The power of photos

The power of photos

This picture was taken in a small house in Cambodia – a single room dwelling and like many Cambodian homes features wedding photos, hand-touched, taken decades ago. Today many of us enjoy vast photo collections (I took 600 shots in two weeks) but for a farm worker in Cambodia, those two photos may be their only record of the past. I wonder if one form of simple assistance would be this: a visitor takes portraits, gets these printed and gives the prints back to their subjects. That simple. At SOC Alex has my digital file and is getting the shots I took of students and their parents, printed so they can have copies. A small gesture, but given the number of “old family photos” I’m now seeing, posted by young Cambodians on Facebook, there is a real hunger to capture the family history through photos.

4 thoughts on “The power of photos

  1. I did this once on trip to Tonga where I ended up visiting a teacher in her village. I am sure the photos were very much appreciated.

    • A traveller with a heart. I felt awkward “taking” the pictures, and in one photo – two farmers with their son – I suddenly realised that one day this photo may be the only picture record he will have of his parents.

      • Duncan, would it be helpful if my husband and I visited your school for the day while we are in Siem Reap in March 2014 and took pics? We could develop and either mail back to Savong or send back with Chris Quill. Let me know.

      • Hi Mary – for sure I think photos are really treasured mementos for Cambodians who have very little in the way of visual documentation of their lives. The school has signs up saying “no photos” and this is to discourage the “Facebook Volunteers” who come and do nothing other than take photos presumably to show the folks back home how they “worked to save the children of Cambodia.” But with some prior arrangement a formal “school photo day” where groups or individuals are photographed, and then prints delivered back free of charge (these can be developed in Siem Reap) to the children would be a really great gesture. One set for distribution, and perhaps a second set for the school’s noticeboard inside the library building. I’m putting myself in the shoes of one of the parents: they would be proud if their son and daughter came home with a photo especially of them.

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