Seeing Siem Reap chronicles a group of street children during their unique opportunity to participate in photography-dance workshop for one week. The children live in poverty and earn money by begging and selling bootleg books and dvds to tourists. This opportunity to cultivate artistic (No underscore needed) expression in an organized educational environment is a stark contrast to their regular lives on the streets of Siem Reap.
As the children of beggars, landmine victims and parents who are HIV positive, many are the primary income earners of their families—they roam the main tourist strip begging for money and food or selling guidebooks and bootleg DVDs of pop culture films. Like many destination spots throughout South Asia, the local economy thrives with the tourism industry. Tourists dine lavishly in restaurants while the kids stand in the streets, hoping to earn enough money for a meager meal. While many tourists take time to speak to local people, many do not see the Khmers beyond their supporting role in the circus of tourism and do not have privy to the hardships of their lives. Seeing Siem Reap explores this amalgamation of ancient culture, poverty, and global tourism through the lives of these children.