A Long Walk Home with Magnum Photo’s Eli Reed

Nov 18, 2016 | 12th Edition (2016), 2016 Festival Programme, Articles & Resources

eli-reed02_magnum-photosAt 70 years old, veteran Magnum Photo photographer Eli Reed believes there is always something to learn.

The clinical professor at the University of Texas School of Journalism has a flair for teaching, a desire to share his knowledge and loves the challenge of something new. So much so, he has recently taken up the violin and guitar.

But he is still shooting and always trying new things, new techniques and last week he was experimenting with a new lens.

One of America’s leading photojournalists, he says the key to success is to keep moving and growing.


Magnum photographer to exhibit at Angkor Photo Festival

Reed has travelled the world for a career spanning more than 40 years but his visit to Siem Reap for the Angkor Photo Festival next month will be his first time in Cambodia.

He is looking forward to visiting the Kingdom and joining the Festival, where his works from A Long Walk Home will be showcased in the exhibition.

The black and white images are taken from his book of the same name and capture life in its raw form, with all its emotions, from fear and joy to sadness and anger.

The images explore a theme: what does it mean to be a human being? It is a subject he has explored throughout his career and the topic continues to motivate him.

Reed believes photo festivals are a great opportunity for people to learn.

“I think they are very encouraging,” he says.

He was impressed by images from African photographers at a 2014 photo festival in Ethiopia and is looking forward to seeing the diversity at the Angkor Photo Festival.

“I think the internet has helped with expanding what people can see is possible. The idea is [that] you grow from this stuff. You grow from someone else’s perspective,” he says.


eli-reed01_magnum-photosLearning and Growth

Growth is a strong theme in the conversation with Reed, which flits from his love of teaching to the impact of his first mentor and on to the greatest challenge of his outstanding photography career – overcoming racism.

Despite the challenges, he was the first full-time black photographer employed by Magnum Agency. In fact, after seeing his work, the president of Magnum called him in 1988 and said: “I’d like to seduce you into joining Magnum”.

It resulted in assignments around the globe and the chance to explore different cultures and see a different perspective.

Since 2005 the former fine art student has been teaching photography at the University of Texas and says it is the best decision he ever made.

“If you can help point the way, not point your way, help them realise what they are trying to do – that’s a great feeling. That’s the thing about teaching, you’re learning all the time.”


‘A Long Walk Home’

We are thrilled Eli Reed is attending and exhibiting at the Angkor Photo Festival. Make sure you come and see his exhibition, A Long Walk Home, which can be viewed at the Royal Gardens in front of the Victoria Hotel from Dec 3rd to 13th. He will also be talking about his work to Festival attendees at our Festival Zone at 6pm on Friday 9th December.

Eli Reed’s visit has been made possible through a cultural grant from the US embassy in Phnom Penh. As well as exhibiting at the Angkor Photo Festival, Eli Reed will be talking at the American Corner in Siem Reap, located at the University of South-East Asia and after the Festival his prints will be moved to the US embassy to be exhibited there.




A Long Walk Home
Venue: Royal Gardens in front of Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa
Date: 3-13 December 2016

Artist Talk
Venue: Festival Zone
Date: 9 December, 6.00pm


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