Cambodia Through the Eyes Of the Orphans

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By Athena Yenko | February 27, 2014 5:10 PM EST

In the middle of the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Tony Abbott's decision to ask Cambodia to accept asylum seekers during the time when the country itself is dubbed as one of Southeast Asia's poorest nation, an Aussie couple captures the beauty of Cambodia through the eyes of its orphans.

Australian couple Emily Craven (writer and photographer) and Josh Logan asked for the Brisbane community to donate pre-owned digital cameras to the Cambodian Children's Trust orphanage.

The couple was able to gather 50 digital cameras. After a year of raising funds, they went together to Cambodia to teach the orphans the basics of photography. Their initial plan was to have the photos taken and feature them in an exhibit.

Another Australian woman residing in Battambang, Cambodia owns the orphanage. Emily was inspired by her as she wished to do the same noble act.

In Cambodia, Emily and Josh taught 57 children. They took them out on immersions away from the orphanage to the beautiful scenery of Cambodia.

"They loved taking photos of nature, particularly flowers. They loved taking pictures of themselves with flowers," Emily told ABC Brisbane.

"Cambodia is an amazingly colourful place; the colour of the flowers would pop; they would take photos of flowers in their hair, they would take pictures next to these brightly coloured doors. We wanted them to see that they could do something creative and fun and something that inspires people.They produced these beautiful photographs; when we taught them something, they picked it up so quickly."

It took the couple 4 years to make the exhibit possible, but for Emily the long wait was all worth it whenever she looks at the photos.

A collection of selected photos were on display in Brisbane as a form of charity aimed at raising more funds for the orphanage.

"For them to be able to take the photographs and then use those images to be able then raise money for themselves means this isn't just a one off, where we come and do something good and then we leave you..."

Emily said the exhibit was a representation of the two perspectives about Cambodia - that of the Cambodian's local eye and that of a tourist.

The Images of "For Joy Gallery" is open until Feb.28 at The Green Door Cafin Stone's Corner.

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