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Photography and history 

When we look at photographs we are looking through the lens of the photographer.There are many different reasons why an artist thinks a picture is worth taking at any particular moment. But there in my opinion two main reasons.

The first motivation for taking a picture lies in an artistic and aesthetic motive, or simply because the subject is an attractive one. The second reason could be that the photographer wants to express himself/herself, or document a special emotion in a creative and sensitive way. In addition, there is a third way to make a good picture. History sometimes radically alters the objects the photographer recorded on film. Space changes through the influence of time and in space we can read time. Time and space should be fixed in people’s minds, but when this isn’t the case only silence remains.

The history in the 20th Century of Cambodia is an example of a bad time, ever-present in the mind of its people but rarely discussed. This is where photographic images can help people to think about their history and the present thus helping to break the silence. The photographs of Yoko Toda show Cambodian life before terror seized the country and are shot in the spirit of the two reasons for taking a picture mentioned above.

The photographs of Yoko Toda have a special place in the memory of the Cambodians and they can help in recreating their society without the anguish of war and pain. There not many existing documents of the time before the oppression and war destroyed parts of the Cambodian identity. These pictures of daily life and the temple of Angkor Wat are witnesses to the peaceful Cambodian life.


Moritz Schneider, 2006



Silence-Remained 2005-2011