Project Detail: Balance on the water


Emerging photographers 2018




S. Rossi



Project Info

Balance on the water

The idea of this project was born on the shores of Tonle Sap, considered by many people as the beating heart of Cambodia. This lake is well known for being the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the most productive inland fishing areas in the world. In fact, the basin, with is wealth of fish, supplies most of the national protein consumption.

I visited Cambodia in October, at the end of the rainy season when the water withdrawal was becoming visible.
It is thanks to this transitional month that I was able to understand the importance of this body of water for its inhabitants and how it determines their survival. During the monsoon period the lake's volume increases strongly and radically changes the landscape and life close to shore. The water floods the surrounding fields and forests, providing fertile terrain and an ideal habitat for fish.

The rhythm of the seasons forces all the populations of Tonle sap to adapt to its continuous changes.
These transformations are not only due to the seasons but also to the rapid economic growth and the industrial development of the country. The openness to tourism and industrialisation are radically changing this fragile ecosystem. For example, the activity that sustains these places is still fishing, but today, the level of exploitation of resources has reached such a point that is hard to sustain. Furthermore, there are other factors that are jeopardising the delicate balance of Tonle Sap and most of them are coming from beyond the Cambodian borders.

This photographic project aims to provide food for thought on the importance of the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. A fragile balance where the people from the rural floating villages don't yet have the adequate knowledge to preserve and protect the biosphere that hosts and nourishes them. For this reason, the nature, with its beauty and fragility, is degrading itself day after day, making the future of its inhabitants more and more uncertain.