Rabbit in Your Headlight

In Siem Reap, the small city near the temples of Angkor Wat, two million tourists come every year. The town, and now all the area, depend totally of the visitors who eat, sleep, need guides, tuk-tuk, and buy souvenirs. Everyone is working for tourism.
But we never see the workers and especially by night, when everyone is sleeping, people continue to work, try to make their living, and also rest. I decided to photograph them, to document their life, their life of poor people who just try to take advantage of what’s generally seen as tourism.
My idea was not just to document it in the classic approach of photojournalism I had done that when I was working for a daily newspaper. I wanted to reveal something more, go deeper into a world. I choose to light different situation and scenes with the head light of my moto. I liked the manner how, in the dark, the very simple lighting was giving a totally new dimension to very normal and ordinary situations. In fact, the situation was very simple in relationship with people because I was alone, without any assistant to help me for lighting. It became something at the same time realistic, documentary, but had also a kind of non - real aspect, as a fiction, a realistic fiction. In a certain manner, my photographs were becoming more cinematographic than what I expected at the beginning. I liked the tension between document and surreal.
Unfortunately my stay in Siem Reap was too short to complete the work as planned. I would like to continue it or, maybe, to begin a new series, in Phnom Penh, using the same kind of lighting.

Philong Sovan , 2010.