October 27th, 2007
From aNew York Times article: “PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Oct. 25 — He had a job to do, and he did it supremely well, under threat of death, within earshot of screams of torture: methodically photograph Khmer Rouge prisoners and producing a haunting collection of mug shots that has become the visual symbol of Cambodia’s mass killings….”
During the rule of the Khmer Rouge, Nhem En was tasked to photograph every inmate entering Toul Sleng, a prison and interrogation center in an appropriated school. The facility was run by Kaing Geuk Eav, who went by Duch or Douch, and who is awaiting a trial for crimes against humanity. Duch has implicated Pol Pot’s right hand man, Nuon Chea, as having given the orders which meant the death of somewhere around 14,000 people.
Nhem En’s portraits are a testimonial to the record keeping of the Khmer Rouge and an memorial to their victims. More of Nhem En’s work at the Toul Sleng website.
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