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2nd story this week

CAMBODIA. Phnom Penh. 29/08/2007: Demonstrators resisting eviction of Dey Krohom carrying posters of Hun Sen, Prime Minister, and his wife Bun Rany to the nearby National Assembly.


This is my second upload of a new story on my website (http://www.johnvink.com) this week. I hope I am not abusing…

The story is called ‘Cambodia Quest for Land5’ and fits into the big story on land issues I have been working on over the last six years.


John Vink

by [a former member] at 2007-08-31 23:28:18 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Phnom Penh, centre of the Univ , Cambodia | Bookmark | | Report spam→

God, no abuse. Just a kick in the pants to work as much as you!

Why did they cover the boy with a duck? Very interesting.

BTW, there is a misplaced modifier (in a pond at the pediatric hospital) in your descriptor. Sounds as if the pond is at the pediatric hospital. My sincere apologies if you find this an overly anal analysis, but I thought you might want to switch it to ..boy at the pediatric hosp. who was saved from drowning in a pond or something like that.


by [former member] | 31 Aug 2007 23:08 (ed. Aug 31 2007) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Right. Sorry for my english.

I don’t know why they covered the kid x a duck (In the ‘Cambodia Unicef Activities2’ story). No one at the hospital had ever heard of that kind of belief. I guess there is a relation between the drowning and the fact that a duck can swim. Or is it just that the heat of the carcass of a fresly killed duck keeps the thorax of the child warm? It was weird anyhow.

by [former member] | 01 Sep 2007 00:09 | Phnom Penh, centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→
Mr. Vink…At your current rate of production you’re going to seriously jeopardize the health of Mr. Black…HA! Just waiting to hear Bob’s response. Super pics as usual.

by Gregory Sharko | 01 Sep 2007 00:09 | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
Erica: corrected….

by [former member] | 01 Sep 2007 11:09 | Phnom Penh, centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→
John, that UNICEF story is a cracker. So many great pictures. That’s a pretty good week’s work! PHC.

by Paul Hardy Carter | 01 Sep 2007 11:09 | Monte Pego, Spain | | Report spam→
john; it is always a pleasure to know when you are done with new work. but each time i think about you, sitting out there in cambodia producing these rather classical stories about the disposssed, the marginal, the forgotten the powerless i ask myself these questions: where are these stories going? who are they meant for? is there a wider idea about cambodia behind them that will eventually manifest itself in a book about cambodia’s transition to ….er….what? …. modernity/consumerism?

i am just impressed, that is all, and want to know more.

i mean, cambodia is right up there on the list of countries that many editors, when presented a story about, roll their eyes and say ‘who cares about them’! other countries include bolivia, guatemala, laos, east timor and even tibet. that is at least a partial of the list of places that have been included in some of my story pitches!

i want to know more because i am amazed and impressed that you are there, repeatedly putting this work out, relentless in your quest, all the while on this very forum of LS we keep hearing about the death of classical photojournalism the celebritization of news blah blah blah. and there is john vink again…… :)

pray tell and enlighten us younger folks you only wish to be…..well, real concerned, passionate, documentary photographers :)



by [former member] | 01 Sep 2007 12:09 (ed. Sep 1 2007) | stockholm, Sweden | | Report spam→
Or is it that life is cheaper in Cambodia and emigrating to a developing country is the only way a photojournalist can 1) live correctly these days and 2) actually still photograph people without negotiating with them to sign releases beforehand?

Like Asim, I am curious too…


by DPC | 01 Sep 2007 12:09 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Paul: the UNICEF work lasted three weeks (including a lot of meetings, sitting in a car, and filling in forms). The eviction story was a fast two days. It is ongoing actually. I am dropping by each day (300 meters from where I live), and most likely there will be an update soon.

Asim: you always come up with the good questions. I honestly haven’t got a clue as to where exactly these stories are going. I am afraid not very far… I just do them and I send them out. To Magnum. To a mailing list of some 400 people (picture editors, some people I know, the ‘fanclub’). To you guys’n gals here on LS. And I don’t know, except for a few occasions like here and a few (welcome) replies to my emails, what people think of it or what their reaction is. My montly statements from Magnum are fairly short, and I never get to see the tearsheets… In fact LS is the place I get the most feedback from. Otherwise it all seems to disappear in a big void. Feels like a big all engulfing and smothering Black Hole… And honestly, except for a few occasional ego surges I never really bothered trying to find out what happens next. What I mean is: I try to accompany the pictures and the stories as far as possible to maintain their integrity. But at one point they don’t belong to me anymore. If I’m lucky they belong to the people’s minds.

I think targeting the audience is more and more what it’s about.

And also: the Water in Sahel story I did was published once. Ten years after it was completed… You don’t know what’s going to happen next do you?

So I keep producing them (they happen right there so why not?). Because very simply I think it is better if they exist than if they wouldn’t. I know for sure the people whose life I photograph agree on that at least. Maybe that should be motivating enough. You know: keep the record updated…

Was it Kertesz who said that a photograph cannot change the world but the world would be different without photographs?

There is (are) target(s) of course. And yes it is a book, or two books (maybe three). One should be on the land issues. But guess what: it’s not going to be an easy one to sell… The second will be my 20 years of relationship/ commitment/ involvement with Cambodia. If I’m ‘celebritized’ at one point, that one might work out.

Having trouble with your story pitches? There is only one country which will arouse interest with editors: their street.

David: yes your 1) and your 2) are correct. But in two years time it’ll change: I’ll leave Cambodia and go back to Belgium, to work on… Belgium. And only on Belgium. Going from a developing country to a country which dissolves itself. Might be interesting. To me. Don’t know if it’ll be of interest to anyone else. Well… That’s the plan. I don’t know what’s going to happen next either…

by [former member] | 01 Sep 2007 14:09 | Phnom Penh, centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→
That’s a very illuminating answer, thanks John – and Asim for asking a question I didn’t know I wanted the answer to.

It sounds like producing work that disappears into a black hole is not just what happens to us nobody-you’ve-ever-heard-of photographers. I guess it’s easy to think that once one reaches the sunlit pastures of Magnum membership, somehow there is a constant demand for what one produces. Like a pipe into which the photographer feeds his work and out of which eager editors take all they can get. PHC.

by Paul Hardy Carter | 01 Sep 2007 14:09 | Monte Pego, Spain | | Report spam→
John, thank you very much for such a frank answer. One of my preoccupations is how, materially and logistically, work gets produced.

by DPC | 01 Sep 2007 15:09 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
John :))))))))))))….

It appears that THIS TIME, i dont have to write anything ;)))))))) (and yes, it will save me a shot of health too, as Greg pointed out, )….

but what would a Vink story be if i didnt chime in with something, right? ;)))))))) (wait until we’re together on the Mekong ;)) )

Asim et all: I will tell you one think about the “audience” for John’s essays. I am personally working behind the scenes to get his project Quest for Land seen, wide, here in TO. When I showed it 3 weeks ago at the projection project, the audience was stunned and overcome (no I am not exaggerating). The extraordinary power of the images and the commitment of the project and, as pointed out above, the “outofnowhere” quality it seemed to possessed (who remembers Cambodia??)….Next week, I’ll screen for the 2nd time his project Quest for Land, and in the audience will be some PE’s (Bree, are you reading this? :)) )…for i am trying to lasso some PE’;s (and I hope by extension a national magazine) interested in the work…although many PE, photographers are jaded and cynical and bored by their own work and nomenclature, THERE ARE people who believe in this and want to disseminate it, for their own personal good (work, magazine, job, etc) and the hope that the story shall enrich the lives of others…Johns absolutely do……and my real pursuit is that it will be screened at next year’s CONTACT festival as part of the “film” program…an even bigger audience…

As I’ve written john privately many times and publicly here at LS, John’s Cambodian work and the commitment toward that work and the people, even if that commitment seems Sisyphusian, is the act that matters. The truth is that one cannot (at least to me) separate their life’s character from their work and the committed act of that. The world is most likely not interested in Cambodia and in john’s story because in truth most people are only interested in themselves, the things which they identify as their own or their need and the squandering of that. John’s work has always been, to me, eternal, the Cambodian work more than ever because he has balanced film and digital, the deep digging with the universal story telling. In the end, as mentioned, the world is bereft because it seldom listens to its stories, though like electric snakes of sound and wire, they are everywhere. They, largely, go ignored, but (at least for me) there are still listeners, still people (few or rare as they may be) WHO care deeply in the lived lives of others, the sharing the speaking the swallowing the listening.

I once told John that I fell in love with his work even before I knew he was a Magnum dude (john, are you sure you’re still a magnum member ;))))) )…because 2 1/2 years ago when i joined LS, i saw the work (i almost never read someone’s bio, ‘cause it’s usually the last thing i want to know), i thought:

that guy is making extraordinary work and it’s so wildly different from what most of the world continues to you (jump from story to story to story charging for accolades) that I have to write him….only after 6 months of looking at his stories (the postings here at LS) did i finally take the time and look at his older work and bio and read that he was a magnum dude…. ;))))….that was a shock, again, too :)))))))….

let me add this final, short anecdote.

as john knows, my son dima (13) looks at the stories with me when i get john’s email……(and no, marina and i are not those types of parents who foist on their kids what they should and shouldnt see)…and after those stories about border crossings (Cambodia IOM activities and Cambodia Beggar Villages), my son said:

“wow. i wish i could talk to these kids too…..” (his words)…

his insight (dima’s) is more cogent than anything i can write about the importance of john’s work…..

thanks jv …


by [former member] | 01 Sep 2007 16:09 (ed. Sep 1 2007) | Toronto (for now), Canada | | Report spam→
I hate to intrude in the wonderful discussion this august group is having. However, I have a dull and pedestrian question for JV (always makes me think of Jacques Villeneuve). Anyway, John, has the M8 helped in production of your stories? Or are you still shooting film on major projects and scanning with your Imacon? Again, apologies for a nuts and bolts question.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 01 Sep 2007 18:09 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
Well, the Imacon will be only used for the negatives in the archive. All my colour work since 4 years is digital. And now, since I have the M8, the B&W is digital as well. There is NO WAY I could have produced what I’ve done over the last four years with film. Too expensive (I would have spent more on film and processing than on the 1DS and the M8 combined), too slow, no B&W chemicals here (I was processing myself), no good colour lab here, no TriX here. The only trouble I have right now is adjusting to the parallax with the M8 again. That’s for the nuts and bolts…

Bob: Knowing you would be busy with your projection night, I posted this on purpose on friday night, hoping I would give you a rest with your relentless support ;o) Don’t forget to tell how that projection was…

by [former member] | 01 Sep 2007 23:09 | Phnom Penh, centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→
John…Thank you for that clarification about the logistics of your work flow there in Cambodia. I was always curious but was afraid to ask. Maybe your comment will clear the air a bit over the insistent bantering between film and digi people. For me personally, the last few years with a digi camera have been a God send. Cheers.

by Gregory Sharko | 01 Sep 2007 23:09 | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
dear John

First of all Im proud that there is here a great Belgian Magnum photographer sharing his experience and stories.

Im also from Belgium and Im very much interested in Photojournalism.

Maybe we kan work together when you start your story about belgium! :) Im from the Flanders!

Keep updating your wonderfull picture stories and I hope we can meet some day :)

kindly regards
merci beaucoup


by Tom Palmaers | 06 Sep 2007 08:09 (ed. Sep 6 2007) | Limburg, Belgium | | Report spam→
Graag gedaan.

Lightstalkers: waar Vlamingen thuis zijn? ;o))

by [former member] | 06 Sep 2007 11:09 | Phnom Penh, centre of the Univ, Cambodia | | Report spam→

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Gregory Sharko, photographer Gregory Sharko
Brooklyn, New York , United States ( JFK )
Paul Hardy Carter, Photographer Paul Hardy Carter
(meet Triumph and Disaster...)
London , United Kingdom ( LHR )
DPC, Photographer DPC
Paris , France
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Indianapolis, In , United States
Tom Palmaers, freelance photojournalist Tom Palmaers
freelance photojournalist
West Bank , Israel


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