Eyes: The Presence & Absence

It was a sunny day in Phnom Penh and I headed to a site where one of the worst attrocities in the world happened: The Killing Field or Choeung Ek Memorial as it is known today. You know, it is amazing that every little detail matters and can drag you into a deep reflection as you walk around each point, observe each point, and try to absorb the aura of pain and peace. Even when you look back at each picture, there are certainly new meanings that you can write about. Here are a few examples:

The Presence

These two girls approached me from behind the fence surrounding the lake. They seemed to be friendly; they tried to practice their best English and put up the best smiles. They asked for my name and, without even being asked, got themselves ready for me to take their pictures (of course for a small fee which I only found out later). But look at their eyes: aren’t they just radiating life? Or are they really present?

The Absence

At the end of the walk, I entered the memorial monument which housed the skeletons of the victims and I was instantly drawn to the head skulls.

What you see may be eyeless skulls, but you cannot help but wonder what those eyes had seen when they were still free, and what they had seen just before the Khmer Rouge took their lives away. My heart ached as I thought about each and everyone of them and I offered my prayer in silence.


More takes on this week’s photo challenge can be seen here.

9 thoughts on “Eyes: The Presence & Absence

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