Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Barang

A newcomer to the Cambodia bookshelves is Anthony Maturin's Two Barang to Cambodia, published by Spider Press in the last month or so, 240 pages telling the story of his two years in the country. Maturin and his wife Sandra Jones spent a couple of years in Cambodia with Volunteer Service Abroad New Zealand, she as a research advisor to the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, and he producing his photographic work, A Certain Grace, in which he set out to portray the dignity and essential human spirit found in the midst of poverty. The couple travelled widely around Cambodia with the members of small Cambodian NGOs who work with street children and drug addicts, give AIDS education on the streets, support people living with HIV, the blind and mine amputees, remove land mines, try to avert land grabbing by the rich and powerful, and just plain alleviate some of the direst poverty. This is the story of those travels. The author also provides his own line drawings in the book. Anthony Maturin began his working life at age eighteen when he worked as a shepherd on Erewhon Station in the high-country of New Zealand's South Island. His varied working life included occupations such as farming, building, writing and documentary making about human rights issues. Photography became a passion of Anthony's when his mother gave him a Woolworths' camera at the age of seven. A Certain Grace, published in 2006, is a coffee table book of sepia pictures and notes by Maturin that is available from Monument Books in Phnom Penh. The diverse photographs are arranged according to five themes: hands; machines; death; daily life; and generations.

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