hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Friday, March 20, 2009

mila | adventure . angkor wat

what was it????  was i tired from all the traveling?  was it the oppressive heat? did we get up too early?  i'm really not sure.  all i know is, despite the inspiring beauty of the temples at angkor wat i just wasn't in the mood to take pictures that day.  it was enough for me to walk the halls of those ancient temples catching the occassional breeze as it blew through the columned windows, listening to our knowledgeable guide.  there was so much history in the corridors of that stoned monument.  even the condensed version would have taken 3 days to tell.   ah but i'm compelled.  i have to take a few photos.  it would be remiss of me not to.

there were so many temples to see, each one a legacy to some king.  each one with its own story.  angkor wat by itself was HUGE!  the artwork was intricate, detailed and almost perfect.  it took less than 40 years to get what they had done and they weren't finished.  everything was done by hand.  the stones laid in perfect symmetry.  the lines between them were nearly invisible.  it was seamless.  no amount of words could accurately describe the place.  my lame pictures can't even touch the surreal 3D effect that the stone masters of long ago were able to achieve.  it's like i walked onto an HDR canvas.  i've seen photographs of this place and they didn't prepare me for the vastness and the beauty.  artistic depictions of the temples and the stone faces litter the streets of cambodia.  i've seen posters that capture the serenity of the temples in the early light and the quiet of sundown.  i've seen haunting variations printed on silver gel paper.  so many artists trying to voice their experience through art in all the various mediums and still... the reality remains elusive.  you just have to go there and experience it for yourself.

the sunrise stalkers convene...
and finally... it arrives ...
this made me sad.  treasure hunters and theives have ransacked the temples throughout history.  taking what they can sell.  the buddhas have their heads cut off because that is the most valuable part of the statue.  these heads are found in the black markets around the world.  

the next set of photos is at Ta Prohm also fondly known as the "tomb raider temple".  so much of these temples are destroyed.  in some cases it's nature taking its course and in some cases it is a product of war and the ugliness of genocide.  a government trying to wipe out a culture.


  1. Girl, these photos are just insane! I love them! I cannot wait to finally visit Cambodia, too! I'll be in PI in May so I hope to do some justice with photos from my own trip. *crossing fingers*

  2. amazing amazing couple! would love to shoot yu guys in the future! :)


  3. Such amazing places you get to travel too. Beautiful shots... The tree overtaking the temple....i love how the tree molds itself and becomes a part of it... =)