Life has been incredibly hectic lately, so when my friend Amir randomly asked if I was down for a short holiday to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I immediately jumped at it. It was not planned as a photography trip and we were there simply to catch up with old friends and drink as much cheap beer as we could. However, it’s inevitable that I squeeze time for shutter therapy, especially in a city I haven’t been to before.
Initially, I wanted to use my usual street photography setup: OM-D camera with compact prime lenses (Olympus 12mm F2, 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8), but I decided to simplify further by using just one lens, the Olympus 12-100mm F4. After all, the Olympus 12-100mm is designed to be an all rounder, so I thought using a versatile zoom lens will help me pack less and travel easier. The 12mm end covered all my wide angle needs, and I can still render shallow depth of field if I wanted to when I zoom all the way to the longer end of the lens. There were very rare moments where I wished I had slightly wider coverage, or a wider aperture (usually in dim lighting situations), but for the most part, the Olympus 12-100mm F4 lens was more than sufficient for my time in Phnom Penh.
I was particularly drawn to the slow, laid-back pace of Phnom Penh. In stark contrast to the developing city with busy traffic, you find locals sitting around or taking a nap out on the streets in the middle of the day. People are warm and friendly, perhaps more so than Malaysians and I had no trouble approaching strangers for portraits. It was indeed a refreshing change of scenery, to explore a foreign land. I particularly love how the tradition and culture still prevails in the people of Phnom Penh – something I’ve tried to translate into images.
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