Profile: John McDermott
John McDermott first
began photographing Cambodia's remarkable Angkor temples in 1995 when he visited the country to
witness a total eclipse of the sun. He was deeply affected by the unique visual
experience of watching the surreal light of an eclipse wash over the ruins. It
led directly to his long-term photography project aimed at preserving a vision
of the temples as slumbering ruins being overtaken by jungle and entwined with
In 2003 McDermott and his wife, Narisara Murray, settled in Cambodia and a year later opened their first gallery. Two years later they launched their second gallery during the annual Angkor Photography Festival, an event that draws hundreds of photographers from around the world to the burgeoning town situated next to the majestic temples of Angkor. A third gallery will open in August 2012 at Siem Reap’s Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.
McDermott’s monochrome images, which can be viewed as a body of work in his book Elegy: Reflections on Angkor, reveal a dark and moody side of the Angkor temples. McDermott shoots with infrared film, and processes his own images in the darkroom.