Technical alternatives for manuscript photography

The EFEO-FEMC followed its own rule that no manuscript would be taken from the place where it was kept. Moreover, the keepers of such documents would certainly not have willingly entrusted them to anyone. That, along with the commitment to develop the films in Cambodia, required that specific technical choices be made and that Cambodian staff be thoroughly trained to work in the field, right in the monasteries. This meant we had to equip ourselves with sufficiently light equipment to photograph the texts handwritten on latania ollas without their having to be lent out.

To do this, we decided to simply photograph the manuscripts using a standard camera (Nikon F3), with a special backing for 250 shots and flash. The films selected were Kodak Technical Pan black and white for document photography and Kodalite black and white for duplication.

All films were developed in the EFEO-FEMC lab initially set up in the Royal Palace and moved to Wat Uṇṇalom in 1999.