Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. A Unesco world heritage site, it extends over 400 square kilometres and contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.
With over two million visitors each year, what strikes me most is that Angkor can still give the traveler a true explorer’s feel. Of course taking your time and going well off the main trails helps a lot. I rented a bike for three days to explore the huge area. To get kinda lost and be fully alone amidst ruins peeping from underneath the centuries old trees. immersed in the mystical atmosphere…
Angkor, the largest religious monument in the world was recently in the news because people regularly lower their pants for nude pictures. They might very well have confused Angkor with the temples of Khajuraho in India, where the sexual practices at the time are depicted rather vividly.
‘the hesitant, the absent and the present’ is a collage distilled from a reportage I made on the Sunderban islands in the Bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh.
A very fascinating world where initially the white sandy beaches seemed to come out of a bounty commercial but very soon, while living with the people in their straw huts, I saw a different reality coming to the front, where struggle was more present even though the persistent genuine friendliness of the people made it very hard to take it in fully. Coming from the so called ‘rich’ west where people’s happiness often seems to be lingering a whole notch lower on the scale, ‘being rich’ is a very relative notion indeed.
‘the hesitant’, a shy boy very much into cricket and in full admiration of his idol Sachin Tendulkar, a God in India (young version behind the boy)
‘the absent’ was taken at the crucial moment during a community meeting where an important decision for the village had to be taken
I saw the girl in ‘the present’ while hitching a ride on a mule cart while on my way out of the islands. Her presence and empty state of mind struck me deeply and I asked her mother if I could take her picture as soon as the cart would come to a halt.