PSAR Idyllic
Project info

“Psar” means “market” in Khmer language. Markets are always interesting places for a walk and I rarely miss such an opportunity. They are like microcosms and excellent indicators of a country: we can learn how people behave, how they dress, what they eat, …
I started to document the stalls themselves early 2015 in a view to reflect the consuming habits of the Cambodian population. After some time, I was surprised to see how much sellers merge and disappear in such a small environment. Indeed in most covered stalls of Phnom Penh, the units are often very small: on average it is a cube of 2m long. Therefore the space allocated to the vendors themselves is often minimized. Usually the center of the unit is empty allowing them to settle there, get a view of their shops (or almost) and access to the entire stock. A narrow passage is often created in order to get out but sometimes it is inexistent requiring the person to step over or move the goods. Late afternoon, all the products are stacked and stored in locked trunks, and every morning the goods are removed and placed in and around the stands. The objective of the sellers is often double and highly ingenious: to display a maximum of products in a small space in a view to maximize the occupied volume, but also present them in a harmonious way in order to attract the eye of potential customers. Perishable products are usually sold in a dedicated open area.
After a few months, my eye was more attracted by the patterns formed by the objects themselves than by documenting the booths. I also found that only one photo cannot easily procure this feeling of perdition and do not sufficiently reflect the atmosphere of the markets where stalls follow one another and reinforce this impression of drowning.
In this series, sellers were spontaneously photographed in the middle of their merchandise. The photos were not retouched in substance but quadrupled to highlight the color schemes, patterns and render the intense activity.