Bijou-01

Bijou-01

Bijou’s story goes back to 1957, when I was photographing the Angkor temples. I wanted to interview the famous Cambodian pirate Dap Chuon, who was resting in a village in the north, near the Thai border. When he was in a good mood he didn’t mind a bit of publicity. It was a day’s ride through the jungle to his village. But when I arrived I was disappointed to find Dap Chuon was away hunting. I was about to leave when I spotted four tiny tiger cubs scrapping in a cardboard carton by a hut. The pirate had killed their mother on a hunt the day before. The village chief told me, “We are going to drown them tonight. You can take them if you like – that will get rid of them for us.” I was caught on the hop, so I took just one, the feistiest and so strongest of the litter. I took it back to the Grand Hotel in Siem Reap in a bag. The horse was skittish and it was a jumpy ride.