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The Last Ruins of Cambodia

Beyond Cambodia’s largest historical treasure Angor Wat, stand the ruins of Kep from a less known time in history: the ‘Golden Age’ of Cambodia. 

This article was also published on the official Leica Camera Blog

Moving through the town of Kep, the memories of another era emerge through the ruins of luxuries villas built throughout the coast line known in the 60s as the'Cambodian Riviera’.
The presence of these skeletons is not the result of the Khmer Rouge’ social attack, but the desperate attempt of the locals to escape famine by stripping and selling walls, doors and tiles in exchange for rice. 

The interest in this subject came while walking inside one of these buildings and discovering a window facing the Gulf of Thailand and suddenly loosing that sense of separation to the past which we are so well acquainted with.

The old still echoes in these spaces, bouncing and entrapped between its walls. Inside this decadent pictures we feel immediately connected with this particular time in history. Not even nature, with its inexorable attempt at taking over these structures is able to age them enough.

Like a tactile experience these ruins mysteriously provide us with all the sensorial needs to be part of this perennially present moment.

Every building carries its own signature, representing a defined way in the living of its owner. Something intimate connects us with it: each room you allow yourself into is a new existential expression on its own.

While looking at these walls, marks, settings, we feel inevitably forced to question our own definition of time, the way we juxtapose what is not anymore against what still is.

For the first time, through the act of photographing empty, unmovable objects, I was able to see life behind them. In the ‘last ruins’ of Cambodia stands yet another fundamental connection with the drama of mankind, of which we clearly are not mere spectators. 

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