There's something about islanders.
Chanreas and I bonded the first day we met, during my first week of training at HPC, while she was training through Iris Cambodia. We quickly bonded talking about relationship troubles. She quickly became one of my closest friends, as well as an adventure buddy. I had a few friends who were incredibly game for my continuous suggestions of photo shoots. This photoshoot came towards the end of my time spent working in Phnom Penh, when Chanreas invited me out to her island home in the middle of the mighty Mekong River (more candid photos from this later), to celebrate New Years, Khmer style.
During the time, she pulled out her fancy dresses, and we drove around exploring her childhood home. Picture a plastic bag tied around the handlebars of her moto, with me (much taller and larger than Chanreas) perched on the back of the moto, while we cruised down dirt roads. Definitely a highlight.
There's something special about growing up on an island, and the spirit that develops in a person because of that. We share that bond, despite the cultural differences that shaped our identities in so many other ways. I saw many similarities; in the hospitality and welcoming of strangers as family; in the spirit of adventure and exploration; in the friendliness in getting to know many people...etc. Chanreas is an incredible woman, full of compassion, love for those around her, and strength that has been fortified through the many trials and challenges she's been brought through. Her love for people and her family is only surpassed by her passion for sharing what God has done in her life.
It was an honour to be able to photograph her, in her own home.