Siem Reap has hundreds of temples and attracts thousands of visitors every month. During the high tourist season, starting in October, Loven works as a General Manager at the Riversoul Residence, but he also leads photography tours through the temples. Many of these tours are custom for the client’s wants, so Loven is always scouting out new places to suggest to clients.
He wanted my opinion as a foreigner, so we went to a few of the lesser temples, a bit off the beaten path. It was important that he knew a variety of temples because his photography tours attracted a range of people from professional to amateur to simply the iPhone photographer. He would show people only what they wanted to be shown, so it was critical for him to have a working knowledge of the different types of reliefs and the history behind it.
He had some odd requests — One woman had asked to see a specific type of reliefs to prove that aliens helped build Angkor Wat. Another had wanted to see the reliefs of only the Apsara dancers. In a way, there was a design element to this series too. He had to see the visual for other people and lead them to it for the perfect photograph.
I loved exploring the temples, and Loven’s successful because he has such an attentive and caring approach to everything he does. We ended up plotting out a route he could offer for travelers who wanted to see beautiful temples without so many tourists. We timed our routes to see how long each would take, and so that he could inform groups when he presented them with the itinerary.
All in all — he has one of the coolest jobs on the planet, one that is ever changing and far from boring.