I initially embarked on this project with the intention of producing an organic response to what I saw, feeling rather than thinking, creating a raw, visual document of the world around me. The experience itself was akin to a kaleidoscope of images appearing as an overwhelming hailstorm of visual stimuli that was constantly evolving. I came to find that the images transcended my own reality and spoke volumes of the Cambodian plight, both ancient and contemporary. The contrasting extremes existing within the country itself are simultaneously humbling, devastating, and wholly honest. I was struck by the astounding beauty of the jungle flora and the incredibly reliant relationship the Cambodian inhabitants still have with the earth, which, as history dictates, has both nourished and destroyed them. Evidence of broken families and ghostly remains of dismembered bodies, victims of Pol Pot, live amongst the ancient temples – temples that narrate a time when the grandeur of the architecture was the visual representation of a dynamic and vital civilization. In spite of their ghastly wounds, proof of the danger of land mines, which remain a looming threat in Cambodia, these liabilities may be the only means for financial advancement, exploiting themselves to appeal to sympathetic tourists.
Back in my comparably comfortable world of excess, I was enlightened by the resilience of the human spirit and how little one needs to survive. The mutual curiosity, between my subjects, and myself allowed me to gain a high respect for all of the persons featured in the photographs and an appreciation for their flourishing jungle backdrops. Indeed, some of the images may seem shocking, but my intention was to describe and convey the state of the human condition with honor and immense respect while illustrating the strength of the human spirit.