Light over Enchant Angkor
September 28 – December 20, 1997
Over my 17-year enchantment with stone monuments, I have made photographs in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Mexico, Chile (Easter Island), England, Scotland, France, Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia. To capture the spirituality I feel in stone remains and the identity of atmosphere that embraces them, I can think of no other medium than platinum prints made by contact printing with large format negatives.
As I walk among the antiquities with a large, custom made camera strapped on my back, I am on a pilgrimage in search of something that touches my heart. In the course of five photography excursions over the past three years I feel now that there is some spiritual essence that I am meant to learn. Standing in time worn temples, I get a warm, peaceful feeling from seeing the weathered foundation stones blend seamlessly with earth. Still the peacefulness I sense from these ruins puzzles me.
In my travels, I learned that some eight million mines have been buried in Cambodia since 1940, and that over 40 thousand civilians have been killed or injured by them. Even today, on average, those mines claim one new victim everyday, the victims are often children who work and play in the fields.
Thinking that I wanted to somehow express my appreciation for all that the Angkor ruins have taught me, I decided to contribute all the proceeds from my Angkor works for the construction and operation of a children’s clinic. Toward that end, the “Angkor Child Clinic Fund” was created.
In creating this fund, I have had the opportunity to meet a great many gracious people. I have received support and assistance from all quarters, and the “Angkor Child Clinic Fund” has gradually gotten underway. Through this project is modest on a world scale, I hope it will be a step toward peace and friendship among the world’s people.
Since Mr. Eikoh Hosoe was kind enough to view my work in New York some years ago, he has been a source of warm support, and as the director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, he has given his unhesitating endorsement for this project. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for his assistance in making this exhibition possible.
– Kenro Izu, March 1996