SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Found Cambodia: Photography and Social Memory after 1979

Charels Fox
Charles Fox, Joanna Wolfarth and Haidy Geismar

Date: 15 November 2017Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 15 November 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: L67

Type of Event: Seminar


Organised jointly by SEA Currents 2017, Department of Anthropology (SOAS) and the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (SOAS)

‘FOUND Cambodia’ is a project that traces changes Cambodia has witnessed since 1979 through a constantly growing archive of everyday Cambodian photography, brought to light from individuals’ and families’ drawers, albums, and closets. The images provide a vernacular lens to how individuals in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia have experienced the social and cultural revival following the regime’s fall. Further, the project also includes photographs taken before the Khmer Rouge came into power. These images serve as poignant testimonies of the effects that macroscopic socio-political changes bear on the individual. A unique glimpse into Cambodians’ day-to-day lives over the past four decades, ‘FOUND Cambodia’ serves as a visual archive for anyone interested in understanding societal changes through the eyes of an individual.

Speaker Biographies

Charles Fox has been working in Asia regularly for the last 13 years, based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Charles worked for a range of both commercial and editorial clients, with his work being published by The Sunday Times Magazine, Washington Post, National Geographic, WIRED, TIME Lightbox, Geo (Germany) to name a few. Charles has worked extensively for the NGO sector in Cambodia and has been part of a long term contract with UNICEF Cambodia. Charles long term photography projects are interested in the legacy of conflict and colonialism, looking at different aspects of legacy and how the current day is affected by the rulings and actions of the past.

Dr Haidy Geismar is a Reader in Anthropology at UCL. She has a PhD in Anthropology and Material Culture from UCL (2003). She has long term fieldwork experience in both the South Pacific and within museums, in the Pacific, North America and Europe where she has worked both with South Pacific and with photography collections. She is particularly interested in issues of intellectual and cultural property and how digital technologies are reorganizing knowledge systems within museums. Recently she has been researching the digitization of cultural collections, the incorporation of indigenous protocols into museum databases and she is in the early stages of a book looking at new practices and forms of digital photography. Dr. Geismar is also founder and chief editor of the Material World blog and has worked extensively with digital tools to enhance teaching and research practices.

Dr Joanna Wolfarth is a specialist in Buddhist art and the cultural history of Cambodia. She received her PhD in Art History from the University of Leeds in 2015. She is currently a Research Associate at the Centre of South East Asian Studies at SOAS University of London, where she is also a Teaching Fellow in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology. She also teaches on the Modern and Contemporary Asian Art MA at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She has published in Udaya Journal of Khmer Studies, Southeast of Now and the Trans Asia Photography Review. She also contributed a chapter to the Handbook on Contemporary Cambodia (Routledge, 2016). She has worked on several cultural projects in Cambodia since 2010.

Organiser: Professor Paul Basu