Beauty and Change

Indonesia Expat - - News From The Archipelago -

When I was in kin­der­garten, my dad taught me how to use a film cam­era. That was the first time I held a cam­era in my hands, felt the but­tons, heard the sound of the click, and learned the ba­sic func­tions. It was a dis­tinctly fun ex­pe­ri­ence for me, but I was still too young to re­al­ize that pho­tog­ra­phy would even­tu­ally be­come an ob­ses­sion for me grow­ing up.

I started to se­ri­ously chan­nel my pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy in high school; when I fi­nally un­der­stood it to be the per­fect medium for me to cel­e­brate peo­ple, and to ex­press my vul­ner­a­ble side--some­thing I don’t nor­mally share with oth­ers. I used my iPhone back then be­fore buy­ing a dig­i­tal cam­era. Now I have a mir­ror­less cam­era to call my best friend.

Some peo­ple have asked me whether I pre­fer dig­i­tal over tra­di­tional pho­tog­ra­phy. Per­son­ally, I find that dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy is a ma­jor break­through in our time. Ev­ery­thing is sim­ple and in­stant and you don’t need to mind things like film rolls, shut­ter speed or man­ual lenses. In In­done­sia, dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy has also pro­voked the lo­cal in­dus­try to come up with even more pho­to­graphic ser­vices, which is great. But I also don't think you should un­der­es­ti­mate the power of tra­di­tional pho­tog­ra­phy in pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful images. The truth is that when it comes to tra­di­tional or dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy, both mod­els al­low you to ex­pe­ri­ence much of the world.

For me pho­tog­ra­phy is like a liv­ing crea­ture that works to mirac­u­lously trans­late all the un­spo­ken words into one sin­gle im­age. In a world full of con­flicts and ter­ror, pho­tog­ra­phy has re­ally be­come a safe space for me to re­mind my­self and oth­ers that beauty, peace and free­dom still ex­ist. I learned this while work­ing for an NGO owned by former In­done­sian Am­bas­sador to the United States Dino Patti Djalal, where I was in charge of the vis­ual and me­dia depart­ment. Not many peo­ple are blessed with the won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress so­cial is­sues through do­ing what they love the most. And in so many ways, I am con­vinced that pho­tog­ra­phy can re­ally spark pos­i­tive change.

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