At Angkor Photo Festival, Community Takes The Center Stage
Chris van Laak/以群眾為中心的吳哥攝影節
「對攝影師來說,連結非常的重要。」吳哥攝影節暨工作坊(Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops)總監林登麗(Jessica Lim)在開幕致詞中,回應前來參與的人群。活動舉辦的小鎮位於柬埔寨最具盛名的吳哥窟旁邊,會場附近遍布新殖民法式建築。一年一度的吳哥攝影節和吳哥攝影工作坊已舉辦14屆,是亞洲歷史最悠久的攝影節慶;即便地點偏遠,良好的口碑仍吸引亞洲攝影師每年前來共襄盛舉。
然而,對於最近參與吳哥攝影節的攝影師、編輯、策展人和其他攝影工作者來說,接下來工作將會備受挑戰,甚至比以往更加冒險。近來,有知名攝影師受到異常的拘留與逮捕:孟加拉攝影師Shahidul Alam才在(2018年)11月20日被保釋,在此之前他因為聲援示威的學生,而被送進監獄超過100天。他的言論被孟加拉當局視為挑釁,因而受到該國法規懲罰。
在這個每年12月初舉辦、為期10天的攝影節中,許多專業工作者都曾參與了要求釋放Alam的運動,他們對Alam重獲自由表示鬆一口氣。
新聞記者和攝影師依據工作地點和主題,多少會暴露在一定程度的風險中。但在這個一年一度的聚會裡,彼此的連結讓大家覺得安全。這是個交換想法和解決問題的地方,相較於許多專業工作者的母國,這裡的新聞自由度更高。
自2005年成立初期,位於柬埔寨的吳哥攝影節即不斷地在尋找空間。發展至今,他們的重點不在成果展示,而是專業間的交流與啟發。「多樣性是我們的重點,」林登麗補充說,「年輕的攝影師來自亞洲各地,回去後在各國宣傳我們的活動,希望將來能有更多台灣攝影師申請參加工作坊。」
除了為時一週、專為新銳攝影師而設的工作坊外,攝影節也為當地6~16歲間的孩童舉辦工作坊。
來自柬埔寨暹粒的Roun Ry是位專業攝影師。除了拍攝商業作品之外,他也以家鄉傳統生活方式去發展與社會和環境相關的議題。他的攝影職涯從2011年的兒童工作坊開始,現在他也是吳哥工作坊的導師。藉由攝影節,開啟了他與編輯和策展人之間的連結,並有機會與像路透社(Reuters)、世界新聞攝影基金會(World Press Photo Foundation)這樣的專業機構交流、討論他的作品。對Roun來說,攝影節「激勵年輕攝影師去深入探討並更上層樓」。
此外,攝影節也規劃了一個小型特展。在暹粒的市中心,Huiying Ore的作品沿著暹粒河畔展示在戶外,吸引遊客和當地人的目光。
她的作品記錄了寮國北邊的小鎮——磨丁市(Boten)。中國投資客曾承諾斥資15億美元,將這個邊境小鎮打造成博奕度假區。由於在中國賭博是違法的,他們期待這裡能成為探險的財富天堂。即便一切都照計畫進行,但最終投資客似乎失去興趣,在鎮上徒留半完工的觀光建設,及無人光顧的商店。
Fill 1
在戶外的小型特展。(攝影/Chris van Laak)
在戶外的小型特展。(攝影/Chris van Laak)
吳哥攝影節不針對特定政治議題,而是開啟藝術作品表達真相的空間,爭取其自由發聲的環境。在許多亞洲國家和世界各地這種創作自由都備受威脅,攝影節所面對的環境和其他地方大同小異。林登麗強調,這是全球共同面對的問題:「拒絕普世價值,或用西方帝國主義觀點來一味地批判,並沒有任何幫助。」
在新聞自由指數排名第142的柬埔寨,言論自由在政府不允許異己立場的管控之下,幾乎無生存空間。然而,吳哥攝影節因其國際化形象、並以聚焦當地觀眾為導向,成為當代最重要的相關攝影節慶之一。
攝影節成立以來雖已有數年,但仍需不斷地和瞬息萬變的環境磨合,例如他們需要維持各種贊助來源,或是在印刷技術有限的柬國製作專業印刷品。在中國的投資下,近年柬埔寨許多產業已漸趨專業化。
暹粒提供的高級住宿,遠超過前來吳哥攝影節的參訪者的預算。愈來愈多的中國遊客在此砸下大錢,而柬埔寨則張開雙手歡迎他們。柬埔寨在各領域都和中國有所合作,近年還跨含政治與行政層面。對此,自2005年即參與攝影節的Francoise Callier,他的觀察是:「對中國來說,寮國已開發完畢,接下來輪到柬埔寨了。」
而中國政府與柬國政府間愈趨親密的關係,可能會間接影響像吳哥攝影節這樣的組織。雖然在當地和柬國官方的合作上並沒有審查方面的問題,但類似的節慶在中國的情況就不一樣了。同樣於2018年12月開展的連州國際攝影年展,策展小組到最後一刻都還在與審查制度協調,其中Erwin Blumenfeld的代表性時尚攝影作品,最終在當局的意見之下取消部分展出。
在吳哥攝影節中,其中一晚的幻燈片投影展示了中國當代紀實攝影作品——這個區塊活動在攝影節行之有年,而今年由王溪策劃。攝影節自創辦初期即與中國藝術家及記者合作,這些少數但知名的專業攝影師也是團隊的一份子。
自2010年起開始加入策展團隊的盧廣,在這次的攝影節中突然行蹤成謎。2018年11月初時,中國攝影師盧廣被西北邊的新疆省政府拘捕,直至12月,公安局才證實盧廣被他們羈押,但沒有說明原因。他的作品被展示在幻燈片上,而他被拘留一事也成為攝影節中的話題。
在12月的暹粒聚會中,這些攝影工作者雖然在不同的國家中工作,創作主題也不盡相同,但他們有共同面對困境的感覺。
與菲律賓環境難民工作的Veejay Villafranca,在他身處的環境,記者常遭到非法處決,他相信媒體應該用真相抵抗權力:「我們不會用政府想要的方式滿足大眾。對記者來說更重要的是,我們有彼此作為後盾」。
Fill 1
2018吳哥攝影節開幕放映。(攝影/Chris van Laak)
2018吳哥攝影節開幕放映。(攝影/Chris van Laak)
“For photographers, community is now more important than ever.” The opening words of Jessica Lim, director of Angkor Photo Festival and Workshop, resonated with the crowd that had gathered around the lavish French neocolonial architecture of the Cambodian town close to the famous temples of Angkor Wat. The annual Angkor Photo Festival and Workshop is in its 14th edition, which makes it the longest running festival of its kind in Asia, - it has established itself very well in the schedules of professionals all over the continent despite its remote location.
But the photographers, editors, curators and other professionals, who visit the festival most recently, know that doing their jobs might be more difficult, even more dangerous than ever. Some high profile photographers have been arrested and detained for unusual long times recently : Shahidul Alam of Bangladesh has recently been released on bail on 11/20 after he had spoken out in favor of protesting students and therefore spent more than 100 days in prison – as his statement was deemed “provocative” and therefore punishable under Bangladeshi laws.
Many of the professionals involved in the festivals events and exhibitions which run for 10 days in early December have been involved in campaigns demanding Alam's release – now many express relief that their friend is free.
Depending on the location and subject of their work, journalists and photographers are exposed to more or less of a risk, but here, where people come together annually, the ones involved feel relief in a strong community. It is a place for exchange of ideas and solutions to problems – a forum that many professionals don't find in their countries with a lesser developed journalistic infrastructure.
From its beginning in 2005 the festival has been working on filling that void in Cambodia. And still today the focus is not as much on showcasing works, as it is on exchange between professionals and aspiring professionals. “Diversity is crucial for us.” described Jessica Lim. “Young photographers from all over Asia join our festival and then become our ambassadors in their countries. We hope we will get more workshop applications from Taiwan in the future”, she added.
Besides a weeklong workshop for aspiring professionals, the festival also runs workshops for local children between the ages 6 and 16.
Roun Ry of Cambodia is a professional photographer based in Siem Reap. He shoots commercial assignments, but he also covers social and environmental issues, as well as traditional lifestyles in his home province. His career started as a participant in the children's workshop in 2011. Now he is also a teacher in the workshop and sees the festival as an occasion to connect with editors and curators, to show and discuss his work in Portfolio Review events with professionals of institutions such as Reuters or the World Press Photo Foundation. For Roun, the festival “encourages and pushes young photographer to go deeper and understand more”.
The festival also showcases a small, but eclectic selection of photographic works. Huiying Ore's photos were displayed in an outdoors exhibition along the Siem Reap River that meanders through the city center catching the eyes of tourists and locals alike. In her works she documents the small town of Boten in Northern Laos. The Chinese investors had promised 1.5 billion for further developments in a casino resort there. As this kind of gambling is illegal in China, the town at the Laotian border was supposed to become a paradise for fortune and adventure seeking Chinese in which even all clocks are set to Chinese time. Eventually the Chinese investors must have lost interest in the project, leaving the town with half finished tourist infrastructure and local businesses without customers.
The festival doesn't follow a political agenda, but it showcases art that speaks truth to power and requires an environment of freedom of artistic expression. Even though this freedom is challenged in many countries in Asia as well as worldwide, Angkor still finds an environment to thrive in an unlikely place. For Jessica Lim, global issues need to be addressed, as “rejecting universal values and denouncing them for example as Imperialist Western is just a stupid argument”.
Cambodia is ranked 142th in the Freedom of Press Index, freedom of expression is “drastically curtailed” under a government that doesn't allow an independently operating political opposition. Still with it's international outlook combined with a focus on a local audience, the festival manages to stay relevant.
The festival has grown over the years, but it still needs to adapt to an ever changing environment, for example funding has to be secured from a multitude of sponsors, prints have to be made in a country that that still has little experience in professional printmaking. Still in recent years Cambodia has developed in many sectors and professionalism many industries with the help of Chinese investments.
Siem Reap offers world class accommodation far beyond the budget of the ordinary visitors to Angkor Photo festival. Nowadays more and more Chinese tourists visit the city and the famous temples for a short luxury vacation and Cambodia is glad to cater their very specific needs. Between Cambodia and China there is cooperation in all sectors and as of late especially also in politics and administration. Francoise Callier, who initiated the festival in 2005, observes the developments: “For China Laos is already done, Cambodia is next.”
The governments of Cambodia and China moving closer together might have impact on institutions such as the Angkor Photo Festival. While the organizers cooperate with local Cambodian authorities and censorship is not directly an issue, at similar festivals in China the situation is much different. At the Lianzhou Foto festival which started last December, curators had to negotiate with censors until the last minute and significant works, such as iconic fashion photos by Erwin Blumenfeld had to be pulled from the show due to some very late changes in the opinion of the censorship authority.
At the Angkor photo festival, one evening of slideshow projections is reserved for the works of contemporary Chinese documentary photography – an event that has been part of the festival for many years and is curated by Wang Xi this year. The festival has been cooperating with Chinese artists and journalists since early on and few, but high profile Chinese professionals are part of the community that gathers here.
Lu Guang, who has been member of the team of curators at Angkor in 2010, was missed dearly in the festival’s most recent edition. In early November 2018 Lu Guang was abducted by the authorities in the Western Chinese Province of Xinjiang. Only recently his detainment has been confirmed by the police without reasons given. His photos are still shown in the slideshows and his detainment is discussed among visitors to the festival.
The professionals gathered in Siem Reap in December work on different subjects and in different countries, but many feel like they are struggling together.
Veejay Villafranca who works on environmental refugees on the Philippines, in an environment where extrajudicial killings of journalists happen frequently is convinced that journalists have to speak truth to power : “We will not spoon-feed the public with what governments want. It is important that we journalists know that we have each other's backs”.

第15屆吳哥攝影節與工作坊(The Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops)

2019年5月1日開放申請 申請期限至2019年6月30日PM5:00(GMT+7)。結果將在2019年8月中旬公告。

申請與選取標準和要求: 申請者必須是亞洲國籍並有經驗的學生或專業攝影師。 工作坊將以英文進行。 參與者必須自備數位相機及筆記型電腦。 參與者必須會使用基礎的照片編修軟體。

費用: 免申請費,免工作坊學費。 提供2019年11月27日到12月7日的住宿。 參與者需自行規劃到柬埔寨吳哥窟的旅程。 不提供簽證及轉乘費用。

申請文件: 個人簡歷、個人論述、一組12~20張照片的作品集。

Application Opens 1st May 2019 Deadline: 30th June 2019, 5pm (GMT+7) Application results will be announced by mid-August 2019.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA & REQUIREMENTS

  • Applicants must be either a student OR a professional photographer of Asian nationality with limited professional experience.
  • The workshop will be conducted in English.
  • Participants will have to bring their own digital DSLR camera and laptop.
  • Participants should be able to use basic photo editing software (eg: Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture etc.)

EXPENSES

  • The workshop is tuition-free, with no application fee.
  • Accommodation will be provided from 27th November – 7th December 2019. (Checkout on 8th December)
  • Participants have to make their own travel arrangements to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  • Visa fees and transport expenses are not provided.

SUBMISSION MATERIALS】

1. BRIEF CV / RESUME 吳哥攝影節與工作坊For Students:

  • Course and institution of study
  • Expected year of graduation
  • Any previous photography workshops/internships/courses attended

For Professionals:

  • Details on current and previous professional experience (including freelance and internships)
  • Any previous photography workshops/internships/courses attended

2. PERSONAL STATEMENTWe want to get to know you better. Tell us about your experience with photography, and why you would like to attend our workshop. (Maximum 250 words).3. PORTFOLIO SUBMISSIONYour portfolio of work should reflect your vision and style as a photographer.

  • Filename: All images should include your full name. (Eg: Amy_Tan_001.jpg)
  • Number of images: Minimum 12 – Maximum 20 photos per portfolio
  • Image Size: 2,000 pixels on longer side / 72dpi / JPG format / Medium quality (8)

[ Optional: You may choose to upload one additional file with text or caption information in the following formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf ]

用行動支持報導者

優質深度報導必須投入優秀記者、足夠時間與大量資源⋯⋯我們需要細水長流的小額贊助,才能走更長遠的路。 竭誠歡迎認同《報導者》理念的朋友贊助支持我們!

© 2019 All rights Reserved