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Yoko Toda about her photos taken in 1965 - 1966  


One morning I read an article about the Vietnam War and saw the photo of a Buddhist monk immolating himself by pouring oil over himself and setting fire to it as his protest against the war. 

The image shocked me greatly and I could not stop thinking about the self-sacrifice these people made for the sake of peace. In the midst of the Vietnam War, in 1965, I decided to go there myself to document the situation in the tradition of my mentors such as Capa and Bresson. When I arrived, it was daytime and the city seemed quiet and beautiful compared to Tokyo where the constant construction of roads and buildings was taking place for coming the Tokyo Olympic.
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But I could not take any photographs of political or radical nature. So I left Saigon for Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat, a place I had heard of before, to see with my own eyes. The attraction I felt for the place was impressive and real that I started to take pictures with my camera, even on a bicycle, every single corner of the temples. I was totally mesmerized by the adventure and stayed until my visa expired.

I went back there the following year to continue my passion.Time went by and I moved to Europe and from there to USA and I got involved in painting as my discipline. But I never forgot about those precious photographs, the witness of the peaceful as yet undestroyed people's spirit hidden in my archive.
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Finally, I opened the file of these documented photographs to see them again with the help of the new technology. To my joy, the Cambodia I loved so much has returned to my vision. Going through these tremendous amount of photographs all witnessing the peaceful moment of the days, I felt convinced that they should be shared with more people, especially with the people of the area of whom these treasures belong.

The beauty and the truth of this sacred place prior to the nightmare of destruction breathe their eternal light and shadow in these images


Yoko Toda / New York 2006
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Silence-Remained 2005-2011