The cover of the current, March/April issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine features a photo that is pretty different from what I usually show off. Although I have done lots of nature photography in the past, this was actually shot at an herb farm, while on assignment for the magazine. I just happened to see that butterfly and started shooting. I could tell you that I had set out that day to get a great butterfly photo and waited hours in the bushes, or I can just fess up to the fact that it was a “happy accident”. No, let’s go with the vision of me in the bushes in camouflage. Sure.
I am actually writing today to talk about my photo essay in this issue. Last year I was asked to become a member of the Advisory Board of Lowell’s Angkor Dance Troupe. Being asked was certainly a great honor, but it also gave me much insight into the troupe, it’s organization and the dedicated people who make it work.
There has been a lot of great coverage and documentation of the dancers, and the troupe as a whole, but I wanted to create a series of photographs that documented what goes into making the troupe function and how it creates a safe, culture-preserving, artistic outlet for young dancers from a very young age through adulthood. I really think the best way to see the essay is in print, and the magazine is out now, but I wanted to also present some of my other favorite photos here.
For Facebook users, there is also a set of shots here on the magazine’s page:
In addition to all of the people who made this work, I especially want to thank Tim Chan Thou, the troupe’s Program Director, and his daughter, Linda Sopheap Sou, the Executive Director, who were so gracious and helpful in giving me free access to the troupe's rehearsals and performance preparations.
And I don't want to forget to express my appreciation to Master and Artistic Director Phousita Huy and principal dancer Samnang Hor, for taking the time, as did Tim and Linda, to come into my studio for some formal portraits to add to the piece.