Raphael Pech / Photographer
I was born and raised in France, but root in Cambodia. My mother is French and my father was Cambodian. He died when I was 9. My Cambodian identity has always been something like I was looking for a way to be involved and to be connected. I came to Cambodia with my old friends since kindergarten in 2001 with two pictures and two letters from my dad. They supported to help me to find my lost family ties in Khmer Rouge and finally I could find my cousins and grand parents here in Cambodia. That miracle changed my life. That’s the beginning of everything for me and my story. Because everything started like two pictures. In 2001, there was no social media, no sharing. Photography was quite confidential, very private, and so precious moment like what happened to me.
I started photography as a street photographer for years. I had a good session with street people and I thought that they were beautiful, and gorgeous. But most of the times, they are pretty invisible to the people.
For example, we are all used to the people selling popcorns, balloons, pigeon foods at riverside, everyday. But they are almost invisible. They will disappear in 10 years even though millions of people surviving with those things. Economy is evolving and that is same as in France. Most of these activities disappear everywhere in the world. I want to continue to take these people another 10 years.
My ikigai is to be happy. And my occasion is to help the people around me. Linearly and right now my mission is to find a way to feel good with my Cambodian identity. And I feel way better since I started photographing. It’s all about putting studio lights into the invisible. It’s also a way of documenting life.