A Passion for Rugby

Maurice Cuquel is a passionate and exciting photographer & rugby enthusiast and almost a year after having visited us with a stay in Phnom Penh during which time he attended several Kampuchea Balopp training sessions and a rugby tournament, Maurice has finalized the selection of his thirty best photos all in black and white, not edited or re-touched, and embarked on a exhibition tour in which he displays the photos in several locations in France’s “rugby heartland”.

The next exhibition, entitled “Rugby fever in Cambodia”, focuses on the work of Kampuchea Balopp and will be on display at Lectoure in the Marechal Lanne High School from March 9 to 27th (as part of the Week of the press at the National School Operation) and at Valence d’Agen at the Espace Republique in May 2015. More dates are being scheduled but will be confirmed later in the year. In addition, his work will run at least two other festivals.

We spoke to Maurice about his exhibitions and love of rugby.

KB: When did you start with sports photography?

Maurice: I practiced photography in my high school years, and since 1981 have been actve as a local photojournalist. I was a freelance photographer at the newspaper La Depeche du Midi for fifteen years. In addition to covering local life, I have photographed sport on behalf of this daily newspaper and of several other sports: football, cycling and of course rugby, is my favorite sport.

KB: When did you start travel overseas for your photography?

Maurice: My first travel-related story took place in 1995 in Senegal but in August 1996, Albania I actually embarked on my first international photojournalism piece. My “Albania 96” forms the crux of what I continue to do: go with a story idea in mind and with two cameras (one large and one small angle telephoto). I work in black and white and I get an exhibition of about thirty images. The topics are varied but always linked to the human story: child boxers in Cuba, Haiti’s elections, monks and gold miners in Myanmar, the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria … High schools, colleges, houses, libraries, cultural centers and other festivals are all themes of my exhibitions. I have held exhibitions since November 1996 at a rate of 10 to 15 exhibitions a year.

KB: Why Cambodia and why rugby?

Maurice: I had worked on the landless Lor Peang (in Kampong Chhnang) and the S 21 genocide museum in 2012. When I got the news that and Sports association and French registered NGO (Kampuchea Balopp) was developing rugby in Cambodia, I immediately thought it would be a good idea of reporting on a subject that I knew in its Western form.

KB: What impressed you during your last trip to Cambodia?

Maurice: The speed at which the country moves (I was there in 2007 for the first time), the children’s enthusiasm for rugby, their athleticism and at the same time, the work of Kampuchea Balopp on the field is outstanding! Jean Baptiste Suberbie (KB Program Development Manager) demonstrated great patience, and sacrifice. He did great and beautiful things for the sport and its values.

More information about Maurice Cuquel is available on his official website

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