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A Brief Recapitulation.

Added on by Ridzki.

With regards of the column series that I have written over the course of six months for Whiteboard Journal, I wanted to give a brief recapitulation pertaining what I have written and why I have written it. I was approached by Dinda Ibrahim of Whiteboard Journal one day and she asked me to write a series of columns on Photography, me and her was already part of a writing class tutored by Ayu Utami, each session of the class always feature a lengthy discussion on photography, arts, culture and living with none other Erik Prasetya and Dinda thought that the whole discussion could be summarized into the column series.

Thus the whole structures of column were devised, instead of tackling a new concepts or rather a pretty complicated ones I decided to give my perspective (a modern one, if I may say) on the photography world in general and in Indonesia at some point. My argument is that the photography world has been consisted of these following elements: the camera, the photographer, the photograph, the editor, the gallery and the photobook,  and will continue to do so.

The biggest criticism of the columns is that the writings were not comprehensive and didn't touch the deeper layer that some people (photographers) wanted to see but it was deliberate,  mainly because of the 700 words limitation and I don't feel that the audience and the critics didn't have a similar understanding.

That aside I am happy that the writings have created a brief debate and people do actually take the time and read it, I hope it could get compiled some day along with other WBJ columns.

For the column you can visit them here: 

The Camera

The Photographers

The Photograph

The Editor

The Gallery

The Photobook

Morality: Between Pancasila, Religious Doctrines and Other Values

Added on by Ridzki.
It all began here and then I posted that article on my twitter and my editor began to ask me:

@trugiaz so what's your perspective on the matter? re: moral article.

And I said I couldn't write it in 140 words, nor do I wanted to make a series of lectures, so I suppose Notion is the place to go.

To start, I have no exact idea where the Indonesian's obsession of morality come from; it could come from the last 32 years during the Soeharto era, it could come from the East tradition (respect your elders, your country etc), it could come from religions or it could be learn from the society or cultures. Anyway, as the article mentioned there are increasing number of obsession on morality and unfortunately this uphold of the morality is still pretty much a double standard issue.

Why double standard? because the people who impose such laws, governance or rules are immune of this moral code they passed. They expect people to follow them but they didn't want to follow it by themselves. Take a look at the porn loving legislature, Arifinto. He keep porn in his tablet (that's right sir, I don't buy your so-called email link excuses), get caught watching it in a plenary session, forced to step down from his position and till this date he's still in the parliament (waiting for recess period he said) and no police officer to take him to jail, but a man who make porn for himself (not distributing it) is caught and get 3.5 years in jail time. For more information this Arifinto is a member of the PKS (Justice and Prosperous Party) which pushed the Pornographic Bill (and according to this it's illegal to posses, download and distribute pornographic material but not) to be legalized, then when this kind of incident happen they said that the action that he did (stepping down) is already more than enough.

and let's leave that double standard issue with the infamous saying:

What. The. F**k?

Let's head back and see the questions that my editor is asking:

Is there a standard for morality?

In my opinion yes, there's a standard. I believe that there are raw, unrefined values of morality that all the people in the world could agree regardless of their views or beliefs. As I understand it nowadays we have so many  moral values surrounding us, these come in the form of religious dogma or  logical consequences of our action however the principles behind it are the same. In Indonesia, this standards of morality or the raw, unrefined values of morality came in the form of Pancasila (the five principles) or to be precise it's the 5 principles and its 45 points and I'd say that the best ever values known to mankind. Why? because since its birth it balances between the liberal view and the socialism, it also acknowledged religious values yet at the same time not taking side of one religious dogma.

Can moral virtues be taught in classes?

Again I would say yes, moral virtues can be taught in classes, however it would need more than just classroom to taught about morals. The homes, the parents are the first and foremost place and people responsible for teaching this moral virtues. A classroom, would act as a place for the children to practice their moral understanding by interacting with society (IMHO classroom/school is just a smaller model of society) and at the same time teaching them about the more complex understanding of morality. Returning from my point above I believe the values of Pancasila need to be taken in seriousness by the ministry of education, not only as a main subject to be taught but also a guideline on how to shape the future Indonesians.

In my final words, I would say that we now live in a strange time and age, where Pancasila has been degraded and understood only as a statue of Garuda with a shield on its chest and its values are no longer considered as part of our identity but at the same time there's an increase of nationalism. I believe simply because that Pancasila as a moral guidelines doesn't offer anything like any religious doctrines, it doesn't offer 72 virgins like when you defend your religion nor it would punish you into the depths of hell if you don't follow it. Nationalism on the other hand although it is also a part of one's identity would not have anything to do with moral values.

It must be understood by anyone, not just the government that if we want to live in a country like Indonesia, we can't depend on morality which is based on one religious doctrines or even only the view of the majority. If we want to live in  Indonesia we need to follow that value of morality which respect and acknowledge the differences. Therefore my suggestions regarding this moral issues are simple; reinstate our belief in Pancasila, our standards of morality and apply its values in our everyday life.

Carpe Diem: A Photography Exhibition by GFJA Workshop Class of XVI

Added on by Ridzki.

The poet Horace had once said “Seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the future”, a definition comparable to the “decisive moment”, a simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second the significance of an event. In photography, it meant to worry less about all other things and concentrate on what’s in front of you and in the right moment, immortalize it.

Such are the works of Antara PhotoJournalistic Gallery Workshop Class of XVI, they seize day after another, chasing for that perfect moment and finally be able to exhibit their work in the Gallery at Pasar Baru from March 11 to April 9th 2011.

Unlike other workshops which are conducted over a short period of time, this workshop actually  is conducted for almost a year, bringing not only knowledge but also many great experiences for the students. Susi Muhammad, one of the Basic Program student who had initially accompanied her child for the selection process, only to find that she’s the one that gets into the program had said that the program was a great learning experience for her, to know more about the process of photography and apply it in her interest such as cultures and craft. Mira, a student on the journalistic program who made a photo essay about lesbian lovers affectionately titled “Story of Pineapple & Strawberry”, said that now she has completed her education in Antara, she views camera as not a mere instrument to document something, but a medium to produce expressions or opinions. She also said that being in a journalistic class also forced her to be more creative with written words, to create a story to accompany the pictures.

Unlike other workshops which are conducted over a short period of time, this workshop actually  is conducted for almost a year, bringing not only knowledge but also many great experiences for the students. Susi Muhammad, one of the Basic Program student who had initially accompanied her child for the selection process, only to find that she’s the one that gets into the program had said that the program was a great learning experience for her, to know more about the process of photography and apply it in her interest such as cultures and craft. Mira, a student on the journalistic program who made a photo essay about lesbian lovers affectionately titled “Story of Pineapple & Strawberry”, said that now she has completed her education in Antara, she views camera as not a mere instrument to document something, but a medium to produce expressions or opinions. She also said that being in a journalistic class also forced her to be more creative with written words, to create a story to accompany the pictures.

Oscar Motuloh, the curator of Antara Gallery, state that Carpe Diem and the class of XVI is special; due to the fact that there are many events happening in Indonesia in 2010, which directly or indirectly help to shape the student’s instinct and more importantly perspectives. Oscar also said that every class of Antara Workshop have their own style, due to the outside influence although the syllabus (and mentors) remain the same.

After finishing my interview with Oscar, I looked at the profiles of the class of XVI and attendees of the gallery whom are armed with every kind of camera; DLSRs, Analogs, Lomos, Cellphone Cameras and Pockets, although they held a different kind of cameras, they all had the same passion. Photography. One of them could be the next Cartier-Bresson, the next Capa, the next Julian Sihombing or probably the next Oscar Motuloh.

Then it comes to my mind, the words that was being held by the Class of XVI: “Lalu bagaimana besok? Tak perlu risau, karena mereka adalah mentari hari esok fotografi kita” (So how’s tomorrow? No need to worry, because they are our future photography suns) and I go back with a smile because I know that there’re still great photographs and great photographers in the making.