The Bayon temple sits in the centre of Angkor Thom, the Great City. From a distance, the Bayon resembles a chaotic jumble of stone, lacking the classical shape and detail of other temples. However, up close, it takes on another form altogether and is a maze of galleries, towers and passageways on three levels, with huge smiling faces, identical to those at the South Gate, appearing from every angle. It is quite simply a fascinating, awe-inspiring and incredible example of Khmer architecture.
The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The inner gallery is nearly filled by the upper terrace, raised one level higher again. On this level, the visitor is surrounded by face towers, each with two, three or (most commonly) four of the famous smiling faces. Despite efforts to find significance in the number of towers and faces, the numbers varied from time to time as more towers were added: at one point there were up to 49 towers, although only 37 now remain. There are around 200 faces, each face has an individual serene expression with closed eyelids and thick, slightly curled lips. But as some are only partially preserved there can be no definitive count.
Are these the faces of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion or are they of King Jayavarman VII, who built this temple? The two hypotheses need not be regarded as mutually exclusive, but here lies the enigma.
Against the blue sky or the green foliage which surrounds the temple, some of these faces look majestic indeed.
Critiques | Translate
tola_ch2004 (549) 2008-01-10 9:13
Ho nice POV, you shoot it from a perfect angle.
gurselerdener (972) 2008-01-10 11:55
Very beautiful composition, colours and perfect shot.
Best wishes and Happy New Year from Ankara.
hello_ishan (1571) 2008-01-10 20:37
Excellent shot dada. Perfect angle of presentation. The clarity/colour/contrast also perfect.
siolaw (38292) 2008-01-10 21:04
That is an unusual POV from the side on the Bayon's statues, quite well visible too! Nice DOF to isolate the subject and good colors... the pole or tree trunk in the BG is a bit distracting, but apart from cloning it out, you can't do anything about it!
Greetings from Goa,
kiwi_explorer (12209) 2008-01-10 22:51
Very good DOF here to isolate your subject and make it standout. Very intersting notes to describe the scene. Well composed and I like the way you captured details of the carving. Well done! tfs
vincz (19113) 2008-01-11 0:30
Very good idea to get back to your Angkor pictures! I like very much the strong contrast between the green of the vegetation and the black statues with lichens. I like the sun getting on some parts of the statue. DOF is very well chosen.
josepmarin (58359) 2008-01-11 0:34
A great work with the depth of field in this composition, the use of f/4 manages to get out of focus completely the green BG and does that is outlined clearly the sculpture of so dark stone.
The result is great, I like it.
papagolf21 (109234) 2008-01-11 1:36
Bonjour, mon bon ami Angshu,
Je suis fasciné par votre collection photographique. Chaque jour apporte son lot de découverte. Des photographies réussies et qui apprenent beaucoup grâce aux notes richement documentées.
Encore, un vrai régal. Mille mercis, Angshu.
pastadog (13111) 2008-01-11 1:41
Good idea this shot from the side, Angshu, and the focus choice. Maybe there are some crop possibilities to get rid of that white long object... Cheers :) Daniel
ChrisJ (117783) 2008-01-11 2:17
Good profile shot of the enigmatic faces of Angkor Wat. I would darken the white highlights, which tend to draw attention away from the subject. Good dof & sharpness, & tfs!
danos (103098) 2008-01-11 2:28
very nice the close up view of these remarkable massive stone faces,that contrasted perfect with the blurred green background.This one is captured perfect with its smiling to steal the show.Very educational your note too.
Have a nice weekend,Danos
feather (51130) 2008-01-11 2:53
I think the Bayon is a close competitor of Angkor Wat for beauty in the Angkor region, mainly thanks to these enigmatic faces and the carvings of daily life that I was able to understand better than those in Angkor Wat of the Hindu stories. I'm sure someone knowing Hindu traditions and legends would have a different view. This is an interesting and unusual composition and use of DOF to isolate the profile of one of the faces. good work
Graal (103038) 2008-01-11 4:06
unusual face in profile, amazing composition. Good DOF and colours. Well done.
jafadabret (56501) 2008-01-11 5:11
Cette opposition entre le vert des frondaisons et le noir de la pierre est quelque chose de très prenant et de très beau. La nature s'est appropriée les réalisations des hommes comme pour les magnifier.
cunejo200 (7281) 2008-01-11 6:18
Very attractive side view of the famous smiling face. Well written note. Thanks for posting this as it reminds me of my trip a year ago. Regards, Danilo
riclopes (35577) 2008-01-11 8:38
Olá Angshu, I'm imagining the alternative against the blue sky... ;-) This is original and inspiring. The stripe of sunlight is a marvellous detail and I bet that the face is smilling because of that :) or maybe because "he" noticed you. Anyway, love the contrasts and textures and the shallow dof worked perfectly. Against the sky, would give a better contrast with the sillouette, but I like the abstract result here, which combines with the "enigma". The white line in the background...not sure about it.
have a nice weekend,
emjleclercq (15780) 2008-01-11 13:31
Original portrait of this stone face, my main reproach being that you have to open the picture to see the face, since the stone has been really darkened by the time. But the white patches gives a very interesting texture to the stone.
All the best,
axiotea (21651) 2008-01-11 19:57
The title fits well the image with a mysterious and mystical mood. The blurred greenery makes for a good BG on which the statue stands out nicely.
Have a nice day
crckt (7222) 2008-01-11 20:46
I like the shallow DOF here, the extremely sharp FG is also very nice, the angle in which the face has been captured is good too. However, I find the white pole (?) to be a little distracting. I posted a WS to correct that. I hope you don't mind, let me know what you think.
jhm (159949) 2008-01-12 1:10
We can see a nice dark profile of the nose and the mouth to the right.
I'm glad that you write a good note, this is an difficult picture for look it.
But I can enjoy of this.
Thanks for sharing.
Have a nice weekend,
trekks (14348) 2008-01-12 1:25
hmmm, the black wall texture showing history and age, yet the outlined side feature of forehead, nose and lips is really very striking here, especially the way you portrayed it against the green BG.
Well done. TFS
Stepan (27210) 2008-01-13 0:31
A good idea, well realized, even if I had prefer a stronger contrast to appreciate always more the face's shape. Whatever, it's ok.
sayat (2949) 2008-01-14 0:45
Excellent shot with an amazing DOF and POV!
sagar (2410) 2008-01-14 7:18
I missed a few shots of your gallery owing to my recent irregularity to the site.
If I'm not wrong this is a close one to the very first post of yours. Very good POV, and the face realy looks very enigmatic. It has a kind of robustness in it.
bakes888 (18499) 2008-01-17 21:08
Hi Angshuman. Excellent photo. The detail is well captured and stands out well from the background. I love the rich colours of the BG and this gives the shot a sense of place. Nice work and thanks for sharing.
atus (15856) 2008-01-19 8:24
From the thumbnail, for those who didn't know this fantastic place is difficult to understand the subject of this very nice pic, but when looking at the normal sized, everyone can admire it. The framing, the light management, the sharpness are all excellent and the dof is also spectacular and well contrasting with the sculpture. Well done, my friend!
Tfs and have a nice weekend.
Felip (3907) 2008-03-28 9:54
Perfect definition, and wonderful contrast of colors ;)
- Copyright: Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) (56760)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-01-03
- Categories: Nature, Architecture
- Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5, Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT 36 - 432mm
- Exposure: f/4, 1/100 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Travelogue: Heritage Sites of South East Asia
- Date Submitted: 2008-01-10 7:28