Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Re-tracing some forgotten tracks




Re-tracing some forgotten tracks

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Re-tracing some forgotten tracks

South Africa-born Brit Bruce DeVincentiis first picked up photography five years ago. His first exhibition, Another Time, Another Train, features 16 photographs taken in the capital’s forgotten locomotive department. Ahead of its opening, the photographer sat down with Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon.

What drew you to photographing an abandoned space?

It’s one of my favourite forms of photography. It’s just interesting, the decay. It’s almost like being the first one in. There are quite a lot of [abandoned spaces] in Phnom Penh. It’s about showing everybody else what you see, in the way [that] you can see it.

How did you find the warehouse?

If you go north along the railway lines, there used to be a lot of abandoned carriages. There’s always been this building right down on the end that we were never able to get to. [My friends and I] looked inside and you could see the old steel locomotives. So I emailed John [Guiry, Royal Railway CEO] and he let me into the space. It was quite lucky.

Over what period of time did you take these pictures?

I only had about three hours to shoot and that’s the only time we’ve ever been in. All I knew was that there were some locomotives [inside], but I had no idea of how many were in there. I had to be able to shoot them all. It must have been at least fifteen inside. From what I’ve learned the locomotives don’t actually belong to the railway company, they belong to the government.

What story do you think these photographs tell?

I think [it’s] the history that is behind the locomotives. The trains, they played quite a role in the history of Cambodia, and they’re basically just left there to rot. They’re beautiful pieces of machinery, they really are. It seems a real shame to not make a museum out of them, to do something. They’re just hidden away and it’s part of the history and there’s a chance it will just be turned into scrap. Hopefully [the government] can do something with it.

Another Time, Another Train opens Wednesday, November 23, at 6:30pm at the Lotus Pond Gallery at the Plantation, #28 Street 184. The exhibition runs through January 4. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

A previous version of this article misstated the address of the Plantation. It is #28 Street 184. The article also previously stated that DeVincentiis is South African. In fact, he was born in South Africa but is British.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,