photo.circle's 50th presentation
|Text by : Wallace Woon
Photograph by : Kishor K Sharma
Despite having photographed all over Asia for the past 23 years, one particular story continues to haunt conflict photographer Philip Blenkinsop even nearly a decade after.
Viciously pursued by the Laotian army because of their allegiance with the Americans during the Vietnam War, the Hmong people have had to endure a near hopeless existence, feeding on a diet of tree bark and constantly on the run.
As Mr Blenkinsop entered their forest camp, he was greeted by “a symphony of crying”, as they fell to their knees believing that the Americans have come to save them after nearly 30 years.
Speaking at the Summit Hotel after the screening of “My Asian Heart” a biographical documentary about Philip and his work, he said that the most difficult part about the experience was when he had to leave them with only the promise of telling their story to the world.
The screening was organised by local photographic community Photo.Circle and featured the work of 14 students currently undertaking an International Reporting Workshop conducted by Mr. Blenkinsop in Nepal and is in collaboration with the Oslo University College in Norway and the Pathshala South Asian Media Academy in Bangladesh.
In his student’s photographs, Mr Blenkinsop said he did not want to see any “postcard material”, instead hoping that his students would strive to capture the energy of the city of Kathmandu.
His work has brought him to China, Thailand, Borneo and here in Nepal, when he photographed the 2006 anti-monarchy protests.
Although he is based in Thailand, his admiration of the strength of the Nepali people has brought him back to the country time and again. He states that it is the “people who inspire him” to keep doing what he does in the face of danger and criticism.
His next destination is East Timor where he hopes to cover the upcoming elections.
Venue: The Summit Hotel, Date: 11 February 2012, 4.30