Selected venues for the PhotoPhnomPenh festival will double as classrooms this week for 450 students, said Magali Poivert, a staff member of the culture division at the French Cultural Center. Since Monday, two groups of 45 students from high schools and universities in the city have been treated to three tours of photo exhibits every day at venues such as Xem Gallery and the Bodega.
“There has been a lot of enthusiasm, and the students are very engaged,” Ms Poivert said, adding that depending on the combination of venues, the students can see up to five photo exhibits.
Ms Poivert said some students are even taking photos of themselves in front of exhibited photos.
“It is like they are on holiday as well,” she added.
Ms Poivert said the tours are a new element to the festival, which is in its second year. This year, the organizers were more familiar with the festival operations and could introduce more elements to expose it to more people, she added.
Ms Poivert said some exhibits, such as Sean Lee’s series on a transsexual woman, have been very eye-opening for the students. Some exhibits have interactive activities to teach the students about art and photography, she said.
Royal University of Fine Arts students gathered yesterday afternoon at the cultural center’s gallery to start their tour with a viewing of Jean-Robert Dantou’s collection of photos of political gatherings.
Archaeology student Keo Diamant, 20, said this was his first visit to the exhibit and that he and his fellow students had come wanting to see photographs of another country and to learn what makes a good picture.
Interior design student Pai Tola, 24, said the photos reminded the students that they can either follow someone else’s lead or create something new to reach the public.
She compared photo technique to choosing decorations for a room.
“We are thinking about the meaning of the pictures and how they can appeal to the visitors and convey their meaning,” she said.