John Vink Tumbles

Migrants Exodus

Khmer returnee from Thailand at Poipet border post

John Vink is the only (so far as I know) Magnum photographer based in Cambodia. Naturally his photos are very, very good. The link is to his Tumblr account, which is constantly updated.

The illustration above is from a photo-essay about the 200,000 of so Cambodians who have recently returned from Thailand in response to rumours that they were about to be expelled. They face unemployment and starvation, and there’s fear of a rise in theft and general petty crime. Not only the returnees are affected of course, but also all those who depended on their remittances.

On the Thail side, there are signs of a growing realisation that the Cambodians and Burmese workers were actually doing something – Thailand needs them. So possibly they’ll be invited back soon. One hopes.

Jonathan Van Smit

Yama-3-660x439Jonathan Van Smit is a Hong Kong-based street photographer. He’s done (or is doing) a project in Phnom Penh, called Heart of Darkness. It’s about the people of the slums behind street 51, around the Golden Sorya Mall area.

glue-sniffing-kid-Street-51-slums-660x440He talks a little about the project in this interview – the thing that interests me most is his questioning of the project’s justification – these are hard-hitting images, difficult to look at, (very noir), but how can they be justified? There’s no easy answer to that I guess, but for me, they’re an education about an aspect of Phnom Penh life that’s normally closed off.

Phouk-Navy-660x439More about Jonathan and his photography here. “Basically I just walk around for hours, sometimes all day, taking photos of anything that looks interesting to me or fits into one of my themes. I’m particularly interested in cities, how they change, the lives of people who have become marginalized by economic change, and in how they deal with adversity.”