Culture Magazine

Purt the Great of Angkor

By Flemmingbo

One of our two monk friends and models, Purt, was an inspiring, intelligent man with a great smile and quick wit. He learned English from working as a seller of all things to tourists at Angkor as a child. He was therefore also very street smart and cheeky, not letting on he knew English until he had sized me and my guide Nathan Horton up for a while. We drove around the massive city of Angkor in a tuk-tuk and I dearly wish someone had a snapshot of me, Nathan and two monks sitting in a tuk-tuk.

Purt was a great model, and I captured him from many angles. This is captured in natural light at sunset on top of a temple:


I find that the sky itself can work great when you are looking for a clean background. Simply lower the camera and use the sky as your backdrop. In this image it also lends Purt a majestic sculptured look and the soft sunset light filtered through thin clouds is the perfect illuminator. It is a very posed image but I like both candid and posed portraits. Both styles can work. I have subtly added a little contrast to this, enhanced structure and edges and created the desaturated muddy look but the image was quite satisfying already as captured so it needed little work.

Purt of Angkor. I shall end an undeveloped snapshot of mine, Purt as I remember him, always smiling and joking in between takes:

cambodia-purt-grin copy



PS. I am surely spelling his name “wrong” as in there really is no translation from the khmer language to English so it is basically spell it however you like!

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