Due to the lack of passenger planes, Burgess flew into Phnom Penh on a C130 cargo plane operated by the Red Cross. Accompanied by a driver and an interpreter assigned to him by the government, he first spent a week photographing the capital city for the Washington Post and TIME.
Burgess says he was expecting the capital to still be more or less deserted. “I was just amazed by how many people there were in Phnom Penh,” he says.
“Almost every house was occupied. People would find empty houses to move into before the government could step in with regulations. The markets were busy, bicycle traders filled the roads . . . I was amazed because everyone was, by definition, a Khmer Rouge survivor.”
Yet the city was by no means untouched, and there were none of the modern components of a functioning city, like banks, post offices or a power grid. “People had to make do with what they had – getting water from the river, using lanterns in place of electricity,” he says.
This spirit of resourcefulness is evident in of Burgess’s favourite photographs to be displayed – an image of two men having their hair cut in a makeshift barbershop. “The two barber chairs . . . weren’t really barber chairs but office chairs. The mirrors on the wall were taken from a house,” he says. “I just thought ‘what could be more normal than getting a haircut in a barbershop?’ But it was clearly a barbershop put together by scavenging.”
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/arts-cult ... 9-cambodia