"Cambodian Encounters," 48 black-and-white photographs by Ken Opprann, at the FCC Phnom Penh Jan. 27 to Mar. 5, 2006.
See a six-picture preview of "Cambodian Encounters."
At first glance, the photograph of a young boy airborne and splayed in mid-flight sets the mind whirling with possibilities.
What on earth is that child doing?
It's the high-jump game — played by high jumping a "rope" made from rubber bands. Each turn raises the rope a little higher, until it rises out of the jumper's reach.
Taken on a Phnom Penh street corner in 1994, the photograph serves as an apt introduction to Ken Opprann's "Cambodian Encounters," a collection of 48 black-and-white photos on exhibit at the FCC in Phnom Penh through March 5.
As with most of his work, Opprann focuses on people going about the routine activities of their daily lives, and displays a knack for unique angles and clever compositions. Taken as a whole, the 48 photographs create a revealing mosaic of local life, artfully capturing the subtle traits that define Cambodia's culture.
"I find Cambodia an extremely photogenic country," he says. "The people, culture, religion."
But being photogenic alone does not ensure great photos. It takes hard work and practice and often times a little luck. Most of all, it takes that skill which is nearly impossible to teach — the eye. For without it, even the greatest photographic moments go overlooked.
And it is here, perhaps, that Opprann shines brightest. Using the lesser details of everyday life, Oppran reminds us of the greater truths about the Cambodian condition while making it look as effortless as a schoolboy flying gracefully through the air.
Web site of Ken Opprann: