In the City by Night

Sovan Philong


“When Philong Sovan, after his experience as staff photographer at The Phnom Penh Post, decided to concentrate on his personal projects, he perfectly knew the limitations of photojournalism. But he wanted to continue to explore and document the world where he was living. The main question was for him: for what purpose and with what tools? To approach the City by Night, a series he is still working on, he invented a clever device, at the same time simple, surprising and efficient. Using the headlight of his motorbike, he reveals what we don’t see and concentrates on the people which become representatives of the different aspects of the city. With his delicate and strong feeling of color, between portraiture and focus on situations, he invents a new status of documentary. He is not only describing, he asks questions because we recognize what we see but we never see it as he shows it. The light he adds permits a feeling of ‘realistic fiction,’ close to a cinematographic tradition.” – Christian Caujolle.


Born 1986, Philong SOVAN is an independent professional photographer working and living in Phnom Penh.

He began, in 2009, as press photographer and joined soon the staff of The Phnom Penh Post and then worked for some months with the Xinhua News Agency in 2011-2012. Besides covering the news, Philong has developed several personal projects, especially those he developed with “Studio Images” of the French Cultural Center and were exhibited during the festival Photo Phnom Penh.

After studying one year in France with the support of a grant of French government at Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumiere where he discovered analog photography and trained different technical of printing, he went back to Cambodia at fall 2013. He actually teaches, works on assignments and develops some new photographic projects.

Recently, his work was published in Gala Magazine, The Guardian, Le Monde Magazine, L’EXPRESS style, Internazionale Italy Magazine, Globe Magazine, L’OEIL Portfolio, De L’air, IMAGES and The Phnom Penh Post. Philong SOVAN has been a member of Asia Motion since 2011.