Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Photo Diary Of Gerry Yaum, THE BOOK

Started working on a new project just for the fun of it. It is a blurb book based on this blog. The inspiration was a wonderful Irving Penn book I love to browse through called "A Notebook At Random" which is sort of a scrap book of random Penn images. I thought I would do something similar, a combination of photos and writings from this 7 year blog. It should be fairly easy to put together as all the the words are just copy and paste stuff from the blog and I have access to most of the scanned images on my hard-drives. I will try to put together a 100 pages. A lot of these book idea project things just come and go as a fad when I get bored I stop working on them. Lets see how this one comes along, it might make it until completion.

No one is interested in this stuff but me, but it is still fun to design books and hope others might be interested. Imagine actually having a real book in a real book store! It would be cool to just watch a person flipping through the book and watching their face for reactions. I do that when I watch visitors at my shows, I am always curious how people react to the work.

Will try to make this project fun, scans of hand writin things, and travel related paper items along with writings pulled from the blog. I want to fill the book with imagery and thoughts.

Here are 2 possible covers, I have a third vertical nude of a ladyboy sex worker in a short time room that I like the best.

Bla freelance worker, Thailand 2009
Larry on the cover of the diary book.

My Phnom Penh Villa!

Continuing to look at some places to rent in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Here is my Phnom Penh VILLA. Imagine that a Villa, runs $285 USD a month plus water and power. Pretty cheap for the size of house, thou it's to big for me and probably to expensive when I get a single room at a much cheaper. Still wouldn't it be fun to stay in a place like this for 6 months or so making pics of the Cambodian people all day then returning to my Villa at night!

Not sure what kind of fruit that is growing in front of the Villa in the 3rd photo but I want to try it!

Dear the best Customer
I would to rent my house that have
1.The house side 7.5 m by 16.5 m
2.Have three bed room and each room have one bed and one mattress.
3.Have one big bathroom inside have hot and warm water.
4 Really nice good price just $285
5. Good to make NGO office or Company office have big land a round the house you can park many car and motor you want.
6. Have one nice big kitchen wood next to villa.
7. Have one washing machine, one refrigerator.
8. Have one big flat screen TV 32 inch have more than 200 Chanel
9. Electric charge the same price as what government charge.
10. In front or the Villa big tall wall and nice design.
11. Land side 30 by 64 matter 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Busy Week Off?

I want to do some printing this week off and also spend as much time with dad as I can. I have a confirmed workshop for Thursday so that will take a 3 or 4 hours but most of the rest of the week will be just normal day to day activities. I need to spend more time in the darkroom, ever since dads illness I have been thrown out of my darkroom routine. I have not had the drive to create in the dark. Dad was happy today so that makes me feel like working in the darkroom again. I will try to get back into the dark tomorrow sometime. I wanted to make a fine print of the neg from a few days ago.


Dad Had A Good Day

Visited dad tonight, no crocodiles in sight! Dad looked good, his colouring was very nice, he had eaten a bunch today and yesterday even made it out to a restaurant for the 2nd week in a row. Considering all he has been through dad looked good, weak, very thin but good.

I have a gift card from a high end restaurant I got for Christmas from work, before I wanted to use the card to take dad and mom out but then dad got ill. Now it looks like we still might be able to go out to dinner together as a family, maybe for the last time. I had thought that dad's restaurant days were behind him but since he went out 2 weeks in a row, he should also be able to handle this meal. When I asked dad today about going out together he seemed willing and eager to give it a try.

I can use the gift card ($100) to get dad a free lobster tail or two. Hopefully he will eat and enjoy it. We are 5 months into his diagnosis for advanced  untreatable cancer but dad is still fighting along, not giving up. Today was a good day, a fun day for me, I cut his lawn and spent time talking and joking with my father. Later in the week we will give the expensive dinner a try.

Dad said something today, something that surprised me,  I only half heard it because it sort of just snuck into the conversation. He said something to the effect that it was good I had plans to do the things I was doing. It was like dads way of saying he was happy and proud at what I was doing with my life. In the past he has supported me quietly giving me money, worrying about my safety etc, without saying to much about the photography, but today it was different. This might be the first time he actually told me he thought my making photos, spending my life that way was a good thing, a positive thing. It happened so fast and the 3 way conversation switched topics before I could really grasp things but I think that's what he meant.

Crazy Dream

Don't usually write about my dreams but this one was so  crazy I thought I would mention it. I just woke up  on my first day off after my 7-12 hour security night shifts, it is 5pm Monday.

I was in Thailand with dad and mom ( in real life they visited me there in 2003 and I took them on a 2 month tour), in the dream dad was very sick as he is now in real life but in the dream we were visiting  a crocodile farm. For some reason dad fell into the water and a large crocodile took him under water and swam away. I ran after him and could see dads white body in the crocodiles mouth underwater. Dad was not moving and limp, his arm loosely moving about,  it was terrifying to see dad that way, far underwater and being taken away.

Eventually the crocodile let him go and I reached in grabbed dads hand and lifted him out of the water. Dad was still alive but all cut up on his arm and back from the teeth of the crocodile, we talked, he was still breathing. I got him to the crowded busy street and carried him in my arms to a chair but he was having problems breathing, I could hear him struggling to breath. Dad was bleeding with a big tear in his arm and bite marks on his back, long open cuts.

I then started speaking in Thai to people nearby and asked a older lady on the street to call a ambulance for him. The lady was trying to call but could not get help for us, no one was coming. I felt desperate and did not know what to do. Just when I thought all was lost a real life friend of mine in Thai I have known for years was there she appeared almost by magic wearing a uniform and took over the situation, she called for help on her cell phone, she spoke to dad and cared for him. Everything seemed like it would be OK, it seemed dad might be live through this ordeal.

Then I woke up, a crazy violent dream mixing in a bunch of my fears and real life experiences. I hope I do not have any more dreams about dad and crocodiles (an animal I have always been afraid of).

I better go over to dads now I am supposed to cut his lawn tonight, it might rain.

Renting A Room In Phnom Penh Cambodia?

Thinking more and more of spending a long term trip in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Living in Cambodia is much more hardcore compared to Thailand plus the language would be a problem as I only speak a few words of Khmer. Still the photos might be better in Cambodia and the rooms might be cheaper, thou very very basic. To save money and to make better pics I do not mind roughing it a bit for 6 months. I know this place will be safe because it has a security guide.

Big New room discounts only $120 a month,  Phnom Penh City.
Cable TV
WIFI free with high speed in your room
24Hour security guide
24 Hour camera security
Room: Bathroom and Kitchen included
Parking Space

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dith Pran's Story

Here is a wonderful little video on the real life hero Dith Pran from the movie "The Killing Fields". The short documentary includes an interview with Dith Pran from a hospital bed before he died.

I sent an email to Mr Pran years ago asking about how I could help the Cambodian people and he kindly replied with some helpful links. A good and brave man who survived the Cambodian killing fields and then fought to raise awareness, help his country and prevent another genocide elsewhere.

Dith Pran passed away in 2008 age 65.


I need spend more time in Cambodia telling the peoples stories.

Dith Pran 1942-2008

The Three Films That Inspired Me To Do Documentary Photo Work

Three Hollywood films inspired me to go to Asia and do documentary photographic work. After seeing these films I wanted to enter these worlds and tell my own stories.

"The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982) A movie that showed the exotic and beautiful along with the tragic in Sukarno's Indonesia of the 1960s. Linda Hunt plays a male photographer character named Billy Kwan, a man who cared to much and to felt to deeply for the people of Indonesia. Billy Kwan is my favourite all time movie photographer.


"Under Fire" (1983) A tough but sensitive Nick Nolte playing photojournalist Russel Price. Price photographs in Africa and Nicaragua until he finally has seen enough bloodshed and decides to take sides in a struggle.


"The Killing Fields" (1984) A truly monumental and great film showing both love in friendship and the horrors  of the Khmer Rouge period of Cambodian history. John Malkovic plays disillusioned but passionate photographer Al Rochoff (a real life person).


Spoiler alert! The best ending to a movie ever.


All these films locals plus the photographer characters inspired me to do what I do now.

Sometimes watching a movie can have an eerie effect on you. In 1999 I was staying at a hotel on Monivong road in Phnom Penh. At that time Phnom Penh at night was mostly abandoned and dark, candles on the streets to light night markets etc. The hotel had a small theatre where you could pay $5 USD and watch a laser disc. I chose one of my favourite all time movies "The Killing Fields" In the film Phnom Penh is evacuated by the Khmer Rouge, around 2 million people are eventually killed.  The Khmer Rouge period ended about 1979, so in 1999 it was only 20 years previous. I walk into the  theatre and the movie starts, so there I am sitting in a Cambodian hotels movie theatre watching "The Killing Fields" for the 5th or 6th time. Eventually a few Cambodian people from the hotel sneak in, some of them would have been alive during this period of time and experienced what was on the screen first hand. Sitting side by side with Khmer people watching that movie in Cambodia was a very surreal experience.

Two hours later after watching all that killing, all that passion, love and trajedy the film ends and I immediately walked out on to the quiet streets of Phnom Penh at night, it was pitch black and very quiet. I get onto a lone motorbike and am driven through the dark streets, no businesses open, no people around only the occasional candle flickering in the distance. I kept thinking about what had happened in the very city just 20 years previous, it was at times awe inspiring and at times just spooky, it was almost like the ghosts of the dead could see you and reach out to you.

Anyway please check out the films if you have not seen then, if you have then watch them again! Great inspiring stuff.

Note* A fourth good film to check out is "Salvador" (1986) by Oliver Stone, starring James Woods and John Savage as half crazed photojournalist John Cassady.


Quote: Nick Nolte

On turning 70:

"When you start thinking about death more than sex, you know you're getting old. At 70, you crest that hill. In the sixties, you're still thinking you could do something about this slow disintegration of the body. As Katharine Hepburn used to say to me: 'Aging, Nick, is boring'. Now I know what she means."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Quotes: Don McCullin

"Of course I came in for a lot of criticism, some of it very hurtful. There is a certain mercenary element in what I've done that does disturb me., but the rights and wrongs of the situation are not as simple as some people make out. I have recorded what some human beings have done to others. Is it better that we let these things happen and there is no witness, nothing to show us what is actually gong on? People sometimes fail to understand how much the photographer himself is emotionally disturbed by what he photographs. They think that all war photographers are just ruthless and relentless. But some of the pictures of mine that they saw a couple of years ago have probably stopped hurting them - they are still hurting me."

"My photography's an expression - of my guilt, my inability to make a protest in another way."

"I can't describe how I feel when I've had a good day photographing people, having met and talked to them and had their cooperation. It's as if somebody's given me an enormous present; I go home as if I've got a full belly."

“I’m alone in my house in Somerset. The ghosts in my filing cabinets sometimes seem to mock me – the ghosts of all those dead in all those wars” 

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