In the City by Night
Photographs by Sovan Philong
Exhibition opening 6:30pm Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Java Café Independence Monument
Java presents the work of Sovan Philong in a solo show of his on-going series In the City by Night. The work quite literally illuminates the dark corners and the unseen of Phnom Penh. The carefully composed images and the artificial light seem almost theatrical. But when asked about this, Philong responded that he never posed his subjects. He merely unveiled their natural drama.
Christian Caujolle, a well-respected expert and curator in the field of photography, introduced the series in a recent publication:
“When Philong Sovan, after his experience as staff photographer at The Phnom Penh Post, decided to concentrate on his personal projects, he perfectly knew the limitations of photojournalism. But he wanted to continue to explore and document the world where he was living. The main question was for him: for what purpose and with what tools? To approach the City by Night, a series he is still working on, he invented a clever device, at the same time simple, surprising and efficient. Using the head light of his motobike, he reveals what we don’t see and concentrates on the people which become representatives of the different aspects of the city. With his delicate and strong feeling of color, between portraiture and focus on situations, he invents a new status of documentary. He is not only describing, he asks questions because we recognize what we see but we never see it as he shows it. The light he adds permits a feeling of ‘realistic fiction,’ close to a cinematographic tradition.”
The exhibition will be showing until October 11, 2015.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born 1986, Philong SOVAN is an independent professional photographer working and living in Phnom Penh. He began, in 2009, as a press photographer and soon joined the staff of The Phnom Penh Post and then worked for some months with the Xinhua News Agency in 2011-2012.
Besides covering the news, Philong has developed several personal projects, especially those he developed with “Studio Images” of the French Cultural Center that were exhibited during Photo Phnom Penh. He studied for one year in France with the support of a grant provided by the French government at Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumiere. There he discovered analog photography and trained specifically in printing techniques. He went back to Cambodia in 2013 where he currently teaches, works on assignments and develops new photographic projects.
Recently, his work was published in The Guardian, Le Monde Magazine, L’EXPRESS style, Internazionale Italy Magazine, Globe Magazine, L’OEIL Portfolio, De L’air, IMAGES and The Phnom Penh Post. Philong SOVAN has been a member of Asia Motion since 2011.