Cambodia everyday life: through the eyes of a journeying photographer

Stuart-Watt, Alan Phillip (2015) Cambodia everyday life: through the eyes of a journeying photographer. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

Can journeying in photography be used to record the everyday? Philosopher Walter Benjamin, and Professor Ben Highmore who have written about everyday life consider photography as a medium that has a natural capacity to record the everyday.

The researcher has examined photographic techniques; capture methodologies, and new digital technologies that allow for the recording of the everyday. Journeying photographers in history were studied to understand the camera's capacity to record into this genre. Photographers reviewed include Lewis Hine who has successfully recorded life as a social documentary photographer. Several other contemporary photographers such as Sebastião Salgado were also investigated to establish a context for the researcher's own work.

The researcher chose to carry out fieldwork in Cambodia, as it is a nation going through significant societal change. It is one of the poorest in South East Asia and due to the Pol Pot regime has the largest youth population. A fieldwork journey was undertaken over nine months to enable photographic recording at multiple sites in thirteen provinces. A significant body of photographic documentation has been generated of the everyday lives of contemporary Cambodians, which connects social sciences methodologies to journeying photography.

The fieldwork is complemented by a review of relevant Cambodian history and an examination of the present post conflict society. This informed and validated the reasons for recording the Khmer people, via a naturalistic methodology. In keeping with the contemporary widespread use of book publishing for photo documentary projects, the images taken have been published into a book. This work has evidence of studies into book design and book layout as a part of the creative arts content. The photo book has also been presented at the Maroochydore Public Library with supporting visual materials as an exhibition. The overall body of work offers a contribution to the discourse on the recording of the everyday, as well as an important recording of contemporary Cambodia.

Item ID: 48317
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: Cambodia, Cambodians, everyday life, journeying, Khmer people, photographers, photography, social conditions, society, travel photography
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 03:38
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190503 Lens-based Practice @ 40%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200202 Asian Cultural Studies @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 100%
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