It is quite ironic but when I was a photojournalist in Canada, I always found myself working evenings and weekends and I never got the opportunity to come out and support my friends doing excellent photographic work.
Thus now in Asia, I have made the effort to come out and support the photojournalism festivals and photojournalists that I meet.
One such photojournalist is Zann Huizhen Huang, whom I met at the Obscura Festival of Photography in Penang.
Her work on Cambodian glue kids has been displayed in various locations around the globe before gaining the attention it deserves in her home city-state of Singapore.
Her work has garnered many awards, among them UNICEF Photographer of the Year 2006 (Honourable Mention).
This photo essay began in 2005 while she was on vacation in Siem Reap. The subject of the glue kids somehow called out to her. When asked about what went through her mind as she photographed these children, she replied that it was just her instinct that helped her make the pictures.
Some of the images had a motion blur to them, paralleling the blurred sense of the child after sniffing glue. Other images bring the viewer to the place where Zann made her images, giving them context by portraying these children’s way of life.
Being an educator in Singapore by day helps to fund this self-taught journalist. Perhaps it is her experience as a teacher that helped her communicate with children whose language she did not speak.
What was the first photo essay you attempted and how did it turn out?