Some photos from the media tour and opening night of Dito Yuwono's solo exhibition Finding Stillness at Artsphere Gallery in Kemang Icon, Jakarta. The exhibition is still ongoing until January 15th, 2013. 

121008 - Garuda Magazine

Last June, I was given an assignment to photograph a story on the art scenes in Yogyakarta and Magelang. While the writer and I mostly visited art venues and artist studios in Yogya, for me the highlight was visiting the Oei Hong Djien Museum in Magelang. Now, I have to admit that I was (and I guess still am... kind of) quite ignorant about Indonesian art history. I know the names of some Indonesian master painters, but I had only seen very few of their works and I didn't have the slightest idea why they were important. I thought I just wasn't equipped with the necessary knowledge to be able to appreciate paintings. It was in OHD Museum that I saw those maestro's works up close for the first time, and I realized there was no need to understand them. While I still couldn't elaborate what I felt when I saw these paintings they way I could with photographs, I have to say I was moved by their presence. Yes, presence. With photography, you have both photograph-as-image and photograph-as-object. You can still appreciate a photograph (though not every photograph!) on a monitor without ever seeing its print. But there's no other way you can appreciate a painting but to directly stand in front of it and let yourself be engulfed by its energy. Honestly, I'm not exaggerating. Seeing a great photograph in a well-displayed exhibition can be quite an experience, but this is something completely different. 

One thing I certainly didn't expect though: turns out that there are paintings which, strangely enough, can be easily enjoyed by my street-trained eyes. Check out Perusing a Poster (1956) by S. Sudjojono. Notice the way the characters are neatly distributed throughout the canvas (my favorite is that guy looking back on a bike in the background.) That's easily a street photograph. 

Anyway, some tearsheets:

YogyakARTa, Garuda Magazine, October 2012
Text by Bajo Winarno, photographs by Kurniadi Widodo

Yogya Heat, Garuda Magazine, October 2012
Text by Bajo Winarno, photographs by Kurniadi Widodo
(for some reason, in the magazine the article is in Japanese, but with the same layout)


During my last days in Jakarta, Karina generously lent me her G11 to play around with (thanks again, Kay!). The small camera helped in some part of the commissioned work when I had to shoot inside malls, where shooting with a DSLR would attract too much unwanted attention. It had been a while since I shot with anything other than a DSLR and it took me some time to get used to the control and handle, but after I got the hang of it I gotta say I enjoyed the experience. Ever since I start doing street photography I have no problem raising a camera in front of strangers, but the swivel display of G11 is a pretty fun feature to do some hip-shooting (though, is it still called hip-shooting when you can see what you're aiming your lens at?). 

All of these photos are made with G11, and they conclude my posts from Jakarta. The two weeks I spent there, unexpectedly, was not as bad as I had thought. Sure, with its hellish traffic, it's not exactly the best place to joyride and navigate around. But if you can just say "fuck it", and go do it anyway, you'd be surprised by how many amazing things you can witness while randomly explore the city. Many times I was too dumbfounded by what I saw to take pictures and now I feel like I want to go there just so I could encounter those bizarre moments again. I can't say I've come to like Jakarta (in fact I'm pretty sure I never will!), but now I think I'm starting to understand the peculiar energy it has.