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An Iconic Photography Gallery for an Iconic Hotel: Raffles Grand Hotel D’angkor Welcomes McDermott Gallery

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Siem Reap, Cambodia – A new gallery, showcasing the iconic monochromatic photographs of the Angkor temples by the award-winning fine art photographer John McDermott, will open this August in Siem Reap’s Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.

The hotel was the first luxury hotel in the town, built in 1932 specifically for early visitors to the temples of Angkor. Oozing personality and heritage, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor can truly be described as an icon itself. So there could be nowhere more appropriate for the new McDermott Gallery to take up residence.

Hailed by The New York Times as “the Ansel Adams of Angkor” (after the American photographer known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park), McDermott first began photographing Angkor in 1995 when he came to Cambodia to witness a total eclipse of the sun. He was deeply affected by the unique visual experience of watching the surreal light of an eclipse wash over the ruins. It led directly to his long-term photography project aimed at preserving a vision of the temples as slumbering ruins being overtaken by jungle and entwined with village life.

In 2004 John opened McDermott Gallery with his wife, Narisara Murray. Two years later they launched their second gallery during the annual Angkor Photography Festival, an event which draws hundreds of photographers from around the world to the burgeoning town situated next to the majestic temples of Angkor.

McDermott’s images, viewed as a body of work in his book Elegy: Reflections on Angkor (published in 2009) is a collection of photographs of the ancient temples, revealed a dark and moody, surrealistic world redolent of the mysterious spirit one feels when visiting the temples. Beyond simply documenting the ruins, McDermott's artistry involves darkroom manipulation and a specialized infrared film to achieve the play of shadow and light in the stylized black and white portraits.

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, in the former Royal Khmer compound, is a stunning heritage property. Original Art Deco features blend seamlessly with modern comfort. Originally opened in 1932, it was reopened in 1997 by Raffles Hotels & Resorts after a significant refurbishment. Last year, the guestrooms and private villas in the hotel’s gardens were sensitively refurbished.

Christian Sack, General Manager of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, said:

“This hotel has been welcoming travellers for 80 years and our story is inextricably linked to the story of Angkor. So I am personally thrilled to that John’s astonishing photographs of the temples will be on display for our guests. I think seeing the photographs here, in this entirely authentic setting, will enrich their experience and their memories of Cambodia. Which is what both of us are all about.”

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Further information: Lucinda Buxton/Victoria Coombes, Mango PR
Telephone +44 (0) 207 421 2500 |
For high resolution images please visit

1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Khum Svay Dang Kum, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
T: + 855 63 963 888 |

About Raffles Grand Hotel D’angkor: The elegant French Colonial period Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is a sophisticated retreat only steps away from Siem Reap’s bustling market and a mere eight kilometers from the Angkor Temple ruins. Distinguished as one of the grand hotels of Asia, it was originally built in 1932 and provided accommodation during the golden age of travel. Now restored, it has 120 guest rooms including four individually designed Personality Suites, six Cabana Suites and two 2-bedroom Private Villas set within the hotel gardens.

About Raffles Hotels & Resorts: Raffles Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, luxury international hotel company with a history dating back to 1887 with the opening of Raffles Hotel, Singapore. The portfolio currently comprises nine luxurious properties, from secluded resorts to chic hotels in key locations around the world: in Singapore, Cambodia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles and Paris, each one is an oasis of calm and charm. The company is embarking on a new phase of expansion, with openings in, Indonesia, Turkey, the Maldives, the Philippines and China scheduled over the next two years. With a compelling mix of cultures and styles, every hotel in the Raffles family has its own individual personality, with its own story to tell and its own sense of place. However, each one is proud to draw on the timeless essence of Raffles – to deliver thoughtful, personal and discreet service to well-travelled guests.

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