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Thread: Cambodia: 1920s photos

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Cambodia: 1920s photos

    Exhibition of 1920s photos provides portal to the past
    Sat, 28 March 2015

    The photographs of the mysterious travelling actor Georges Portal are being exhibited for the first time thanks to an old family friend

    Until four years ago, Pierre-Jean Rey had never thought of the collection of photos left to him by his “great uncle” (really his father’s best friend) Georges Portal as anything more than a remarkable family heirloom. Then, on a work trip to Cambodia, he happened to mention the 400-strong library of glass plate “positives” depicting Asia in 1929 to staff at the Hotel Sofitel Angkor.

    “The manager was very interested when I told him there were some photos of Angkor, so the next time I came back, I made some prints to bring with me,” recalls Rey, himself a photographer.

    When it was discovered that the collection also contained a rich selection of images of Phnom Penh, it was decided that an exhibition should be mounted at the hotel’s branch in the capital.

    “Wonders of 1929”, which opens on Tuesday, March 31 and will be on view for four months, consists of 84 of the best images from Portal’s travels in Cambodia 85 years ago.

    To the casual observer, the archive is a fascinating gateway to a different time, but Rey hopes it will prove even more interesting for professional archivists. “Historians don’t even know about this collection yet. It’s a first discovery,” he says.

    Many of the landmarks captured in the lively and stunningly detailed selection will be familiar to viewers today: the bell curve of Wat Phnom, the original Naga Bridge with its fanned, serpentine parapet and – of course – the timeless silhouette of Angkor Wat.


    Portal’s street photography captures local detail in remarkable depth.

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    A visit to Angkor before mass tourism descended was an enviable luxury of the ’20s.


    The Faces of Bayon

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    The Naga Bridge


    The bank of the Mekong River in 1929, one of many images from French actor Georges Portal's travels to Cambodia on display from Tuesday

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    more from Cambodia Daily on George Portal and his photography


    Members of Georges Portal’s theater company pose during their 1928-to-1929 tour of Indochina. (Rey Photo Collection)


    Terrace of the Elephants in Angkor park in 1929

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Uber Star TMTBOUND's Avatar
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    That is great man.

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    ^ yes, great pics and a real piece of history

    think we could do with a separate section for Cambodia rather than thrown in with 'other Asian locations' I've got lots of info/pics from about 10+ visits, from short visa trips to cycle touring, and with cheap Air Asia fares etc it's very accessible as an add-on to people visiting thailand
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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Uber Star TMTBOUND's Avatar
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    Heading back to SR. In January. Need some good info

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Later than 1920, this from 1936 when Charlie Chaplin visited Cambodia


    Paulette Goddard and Charlie Chaplin

    The party arrived by steamer in Saigon on 12 April. After a little tourism in Cochin they drove to Phnom Penh, checking in at the Hotel Le Royal on the 18th. The same day they visited the Royal Palace and saw the king, and strolled around the “Asiatic Quarter”, the Chinese district around Psar Thmei, which was then being built.

    They were charmed by the city, and relieved to find it more civilised than they’d been led in Saigon to expect – Charlie had thought he’d be camping out, but the Royal was a superb hotel with perfect service.

    Charlie and Paulette were big news, the reporters descended, and Charlie entertained them “with much courtesy and charm” in the hotel bar (presumably the Elephant Bar). Phnom Penh, he said, was charming, the palaces and pagodas delightful, the Cambodian houses picturesque. He felt he had to question whether French Colonial villas (the ones the Europeans lived in) were perhaps a little suburban and uncomfortable, but the wide boulevards, built over newly-reclaimed canals, were the equal of those in Paris. Asked if he might consider making a movie in Cambodia, he didn’t rule it out, but also didn’t see it happening in the immediate future. He would, however, undertake to publicise Indochina as a tourist destination on his return home

    Next day they continued on to Siem Reap for the purpose of the visit, which was to see Angkor. They were shown around by Victor Goloubew, a wealthy White Russian aristocrat and archaeologist, and returned by road via Phnom Penh to Saigon for the remainder of their Indochina tour.
    Last edited by Hatari; 18th January 2016 at 19:17. Reason: date typo, 36 not 37

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Changone's Avatar
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    ^Brilliant stuff H...

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    just can't imagine how hard it would be to get there and move around on land for charlie and co.
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    ^ interested to know how advanced Phnom Penh and surrounds were in the 20s 30s, roading etc, would have been a bumpy trip to Siem Reap but maybe roads not much worse than some there are now

    This pic is apparently inside the PP Post Office 1930. Quite stylish.



    And this, my pic of that building now
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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PeteGill's Avatar
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    White linnen suits and a pith helmet were obviously quite the fashion in those days, must have been a mission to keep them clean... And not a wife beater in sight 5555
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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Yes the singlet top with beer logo revolutionised fashion.
    But maybe not in 1930s French Indochina
    Have some pics somewhere of men in similar styles from about 1905 when this province, Chanthaburi, was under French occupation

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    1920s and 1930s Cambodia, French influenced architecture

    Battambang

    Chinese school


    Market


    Kampot
    Last edited by Hatari; 25th January 2016 at 06:17.

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Phnom Penh 1920s and 30s

    Hospital


    Ophthalmology


    City


    Library


    Le Royal Hotel, opened 1929. See earlier post, This is where Charlie Chaplin stayed
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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Citroën in Cambodia


    Above:
    1. The "Etablissements Bainier d'Indochine" have started to expand outside of Saigon, with subsidiaries in Hanoi and Phnom Penh ("Extrême-Asie", October 1929)
    2. The very first mention of Citroenin the local press: Emile Bainier announces his appointment as "exclusive agent for Cochinchina and Cambodia" ("Les Affiches Saigonnaises", 27 Jun 1919).


    In 1925, Emile Bainier, who had started to import Citroens in Saigon as early as 1919, put two 3-seater Citroen taxis in Phnom Penh, "on a trial basis".
    1929 advertising by his company, the "Etablissements Bainier d'Indochine", shows a subsidiary in Phnom Penh; "rue Gallieni" (Street 136 today) is mentioned as the address in another document, dated 1933.

    Bainier lost the Citroen representation rights in Indochina in 1933; one of its directors, Georges Desrues, decided to try his chance in Cambodia.
    In 1937 he is mentioned as the owner of a "Citroen garage" on 2, rue Philastre in Phnom Penh.
    The 15CV is introduced in1939, during a ceremony held at the garage celebrating the 1000th car sold in the country, undoubtedly an indication of relative success.


    Un-dated photo of Phnom Penh Citroën showroom
    Last edited by Hatari; 25th January 2016 at 06:49.

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Citroen at Angkor Wat in 1910


    The Postal Car that ran the route between Phnom Penh and Saigon in the late 1920s, the picture looks like it was taken in Saigon.
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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Above: a map of Indochina in 1931, with from North to South along the South China Sea: Tonkin, Annam, Cochinchina. Saigon, "the pearl of the Orient", was the Southern capital of this French territory, comprising of present-day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

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    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Approx 1915, poster promoting excursions to the temples of Angkor


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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน MarcTwoSix's Avatar
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    Imagine living in Asia during the colonial days?
    May not be totally PC to say......but what a frigging life that must have been.
    From the financial advantages to, even more so, just the total exoticness of it.
    Yes likes this.

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