A small country with a big history, Cambodia’s story is both magnificent and tragic. In a series of images, travel photographer Todd Weselake focuses on what life is like today in this resilient kingdom.
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On paper, Cambodia’s numbers are pretty unique; at 181,035 sq km (69,898 sq mi) it’s one of the smallest countries in Asia, boasting a population of ~15m. On the ground, that’s ~83 people per square kilometre; however, owing to the Khmer Rouge’s brutal rule, more than 70 per cent of those Khmers are under the age of 30. And, although young, over 95% of the population affiliates with the Buddhist way of life. Which make sense, as their legendary temples continue to provide a touchstone of national identity — Angkor Wat being the most world-renowned.
Of course, I wanted to see what these numbers looked like –– to experience them off the page.
Throughout its long history, Cambodia has fought to maintain its identity, from French colonization, the Vietnam War, and the Khmer Rouge. Yet, its people have a welcoming reputation and wear ear-to-ear smiles. More than anything, I wanted to see how this unceasing resiliency shaped a nation.
So I travelled there, camera in hand, in an effort to tell the story of how 15m people live proudly today, folding in centuries of history while maintaining a distinct culture.