Dominic Stafford Photography

Category: Photo Essay

on to the dry.

The storms were on their way out. The air was clear. The fields vibrant. East of town we said farewell to this year’s wet season.
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Waiting.

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Fishing from the City of Stilts.

in Cambodia, the water level of the Tonle Sap is at its lowest in living history this year. The town of Kompong Khleang still brings home a lot of fish daily, however word about town is that the stocks seem very low. Each visit, the landing point seems to be different. This time it was at the foot of the town’s most central pagoda. Most of the catch is destined for Siem Reap, but a small amount will remain in Kompong Khleang. Fish and rice make up most of the local diet.

IMG_9604fish hoppersIMG_9716fish on scalesanother basket of fish arrivesfish pilesbagging up the fishfish bagged up ready for transportfish weigh-in overview

141km from Siem Reap, 171km from Phnom Penh

141km from Siem Reap and 171km from Phnom Penh, Kompong Thom is a small town on the River Sen. It is a place of little excitement but ticks all the sights of a Cambodian provincial capital: The Honda dealership, the big ACLEDA bank, and the quiet Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy. Like many towns in Cambodia, Kompong Thom feels like it should be on the up but is not, or was on the up and then stopped.

The following images were taken within 24 hours of each other.
IMG_8337A young girl helps her father load their small boat, ready for an afternoon of fishing on the swollen River Sen.IMG_8349An unfinished pagoda building stands in front of the main structure, on the flood plain.IMG_8376 A group of farmers from a distant province rest in their truck full of bananas to be sold at Kompong Thom market.IMG_8398 Afternoon activity on one of the many backstreets coming off Route 6.IMG_8418a A shop owner, still in his home attire, braves the mid-day heat.IMG_8410One of many vendors selling fresh sugar cane juice in front of the market, for 500 Riel a bag.
IMG_8325Food vendors set up stall in front of the market for most of the night.
IMG_8420 Two mannequins stand silently in a clothes store opposite Kompong Thom market.IMG_8444A row of shop-fronts in the centre of town, indistinguishable from any other town in Cambodia.IMG_8446The old and new crossings into Kompong Thom.IMG_8433Well known among the locals, she runs this ferry every morning without fail, for 500 Riel a crossing.IMG_8438A woman takes the local ferry home from the market with provisions for the next day or two.
IMG_8449To escape the heat of the afternoon, a boy braves the drop from the old bridge, into the River Sen.

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I first took the route from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet in 2009. I couldn’t resist a 6 hour journey through the breezy countryside of eastern Thailand, for just 48 Baht. In the heat of mid-day the journey comes to its end, 10 minutes tuk-tuk drive from the border checkpoint with Cambodia. I have heard of nightmare […]

the fish trade.

Late in the afternoon in the stilted town of Kompong Khleang, fish are still being sold where the edge of the rising Tonle Sap meets land. It looks a shambles but is actually a fairly organised system. The boat will have already been anchored out on the lake and acting as a middle-man. These five shots show the next transaction once back on dry land. Off to the evening market.

The light wasn’t great, and there was a lot of splashing, so I’m not overly happy, but why not share!IMG_01 IMG_02 IMG_03 IMG_04 IMG_05

Siem Reap today, two different angles.

Managed to see the surrounding lands from the ground and from above in one afternoon. Not the busiest of afternoons, but enough going on. It’s a beautiful time of year, with the Tonle Sap lake rising to the south, and the fields filling up to the north.IMG_3397IMG_3409IMG_3527IMG_3473IMG_3590IMG_3435

a particularly heavy downpour.

Spent the lunchtime south of Siem Reap, cycling about. Had to stop to wait out the rain which became particularly heavy at times. I love shooting just after the rain – the colors, the reflections, and the clear air. Here are some moments from a wet weekday in Cambodia…IMG_3229 IMG_3232 IMG_3245 IMG_3266 IMG_3275 IMG_3278 IMG_3283 IMG_3296a

Preah Vihear | Vietnam Traveller mag

Here is my latest offering with Vietnam Traveller magazine. a handful of shots from a recent trip north east of Siem Reap. It is an interesting area, worth spending a weekend in. Thanks to @david___lloyd.Cambodia-page-0 Cambodia-page-1

a trip east.

I took a friend out to the town of Kompong Kdei in the neighbouring province, where he will start his journey onwards. After a breakfast of rice, pork and crickets at Damdek, we headed to an Angkorian bridge which I have been meaning to visit for years. We checked out an ice factory, and I stopped at a new pagoda on the way back. Here are some moments from a trip east – the surrounds of Kompong Kdei as it is today.
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