A woman walks her bike filled with product to sell along the roads in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
While Cambodia is not the cleanest place on earth, many residence take pride in keeping the space outside their house clean.
A small seedling sprouts – taken on the grounds of the Pothi Pruk Pagoda just outside Phnom Penh.
Young Buddhist Monks in Cambodia working on stone pieces to be used in the contruction of a new residence on the Pothi Pruk Pagoda grounds.
Two young Cambodian Buddhist monks work on a new residence inside the Pothi Pruk Pagoda grounds.
A “Naga” carving on the corner of an old building inside the Pothi Pruk Pagoda grounds.
An elderly Cambodian man sits on a bench in the S-21 prison from the Khmer Rougue era. One can only imagine the horrors he faced during that time.
Central Market recently was reinforced and repainted. This shot is an ode the the old ways that are quickly passing away in Cambodia (as the high-rises in the background signify).
Cyclos are a dying form of transportation in Cambodia, though only less than 10 years ago they were one of the main modes of transportation (especially for those loading up goods for the market).
Adds new meaning to the name “Bike Shop” – rather than selling bikes in a shop, this man has his shop on his bike.
Buildings tend to show their years prematurely in Cambodia as a result of the humidity and lower quality paint. This is a shot on the main drag down the city – most buildings have been renovated – but this one, for some reason has not, and is a striking reminder of a past not too long ago, where most buildings in Phnom Penh looked like this.
Two young men trained as generator mechanics, wait for their next job outside the shop where they work in the Central Market Circle, Phnom Penh.
There used to be a whole bunch of these “Cyclos” in Phnom Penh, but with the importing of “Tuk-tuks” the cyclo has become obsolete. But you still see them around town, as they are cheaper than a tuk-tuk, and can hold just about the same amount of stuff.
Coconuts are a common sight on the side of the road here – they are a wonderful drink on a hot day.
A coffin shop in town – not everyone has the money for a nice coffin, especially since most Cambodians are cremated at the Wat (only the ethnic Chinese, and Cambodian Christians bury).
On hot days like this one, it is hard to believe the ice makes it to delivery, but it does!
An artist sitting at his booth talking on his cell phone hoping someone will come along and buy one of his carved images.
Ouk Chatrang is a Cambodian Chess like game. These two men are playing on the grounds of Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh.
Independence Monument stands in Phnom Penh as a reminder of the freedom that Cambodia won from France in 1953.
Snacks are very important to Cambodians as they “Da-aleng” (literally translated “walk play” but it means to go “hang out”) on the river-front at night in Phnom Penh. Fruit is one of the many snacks available. Carts such as these go up and down the street and can be stopped by anyone interested in making a purchase. It is a kind of “fast food”.
One of the many “snacks” for sale on the roadside – corn on the cob. Sparks fly as this seller stokes the fire, getting more corn ready to sell, as a young boy looks on.
Making jewelry with meager equipment takes much skill and a lot of time. In the Russian market, this picture was taken of one of the many goldsmiths, melting down some gold to be made into a necklace.
One of the many stalls in Russian Market that sell various styles of scarfs or “kramas” in Khmer.
The “food court” in Russian Market (Psar Toul Tom Pong) is an experience for sure! Here’s a shot of a noodle stall just before the rush of the lunch crowd.
Ox carts used to be the main way to get things around – now days you see them less and less in the city, but in the province they are still used quite a bit for transport on farms.
It is very common in Cambodia for workers to have off from 12:00PM – 2:00PM so that they can have lunch and rest. Once one has lived here long enough, you begin to realize why. The hottest part of the day is a good time for a break, and a short rest will help you be more productive during the rest of the cooler hours in the day. But for foreigners, a lot of times, we like doing our errands during this “siesta” time because there is less traffic.
Lotus flowers represent purity in Buddhist thought. We have some growing in a small pond (in a clay pot) in our front yard, and it was overcast today so I took a shot of one of the buds (with my wife helping out holding up a black shirt as a backdrop). The flowers don’t last very long once they open, normally about a day or two.
At S-21 prison, over 10,000 people were brutally tortured and killed during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-79). This is one of the torture beds where many laid while their brutal captors interrogated them.
An image of Buddha meditating in the full-lotus posture located in a garden of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Cambodia.
These boys are selling lotus flowers for worshipers to present to different spirits and or gods at Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh Cambodia. The lotus flower has a rich meaning in the Cambodian Buddhist culture. It symbolizes purity of the body, speech, and mind as if one is floating above attachment and desire just as the lotus flower floats above muddy water.
Burning incense is a large part of worship in the Buddhist context of Cambodia. Worshipers light the incense bring it to their head three times and then put the incense in a holder normally filled with sand for whatever spirit or god they worship. This photo was taken of incense outside of Wat Phnom that was used in the worship of a tree spirit.
There are not a large number of wild monkeys in Cambodia anymore, but one of the places where you can still see them in the “wild” is at Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh where this photo was taken.
There are not many birds in the city besides sparrows, but at our new home we’ve been seeing some of these Common Myna birds quite often, so I thought I would take a picture. Myna birds are often kept as pets because they are very skilled at “speaking” – supposedly they are better at it than parrots. You can learn more about this type of Myna here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Myna
In Phnom Penh shops such as this are a common occurrence. A roadside shop, with a few customers shooting the breeze. Most of them are put up in front of the store owner’s house, and the family runs it to make a little extra money.
There is a lot of construction going on in Phnom Penh. This is a shot of some construction workers on the street we are staying at. Most workers get just over a dollar a day.
Life on the streets of Phnom Penh is hard. Living day by day, hour by hour, wondering where your next meal is going to come from. Most of us have never experienced such hardship. Yet many times we turn our eyes away from the reality of lives around us. May Christ grant us compassion and mercy, that more might come to know the true hope that is found in Christ.
How would you like to have the job of repairing power lines in Cambodia? This young boy risks his life everyday so that he can help put food on the table.
I cannot even begin to imagine what life is like for these who work at the Phnom Penh dump. The smell alone is enough to make one flee for their life. Then there are the flies. So many flies that a lot of the pictures I took didn’t turn out because my camera had trouble focusing through the mass of them. Your heart cannot help but feel for these desperate human beings, without food and shelter, and without the Savior. May God give us compassion, and may we be moved to action.
I went out walking behind my house one day and found these boys playing around an abandon section of railroad track. I talked with them for a bit and they asked if I would take their picture. So they struck a pose and I took this shot. The lighting wasn’t ideal for this one so I did some post editing.
This young girl sits and sells used clothes in Central Market. I’m not sure why they call it Central Market in English, a direct translation from what it is called in Khmer is New Market. But it really isn’t all that new anymore. In fact is having to be renovated because the roof was in danger of caving in. But such is life in Cambodia.
The lovely smell of fish almost chokes you the first time you walk through a wet market for the first time. But after a while, the sights and the sounds, and the smells grow a little more normal (or should I say you are more prepared for them and so don’t breath through your nose!). But this is normal for most people around the world, and you couldn’t ask for food that is more fresh! This woman is putting the final touches on some new fish fillet.
In Cambodia there are many, many poor people. And as such, they put their children to work, trying to scrape by a living. Many children work as “hechi” collecting recyclables throughout the city. Most say they go to school, but the sad reality is that they hardly ever make it because of the pressure to make money put on them by their families.
This was taken right as the sun went down – no alteration on this, the sky was quite blue that evening. The Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, was built in 1958 following the country’s independence from France. It has undergone some “beautifying” as of late, with lights and fountains surrounding it. Many Cambodians stop in the cool evenings to “hang-out.” There are smaller copies of this monument in all the major cities of Cambodia.
This is a combination of two photographs I took a few minutes apart from each other. While it is not my preference to combine images, I thought the effect was quite moving, and so I post it here. This man was one of the many watching a football (soccer for Americans) match being played at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh. The stadium was completed in 1964, and was originally built to host the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, but the games were canceled due to political problems in Cambodia. During the regime of the Khmer Rogue, the stadium was used for executions. The stadium was redeveloped, and currently use used by many of those living in Phnom Penh as an exercise center.
A shot of a “drive-in” night market in Phnom Penh, near the Olympic Stadium. The shops line the street, and to buy something you can just pull off, choose, and pay and be on your way.
This shot was taken in Central Market (or New Market if you take a literal translation) in Phnom Penh. Rows and rows of shoes but all smaller than my size. They look good on the outside, but within a few months, most of them peal apart because the glue is not what it should be.
To see a Cambodian actually reading Buddhist scriptures is very, very rare. I saw this man in the back of Wat Phnom reading a book published by the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh and snapped a shot of him. Very few Cambodians actually have read Buddhist scriptures, so most of what they know is based on what they have heard from their parents, grandparents or monks at the Wat. In actuality, their Buddhism is more of a folk Buddhism, in that it is mixed with many different beliefs (Buddha did not believe in spirits or in a god or gods), and really based in fear. It is fear of the spirit’s cursing that drives the Cambodian to the Wat to offer prayers and incense, not love. They are in bondage as a way of life.
Cambodians love to exercise. If you wake up around four or five in the morning and walk the streets, you will be far from alone. People walk, play badminton, do aerobics, play football (soccer), and even practice martial arts. I took this picture in the early morning at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in the summer of ’06.
On this very bed, hundreds, if not thousands of Cambodians were tortured and killed. This bed is now part of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh Cambodia, a converted high school turned prison for the “bad blood” during the Khmer Rouge Regime of the 1970’s. Of the over 17,000 people known to have been imprisoned here, only twelve survived, and of those twelve only four are currently known to be alive.
I took this out my apartment window in Cambodia in 2004. Every so often I would see this effect could in the sunset – a sort of “rainbow” known as a circumhorizontal arc This is the best one I ever captured. The effect supposedly occurs when light passes through high-altitude cirrus clouds containing plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals facing parallel to the earth’s surface.
This picture was taken at Tuol Sleng, the infamous site of Security Prison 21 (S-21) during the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s. The site was previously a high school, but then converted into a prison, where over 10,000 people were torchered, and then lead off to the killing fields to be exterminated. The name Toul Sleng literally means “poisonous hill,” a name given to the site by the Khmer Rouge because it was the site where those who were “poisoning” the new regime were held.
I have visited the site, now a genocide museum, many times, and on this occasion, saw a Cambodian woman gazing at some of the many pictures the Khmer Rouge took and so I snapped off a shot. It is very unusual to see Cambodians in the museum, for most would rather forget the past, and live in the present.
Flies, millions upon millions of flies. So many I had trouble getting even one clear shot. The smell overcomes you, forcing you to breath through your mouth, and then you see them. Hundreds of human beings scurrying on the mounds of decomposing waste. Many portions are aflame, sending pitch black smoke into the air. The Phnom Penh dump is not pretty, but it is reality.
I took this walking around the Olympic stadium in Phnom Penh (the same evening as all the others at the Olympic Stadium). I saw two monks walking my way and lined it up for a shot and here it is. Many monks are only monks for a short period of time trying to gain karma for their families, and then returning to their normal life. Monks go around their community collecting gifts of food and or money, and then give a “blessing” in a form of a chant in return. But most monks (let alone the recipients) do not understand the content of their many chants, but rather memorize them by rote.
In the background is a “Wat,” the Cambodian word for their Buddhist temple, the place of worship.
This was taken one evening in 2004 at the Phnom Penh National Olympic Stadium. The stadium was completed in 1964, and was originally built to host the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, but the games were canceled due to political problems in Cambodia. During the regime of the Khmer Rogue, the stadium was used for executions. The stadium was redeveloped, and currently use used by many of those living in Phnom Penh as an exercise center. Every morning and evening you can always find people walking, running, playing football (soccer for us Americans) and even basketball.