Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dreamy images of Angkor - John McDermott

Monks at The Bayon (reproduced with kind permission)
Fine Art photographer John McDermott's personal interpretation of Angkor was shaped by seeing Angkor Wat bathed in the eerie surreal light of the eclipse in 1995 and which led him to experiment with new techniques to attempt to capture the spiritual beauty of Angkor. "Standard photography techniques could not convey the dreamy, otherworldly essence of the site so I turned to other alternatives and eventually found that the images resulting from using infrared film rendered the subjects most closely to my personal vision of them," he says of his on-line gallery at www.asiaphotos.net.
McDermott spent four years in the feature film industry in Hollywood as a camera and lighting technician before turning to Asia in the early 1990s. "While living and traveling in Asia as an editorial photographer, I began a series of black and white infrared images of cultural heritage sites. My personal work attempts to capture something of their ancient spirit in a time of rapid growth and transition." He focused first on Angkor and has since expanded to Bagan in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and Azerbaijan. He's also documenting the fragile existence of the hilltribe cultures that exist in the border territories of Southeast Asia, and is building a series on the children of Asia.
However, Cambodia is where he has set up a permanent exhibition of his work at his gallery next to the FCC in Siem Reap and he'll open a second gallery soon in the old market area which will feature other photographer's works. Already widely published, he's looking to produce a book of his own work in the near future too. In addition, McDermott will be supporting the 2nd Angkor Photography festival which kicks off on 25 November for one week. This will include exhibitions from established photographers but will also include opportunities for young Asian photographers. Find out more here.

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