A fleeting moment is all it takes. One minute a photo doesn’t exist, the next second, something has been born that you never, ever expected.
I guess that’s what I love about Photography. The surprise, not knowing what is around the corner.
I shot this scene in Cambodia in 2006. It was the rainy season – October to be exact. I’d specifically gone at this time because I knew the sky would be thunderous and dark in the afternoons. As a result of this, the light would often be overcast and soft. Ideal for shooting in the middle of the day.
I find it interesting when people take their camera out on a sunny day because they think the light is great – it’s possibly the worst time ever to shoot. When it’s sunny, the shadows are deep and hold no detail, and the colour is washed out. Film, or a digital sensor cannot cope with this harshness.
The light during my visit was often overcast and soft. Ideal for shooting in. Yes, the camera sees differently from how you and I see.
I’d made friends with a local driver at the hotel I was staying at. I’d been in Siem Reap for a few days when I asked Deap where he lived. He told me he lived in a little village outside of the city. ‘Do any tourists go there?’ I asked to which he said that no one went. So I promptly asked him if he could take me there each day after the monsoon had ended.
So this photo was made on the way to Deap’s village. Out in the rice fields people were working, and as we tried to drive through the mud slurry on the road I spotted this woman and her child. They were walking on the roadside and just as we passed, they stepped off the edge of the road into a waterway in the fields.
I could already ‘visualise’ the scene coming together in my mind. I remember tapping Deap on the shoulder and asking him to stop. I ran back to the scene and was lucky that I had the right lens on the camera. One quick click, and I raced back to Deap and his motto and we were off again.
When I got home, my mind was full of memories from the trip, but I have to say, this was one of them that had stood out and I wondered what the film would show. It was a great pleasure to see this shot when the film returned from the lab.
On a technical note, I shot it on a Mamiya 7II with a 150 lens and Kodak Portra 160NC with a Lee 3 stop hard grad.