Chhea did his artistic research in Yeak Loam Lake with the Tompuom community. He wanted to give something back to this community by developing a workshop with them. This way they could participate with their own creations in this reflection about the link of life and water.
He proposed a photo workshop for the adults, who have usually less opportunities to do creative works. The village was very interested and even the chief of the minority wanted to join the activity. Only males came to the Yeak loam Cultural Centre to experiment with the cameras; their ages were very varied and some of them could not even speak Khmer, only their tribe language. None of them have used a camera before and they were excited about the possibility of taking their own pictures.
The class seemed very technical, but the participants were very concentrated and really got a lot from the explanation, whose main points were focus, light and composition. Being there you could really feel in front of a university teacher; Chhea has great skills to explain and explain again every topic, it was very impressive how he had resources to clarify each point.
Inside the room of the Cultural Centre, they started the first practical experimentation: learning how to manage the camera first and, then, some fundamentals of composition and focus. He spent some time going one by one so everybody was ready to go on a three hours walk around Yeak Loam area by themselves, where they should take pictures about the lake and the life that surrounds it.
At the end of the day everybody came eager to show their work. Some of the pictures were really beautiful and all were good examples to learn about the rights and wrongs and how small details can improve the quality of your image. The environment was relax and full of joy, everybody laughed a lot when sharing the pictures and felt proud when receiving good comments from the teacher and from the other participants.
Everyone was very satisfied with the outcomes which, afterwards, were shown at Through Waters exhibition in Ratanakiri’s Cultural Centre and at Canon’s Hall in Phnom Penh.
The group really loved the photo experience and decided to buy one camera for the community. Nothing can make us happier than realizing that these experiences are many times the first step of a long creative way.