Lucas Veuve Photography
Some of the most interesting people I have met in my life so far, happened to be expats living and working in Cambodia. On my last visit, I met Lucas Veuve, an amazing Swiss travel photographer living in Phnom Penh who happens to be equally inspiring with his humanitarian work with NGOs such as CARE International, ECPAT and Friends International.
Some of your greatest inspirations or influences?
My grandmother is my greatest inspiration. She was a successful filmmaker, documenting the life of interesting people and their crafts. She always depicted the characters in her film with dignity and artistry. When I was a child, I used to go on the film-set and observe her at work. It really inspired me to get out and start shooting. I can already see her influence in my work as I love documenting the life of people and communities and raise awareness of issues affecting them in a dignifying manner.
Most memorable shoot so far?
One of my first major assignments was for CARE International in Sri Lanka. I went there with my partner, Aimee and we spent 2 days in the tea plantation documenting the life of tea pluckers and how they are empowering women on the tea estates. I met some extraordinary people who are dedicated to giving women a greater voice on the running of the tea estates. It was a truly insightful experience, especially as the technology and processes haven’t changed since the colonial period. It was like going back in time but it everything worked like clockwork and the tea is one of the best in the world, why change something that isn’t broken?
Most interesting response to your work so far?
In 2012, I had just moved to London from a little Swiss town, Lausanne. I was impressed by the size of the city and the speed at which people move from one place to another. Everyone is in a rush! So I wanted to capture this urgency and pace of life by making a time-lapse video. The video received a great response from the public. It was shown by the London Tourism Office and was also one of the winners of Sony’s WPO competition where they showcased the video at Somerset House, one of my favourite places in London. I didn't expect this response at all and it really inspired me to keep creating and shooting. You can see the video here on youtube.
What do you like most about living in Cambodia?
I like the laid-back lifestyle the most. Moving from London, it was a breath of fresh (dusty) air. For example, people drive like crazy here but there’s no road rage or anger in the traffic. Phnom Penh is full of potential and there is not a day without a new business opening up. It’s full of opportunity. I've been here for 6 months now and I have been able to work as a freelancer as the cost of living is much lower than England or Switzerland. I can afford to do what I love to do without struggling. There is an interesting mix of local Khmers, Khmers who grew-up overseas and have come back and ex-pats like myself which makes the city incredibly contrasting and diverse. This drives me to be more creative and more inquisitive of the social and humanitarian issues. And obviously the weather is also a good reason to live here. If you’ve been to London, you know what I mean!
Favorite websites, blogs, or publications?
I really like to read David DuChemin's blog. He always brings up interesting topics on photography and vision. I also follow Zach Arias' blog. He shares a lot of his knowledge on photography and techniques. It's always fun to read his posts. I also watch a lot of documentaries which unfortunately don’t always get broadcasted widely or are too controversial for some countries to show. It’s great to know that there are people out there expressing what they believe and raising some lesser known issues. Most recently, I watched a documentary on land grabbing and evictions in Phnom Penh and I met the activist during the screening. After speaking to her, she invited me to follow her group who have been fighting for housing rights since their eviction from their community. Unfortunately, land grabbing is a very common story here as Cambodia develops at such a fast pace.
Anything else you would like to share with our audience?
At the end of April, I will be travelling with a fellow photographer to the Philippines to scope out a long-term project on climate change and how it affects communities. Once we’re back, we’ll have more of an idea of how to shape our assignment and will look at starting a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. We're also looking to set-up a partnership or agency to work on the plight of humanitarian and environmental issues in Asia. We'll be releasing a website and a blog so keep an eye out. In the meantime, you can follow my work here: www.lucasveuve.com and www.facebook.com/lucasveuvephotos