Wendy Erickson: You are an advertising photographer based in LA. How is it you ended up in a fishing village in Cambodia making photographs by solar powered LED light?
Mathieu Young: Self-assigned photojournalistic projects have always been an important part of what I do. I haven’t found total artistic fulfillment doing only my commercial work, and I haven’t found a sustainable financial model in doing only reportage projects, so I have always done both. To that end, I booked a months trip to Cambodia with the intention of meeting, learning about and promoting innovative social enterprises. I met dozens through photographing the TEDx conference when I arrived there, and photographed for several.
The opportunity to travel to the fishing villages to photograph the Moonlight came up even more serendipitously. I was eating dinner with the family that owned the guest house I was staying at in Phnom Penh, and another guest came and joined us. He turned out to be the new marketing director for KamWorks, the social enterprise behind the product, and a couple days later I was in a Tuk Tuk on my way several hours outside Phnom Penh.
One of the main things that drew me to this particular assignment was the idea that the story was the light, which really is a dream opportunity for a photographer.