2016 has been an incredible year for the photographers at Angkor Travel Photography (ATP for short). We had the opportunity this year to lead many tours in Cambodia and abroad (Vietnam and India, for example); we were also posted to assignments in Cambodia for a wealth of different NGOs and private companies but were also lucky enough to be able to travel to France, Togo and Benin. With the coming of the new year we’d like to share with you the photographs we think are our best of 2016. Which one is your favorite?
“From the Sky” – January
This image was taken during the first photo tour of 2016: On our way to Sala Bai (a non-profit restaurant training underprivileged children in hospitality work) for lunch, the light may have been harsh but we had no shortage of interesting subjects, like these children swimming in the Siem Reap River near the centre of town. Régis leaned over the side of the bridge to capture this “From The Sky” angle. We love the unique perspective of this vantage point. Photo taken during our Beyond Angkor tour.
“Sunset in Angkor Wat” – February
The sunrise at Angkor Wat is arguably one of the most famous photographic locations on earth, and is THE picture many of our guests strive to bring back home when travelling to Cambodia. But what about the sunset? People often ask us where they should go to photograph the sunset in Angkor as the tall trees and rapidly changing light conditions can make this time of day so difficult. The key is being reactive and adapting to the opportunities presented to you as Régis did here. We love the silhouette of the lion before the setting sun. Photo taken during our Hidden Angkor tour.
“The Light is on Fire” – March
By March we hadn’t had a single drop of rain for months, and Cambodia was starting to feel very arid. But by virtue of the fine dust that lingers in the air this month, the light softens. How better to illustrate that quality of light than to photograph the soft beams that creep into buildings toward the end of the day, like this shot of a young monk preparing dinner at a remote monastery as light cuts through the smoke and dust in the room. We love to shoot against the light like this because the results can be so striking. Photo taken during our Beyond Angkor tour.
“Coq Fighting” – April
Photography is often about luck and making the most of interesting opportunities; while we always strive to show you interesting local scenes as part of our photography tours, sometimes you just strike it lucky with something out of the ordinary, like this rare cock-fighting scene we stumbled into in the Cambodian countryside. We spent a while photographing here which meant a snap decision to change the schedule for the morning, but this was a chance not to be missed. We love the uncertainty in photography. Photo taken during our Beyond Angkor.
“Visak Bochea” – May
Every year around May, thousands of monks gather inside of Angkor Wat for this special week-long celebration commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. The period presents a wealth of very different opportunities to those that can be found at other times of year, giving you the chance to capture something truly unique here. We love the slow shutter speed that Régis used to illustrate the motion of the monks all strolling in unison. Captured as part of Régis’ personal work.
“Playground” – June
June is one of the quietest periods for photography tours but the photographers at ATP were kept busy with other assignments coming in, like this one from the UN World Food Program who had Régis working on a cookbook project (to be released later in 2017). This image is among a series of photographs taken in public schools throughout Cambodia where WFP supports schools in providing healthy meals to children to combat the high rate of children who drop out before completing their education. We just love the joyous, care-free feel to this one. Captured by Régis while on assignment for WFP.
“The Child and the Beast” – July
The skies are blue on rainy season mornings, and the downpours in the afternoon are often torrential. July is the beginning of the rainy season in Cambodia, and is the favourite season among ATP photographers to photograph the lush countryside. We love the contrast in this image between the tiny master and colossal beast. Photo taken during a Custom tour focusing on countryside and village life.
“Tibetan Monk” – August
While Cambodia serves as “home” to all of the ATP photographers, and is quite clearly our specialty, we occasionally run photo tours abroad, like this one led by Alessandro in northern India. We’re used to the orange-clad monks of Cambodia, but this red-robed monk in Ladakh made for a welcome change. The use of light in Buddhist tradition serves to heal our mental afflictions and ignorance. The light in turn can be seen as the light of wisdom, which Buddha has spread through his teachings. We loved that this shows glimpses of the familiar and the unknown in equal measure. Photo taken during a photo tour in India lead by Alessandro.
“Sleeping Buddha” – September
Like June, September is another quiet month, and one where we take the opportunity to discover other hidden gems in the temples that are completely or partially covered by the lush vegetation of the rainy season. We love the verdant green in this image; sometimes we can’t get over just how fluorescent it can feel when glowing from a dark corner of the forest. The rainy season really is amazing! Photo taken during our Full Angkor Experience tour.
“Water blessing” – October
Water blessings are a traditional Cambodian practice that date back to the height of the Khmer empire. The ritual is said to bring peace and happiness and is believed to cleanse away any bad luck; it’s a popular thing for locals to do around religious holidays, of which there are plenty in October. We love the unique perspective in this shot and how close it brings us to this unique aspect of the culture. Picture taken during our Hidden Angkor tour.
“Same Same but Different” – November
Benin, a small country in West Africa, is possibly the most unusual location to which an ATP photographer Was assigned this year, and yet there were some striking similarities to Cambodia. Régis had the opportunity to work there for Handicap International but felt at home for many reasons. This village near Cotonou is so similar to Kampong Phluk during the rainy season where we run our Beyond Angkor photography tours. We love to photograph things that make a place feel different, but similarities can be just as striking. Captured by Régis while on assignment for Handicap International.
“The Leper King” – December
There’s more to Angkor than simply Angkor Wat, incredible though it may be. There are many hidden corners that are a feast for the eyes and nothing short of a dream for a passionate photographer. We love the iconic feel to this little visited corner of Angkor Thom. Photo taken during our Full Angkor Experience tour.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of photos from 2016. We’d love for you to let us know which is your favourite. And we of course wish you all a happy and healthy year in 2017, one full of inspiration and beautiful images!