Photography students address Cambodian genocide – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Photography students address Cambodian genocide

Students in the Photography Workshop taught by Associate Professor of Art Mark Jones recently installed “Disappear,” a project dealing with the Cambodian genocide of 1975-79, at the Katherine D. Elliott Studio Arts Center.

More than 300 8-by-10 inch transparencies were mounted on the south-facing windows of the building, each side depicting an HWS student in a format similar to the intake photos of prisoners at the Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. That prison was often the final stop en route to the Khmer Rouge's killing fields. More than 1.7 million Cambodians are estimated to have starved or been executed there in one of the most brutal tragedies of the century. Estimates of those who died range from 1.7 million to 2.3 million, from the nation's population of about 7 million at the time.

“Disappear” was set up so that as the sun's rays dry each transparency's pigments, they will flake off, causing the entire work to disappear, as did the images and memories of the victims.

Students were also asked “to contemplate the vagaries of fate that find them in Geneva today and not in Cambodia a quarter century ago.”

Jones, a member of the HWS faculty since 1985, received his bachelor's from Hobart College in 1972, and his M.F.A. from Brooklyn College.