Towering temples and graceful apsaras are missing from a new Cambodia-themed photo show. Instead, camera lenses focused on corruption.
The photos show poverty, inadequate sewage systems and parking squeezes at markets. Contest rules allowed photos to be staged—as long as contestants clarified that a photo was set up. The exhibit was organized by Transparency International (T.I.) Cambodia, the local chapter of the NGO that denounces corruption around the world. Twelve winners were selected from 45 photos submitted by students and professionals, Cambodians citizens and expats.*
Although Cambodia law says primary school education is to be free of charge, many children, like this boy in Battambang Province, cannot attend school because he does not pay teachers a daily “tutoring fee.” (Phim Kanika)

The show opened Friday night at Meta House. It runs until April 18.
“We would like to use the formal arts to engage people in the fight against corruption and to promote integrity within the society using art, and also to stimulate a discussion and draw interest among the public on the corruption issue,” said Pisey Pech, program director for T.I. Cambodia.
One of the winning photos is a candid shot of a boy in dusty clothes staring through a window into a classroom filled with students. Before hearing about the competition, the photographer, Phim Kanika, 24, from Phnom Penh, snapped the picture on her iPhone and posted it to Instagram. Although Ms. Kanika did not talk to the boy, she said he most likely lacked money to pay school fees.
Corruption and low salaries have impacted the education sector and in February, T.I. Cambodia sought to highlight the problem of education officials stealing and selling textbooks intended to be delivered free to students.
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