner of one’s choosing continues.
On a personal level, lines have also been drawn, albeit in a less dramatic manner. Divided by our individual backlit screens, we select our facts from within our own information bubble, failing to glimpse the limits of our own understanding. How do we, as individuals and communities, find our way back to each other?
In creating this year’s event, we were moved by works that sought to bring about a deeper appreciation of each other, motivated by a need for unification without the requirement of homogeneity. Very often, this comes from the photographer’s own need for understanding, and often requires her or him to cast aside prior biases and prejudices.
I am grateful to be surrounded by a team that shares this ideal. As we celebrate our 15th edition, we recall the incredible community that has brought us this far.
It is a privilege to be able to say that we have than 450 alumni of our professional workshops. They, along with countless other photographers who are now a part of our family, have lent their differing voices, passions and artistic approaches, helping us to create an incredibly vibrant community of professionals in our part of the world.
Their involvement in our organising committee as well as this year’s line-up also helps us continue being a platform for Asian curatorial voices and photographic talent. With our alumni returning as our guest curators, exhibiting photographers, tutors and volunteers, each year we reinforce our long-term aim of becoming a self-sustainable initiative led by Asia’s photographic society.
In keeping with my very young tradition of sharing the words that have guided me in the lead up to this year’s edition, I am moved to share with you the words of Pablo Neruda, uttered in 1971:
“There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song … but in this dance or in this song the most ancient rites of our consciousness are consummated: of the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.”
– Jessica Lim
Angkor Photo Workshops
The core of our event, the annual Angkor Photo Workshops is a free workshop for emerging Asian photographic talents, focused on nurturing each individual’s unique vision and approach to the medium of photography. In today’s world, where the commercialisation of education is fast becoming the dominant model, we believe it is important for us to remain an affordable option for those seeking access to professional education and development.
For the past 14 years, our festival has been a meeting point in Asia for a broad community of photographers and media professionals from the region and beyond. Our festival’s programme of exhibitions and projection evenings aim to introduce a range of contemporary practitioners with different approaches to the craft, creating room for discussion and dialogue amongst students and visiting professionals. It also includes activities aimed at professional development such as artist talks, discussion sessions and free portfolio reviews.
Anjali Photo Workshops
The Anjali Photo Workshops is an annual photography workshop organised for the children of the NGO Anjali House, aimed at engaging them in a fun-filled activity which encourages creative expression and helps build their self-confidence and contributes to their ongoing educational development.
The 2019 Official Photography Partner of the festival, Fujifilm is organising a special workshop running at the same time as our festival! If you’re in town, do check it out – admission is free and open to all.