The US National Academy of Sciences has published the results of a survey performed in April 2012 of the forests of Cambodia, which uncovered a monumental, intricate landscape of low-density urban sprawl connected to ancient ruins of Angkor Wat that dates back to more than 700 years, invalidating archaeologists’ current understandings of pre-industrial urbanism.
In Elegy: Reflections On Angkor, John McDermott’s monochromatic photographs of the famous Hindu-Buddhist temple complex in the jungle of Cambodia are a haunting paean to an inspiring and sacred place. Made up of a complex of temples and holy spaces, which the World Monuments Fund called “one of the most significant buildings erected during the ancient Khmer empire,” Angkor is a site under siege from an influx of tourists as well as the elements of modern day life. Using specialized black and white film, McDermott captures the ghostly grandeur of the former the seat of the Khmer empire and produces sepia-toned silver gelatin prints, like Twisted Tree, Ta Prohm, 2001 (after the jump). He photographed the temple complex at Angkor before restoration efforts began on this UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing a glimpse of monuments in a state that no longer exists.