Harrison Forman: Wat Phnom, 1953

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Harrison Forman (1904-1978) is one of those people who make me think I ‘ve lived my life all wrong.

Brief bio at what seems be a University of Oregon site:

Harrison Forman (1904-1978) was an American explorer, aviator, photographer, journalist and author. …  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1929 after majoring in Oriental Languages. During the early 1930’s he went to China where he sold American aircraft and trained pilots.

It was in China that he heard of a mysterious mountain in Tibet supposedly taller than Mt. Everest, officially the highest mountain in the world. Forman went to Tibet and although he never found the mountain he sought he did earn the distinction of being one of the first western visitors to visit Tibet. As a result of his experience in Tibet, Forman in 1937 was the technical director for Lost Horizon, an Academy Award-winning film.

During the late thirties Forman covered the Sino-Japanese conflict as a cameraman for the “March of Time” newsreel service and also reported for the New York Times on Japanese forces across Asia. Forman became best known during this time for his coverage of the Sino-Japanese conflict, the Chinese government under Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese bombardment of Shanghai in 1937, and the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. It was also during World War II in 1944 that Forman interviewed Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, and other communist leaders.

… He wrote books on China, Africa, photography and later ran a travel agency. Among the many newspapers and magazines he worked for were the London Times, New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s, Life, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic.

And he visited Cambodia. I haven’t been able to find any Cambodia photos apart from this one, but they must exist. How charming was Wat Phnom in 1953. He left a diary of the visit, supposedly downloadable, but it won’t download for me.

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