I HAVE NO CLAIM, personal or professional, to Cambodian history, politics or culture. I’d been in the country for fewer than 24 hours when we visited the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Prison Museum; the extent of my knowledge re: Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot was having watched The Killing Fields in a journalism class a few years back. That may render this photo essay superficial in the eyes of some, especially since it marks my first foray into digital black and white, which is kind of, I admit, pretentious, except that it just sort of feels better for some of these shots.
I tried to convey the experience of getting a heavy, visceral, three-hour-long crash course in the genocide to which I and many others know only vaguely, if at all. It’s fucking depressing. The shots of the main Killing Field, Choeung-ek, which is a very info- and sign-centric museum, are in colour; the Tuol Sleng shots are black and white, and are meant to be a bit more subjective, since that museum offers very little info and is mostly comprised of artefacts and filthy, empty prison cells meant to make you feel shitty about life.
These images won’t do justice to either one, but if you don’t know much about the Khmer Rouge, and feel like hating humanity just a little bit more, do a little Wikipedia briefing to understand them better.