“The cities tie you with a love, which dips into secrets. Falling coins stand mute. Their sound, as if unheard, mingles with trade cries. The moaning dissolves into a jigsaw of falling coins. The camera hears all that and tries to visualize this acute listening effect.”
In 2012, in the month of November I went to Cambodia and I started exploring the beautiful city of Siem Reap at night on a bicycle I hired for two dollars a day. I had no preconceived forms or narratives in my mind . But I was desperate to photograph and I kept taking pictures of things, animals and people I found on the streets – the prostitutes waiting in street corners, the dogs, the buildings, the amorphous nocturnal figures. I photographed faces, animals and bodies, trying to capture the moments when a lot seemed to happen but also when things reached the silence of stasis in the middle of nowhere. The solitude and mania that pervades the night made a great impression on me and I was drawn to people living on the edge but yet somehow surviving and escaping the predictable ends: jails, institutionalization or death. The darkness of the city fascinated me, and resonated with my own sense of disillusionment at the time.
Instead of being a sequential narrative of facts, Khmer Din is a visual representation of disconnected memories where I wanted to achieve a flow without narrative; this is not an objective story of a place as much as a silent exploration of the darkness of Siem Reap: its streets, bars, night shelter hotels and the amorphous night figures.