Subject of Iconic Photo Dies in France

The Cambodian woman seen in a Roland Neveu photo taken in 1979 has died.

The image Tuong Oun (Thong Oun) standing beside her two children and emaciated baby was taken by the French photographer at a Thai border refugee camp after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Through Neveu’s photography, the world saw more of the reality of life for Cambodians at the time.

Thong Oun was born on July 1, 1932 in Phnom Penh, and she married to Thong Sam having  four sons and two daughters. She passed away from cancer in France on September 25, 2018, at the age of 86.

During Pol Pot’s genocide, she suffered as a general Khmer citizen. By the end of 1979, she fled with her husband and five other children to flee to the Thai border where one daughter died in a Thai camp. The family later moved to France.

The children in the photo, baby Samnang, now 39,  daughter Sopheap, 42, and son Saroeun, 47,  all live in France.

A 2014 interview with Roland Neveu:

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