A glimpse into the city’s underbelly in the iconic ‘White Building’
There is something oddly fascinating about walking through the dark halls of Phnom Penh’s dilapidated housing project known as the White Building.
Once an affordable housing option for civil servants the one-time symbol of hope for a prosperous city has been overrun by grime and vice, housing now only those who have been cast aside in an increasingly cut-throat society.
The apartments are small and in some, the ceilings have begun caving in, while banter fills its unlit, graffiti strewn corridors.
Over the past year, I visited this complex along the Tonle Bassac several times with a camera and the hope of discovering intimacy in a place that seems to scream otherwise. It was and is a notorious underbelly den, riddled with prostitution and drug use that some residents try to fight back by clogging staircases with barbed wire, pleading with addicts that stumble inside to go away.
Once inside though, it appears many of its residents continue to go about their day as most Cambodians might and welcome foreign faces that come through. It seems, here, that depravity is served with a smile and for those of us that are photographers that is pretty interesting.