From 2013 until the recent 2020 Covid crisis I conducted daily photo tours in Cambodia. During those many photo walks, I was able to meet locals from all walks of life. The image here is from 2016. I was in the privileged circumstances to photograph this older authentic man.
This man hasn’t lost his pride and spirit despite his sometimes hard circumstances. Especially during the Khmer Rouge war in mind from 1974-1979. Those years of horror and war played a big part in Cambodian history until today.
I call him the “Bright Eyed Man from a dark history in Cambodia”.
There was immediately a feeling of respect and fun between us, right away. Unfortunately, I was not able to have a Khmer conversation with him. I wish I could have had. Who is he, and what happened in his life and how are things for him today? He must have seen things in his life so far.
Then again, it’s also fine to keep it to friendly eye contact and use my camera between us, and just enjoy the moment of human interaction.
Here I like the story of mutual intrigued fascination, as well as the light in his eyes. His fragile worn and strong body and his sparkling eyes and smile and well-groomed hair.
In those moments I love my work as a (portrait) photographer as it gives me insights into people and circumstances I otherwise never would have realized.