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A History of Photography in Indonesia

From the Colonial Era to the Digital Age

496 pages
Amsterdam University Press
As a former colonized nation, Indonesia has a unique place in the history of photography. A History of Photography in Indonesia: From the Colonial Era to the Digital Age looks at the development of photography from the beginning and traces its uses in Indonesia from its invention to the present day. The Dutch colonial government first brought the medium to the East Indies in the 1840s and immediately recognized its potential in serving the colonial apparatus. As the country grew and changed, so too did the medium. Photography was not only an essential tool of colonialism, but it also became part of the movement for independence, a voice for reformasi, an agent for advocating democracy, and is now available to anyone with a phone. This book gathers essays by leading artists, scholars, and curators from around the world who have worked with photography in Indonesia and have traced the evolution of the medium from its inception to the present day, addressing the impact of photography on colonialism, independence, and democratization.
Author Bio
Brian C. Arnold received an undergraduate degree in English and Ethnomusicology from the Colorado College in 1993, and an MFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1998. He has taught and lectured on photography at a number of institutions around the world, including the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, the Beijing Film Academy, the University of Indonesia, Pasundan University, the Institute of Technology in Bandung, Santa Reparata International School of Art, the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, and the National Gallery of Australia. Brian has exhibited his work internationally, and his photographs are included as part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Denver Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Australia, the Eastman Museum of Photography, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Light Work. He is author of the books Alternative Photographic Processes: Technique, History, and Creative Practice (2017) and Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography (2017). Brian has also self-published a number of small edition artist books and zines. He is currently doing Indonesian language work for the Cornell University library. Jeremy Allan was born in Canada but has been living in Indonesia for over 40 years. He has written for a number of different books, magazines, videos, and promotional programs, and sought to portray Indonesia in a fair and positive manner and to promote the interests of Indonesian businesses, cultural and social organizations, and the nation itself. In 2001, he published his first novel, Jakarta Jive, a book about the fall of Suharto and how this affected daily life in Jakarta. In 2004, he published Bali Blues, a book about the 2002 terrorist bombing in Kuta Beach, Bali. Wimo Ambala Bayang was born in Magelang in 1976. He studied interior design at Modern School of Design and photography at the Department of Photography at the Indonesian Art Institute, Yogyakarta. He works primarily with photography and video. Wimo was one of the founding members of MES 56, and currently works as its director in Yogyakarta. Wimo’s work has been exhibited internationally. Matthew Cox is Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. His curatorial practice is broadly engaged with history and contemporary art, and he works actively with artists, curators, and academics in Australia and Asia to explore relationships between art history and living communities. Cox completed a BA in Asian Studies with a major in Indonesian Studies at the University of New South Wales, an MA in Art History at the University of Sydney, where he also completed his doctoral thesis The Ja_x0002_vanese Self in Portraiture from 1880 to 1955. Tino Djumini was born in Indonesia but raised in the Netherlands. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Arnhem, majoring in audio/visual media and photography. After completing his degree, Tino returned to Indonesia and started Spotlight New Media, a design and production studio in Jakarta. He has exhibited his work internationally, and completed two books on photography, Relatives/Kerabat: Portraits of contemporary Indonesian families/Potret keluarga Indonesia masa kini and Indonesian Dreams: Reflections on Society, Revelations of the Self. Tino currently lives and works in Jakarta. Alexandra Kumala is an actor, writer, and performer based in Brooklyn, NY. With formal training in ballet, she spent her early childhood in Indonesia performing on stages and in ballrooms across Jakarta. She immigrated to the United States, where she pursued a degree in performance at the University of Washington in Seattle. Alexandra has performed in the Obie Award winning revival of The Skin of Our Teeth. As a writer, she has contributed to the American Writers Workshop, PlayGround Experiment, and the Broadway Coalition, working to advocate for a plurality of narratives about immigrant experience. Adelina Luft was born in Romania in 1989. She is an independent curator based in Yogyakarta. After finishing a bachelor degree in Public Relations (2012) at SNSPA Bucharest, she left for Indonesia where she finished a MA in Visual Art Studies (2017) at Gadjah Mada University. She has curated a number of different exhibitions, including Diverting Politics of (Re)Presentation at the Gajah Gallery in Bantul (2019), Made Of: Stories of the Material at Lorong Gallery (2018), Terra Incognita at Acrolabs (2017), and Neglected Ordinaries at the Redbase Foundation. Adelina contributed to Stories of a Space. Living Expectations: Understanding Indonesian Contemporary Photography Through Ruang MES 56 Practices, a survey of work about the artist collective MES 56. Brent Luvaas is a visual and sociocultural anthropologist interested in digital technolo_x0002_gies and their impact on creative practice and everyday urban experience. He is the author of Street Style: An Ethnography of Fashion Blog_x0002_ging (Bloomsbury, 2016) and DIY Style: Fashion, Music, and Global Digital Culture (Berg, 2012), and co-editor of The Anthropology of Dress and Fashion: A Reader. He has received several prominent fellowships, including the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant, the University of California Pacific Rim Research Program Grant, and the American Institute for Indonesian Studies Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship, and has published in journals including Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography, Fashion Theory, and Visual Anthropology Review. Brent received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Drexel University. Oscar Motuloh started his career in journalism as a staff writer for the Antara News Agency. After being appointed as a Photo Editor, he started an ambitious career as a photographer, journalist, editor, curator, and educator. He was the founder of the Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara (GFJA—the Antara Gallery of Photojournalism) and Antara Museum, both located in the historic Antara building in Pasar Baru, Jakarta. Oscar has edited and organized a number of important exhibitions and publications, including Indonesia in the Soeharto Years: Issues, Incidents, and Images, a photographic history of life under the Soeharto (Suharto) regime, and IPPHOS Remastered, a historical study of the highlyre garded and influential Indonesian Press Photographic Service. He has also published several monographs of his photographs, including Voice of Angkor (1995), The Art of Dying (1997), and Soulscape Road (2007), a docu_x0002_mentation of the Sumatran province of Aceh after the 2004 tsunami. Krisna Murti was born in 1957 and currently lives and works in Jakarta. He is considered a pioneering new media artist in Indonesia and has exhibited his work internationally. Krisna’s work is included in the permanent collections at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, the National Gallery of Art in Indonesia, Kuc Fehbi Foundation in Turkey, and the National Gallery of Singapore. Krisna is also author of the book Esai Tentang Seni Video dan Media Baru/Essays on Video Art and New Media: Indonesia and beyond. Gael Newton is an internationally recognized Australian art historian and curator specializing in photography across the Asia-Pacific region. She is the retired Senior Curator of Australian and International Photography at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra. While at the NGA, Gael organized two major exhibitions on Asia-Pacific photography, “Pic_x0002_ture Paradise: Asia-Pacific photography 1840s–1940s” (2008) and “Garden of East: photography in Indonesia 1850s–1940s” (2014), both accompanied by important publications. During her time at NGA, Gael oversaw the development of one of the most important collections of photographs from the Dutch East Indies, as well as a major collection of Asia-Pacific photography. Aminudin T.H. Siregar was born in Jakarta in 1973. He completed an undergraduate degree in printmaking at the Institute of Technology in Bandung, and continued on to complete a master’s degree in Art Studies and Art History. Aminudin is a prolific and important writer on contemporary and modern Indonesian art. His articles have been included in numerous newspapers, magazines, and exhibition catalogs. Additionally, he has written or contributed to many books on Indonesian art, most recently completing a book on the famous Javanese painter S. Sudjojono. Aminudin works on the faculty at the Institute of Technology in Bandung, and runs the Soemardja Gallery on the ITB campus. He is founder of Gallery S.14 in Bandung, and works as a freelance curator for galleries across Indonesia and Singapore. He is Adjunct Curator for the National Gallery of Singapore. Aminudin has lectured about art and curatorial practice across Asia, and in 2015 was awarded a research grant by the Getty Foundation. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Leiden. Soeprapto Soedjono is a Senior Professor of the History of Photography and Art History, and was the fourth Rector of the Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta (2006–2010). He completed his undergraduate study at the Fine Art Academy (STSRI) Yogyakarta, and continued to complete an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a PhD in the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University. Soeprapto currently teaches in the photography programs at ISI Yogyakarta and Trisakti University in Jakarta. He has published several books on photographic technique, and recently re_x0002_leased a book of his own photographs, Streetscenes. Karen Strassler is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York, Queens College, and holds a PhD from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include images and visual culture, media and mediation, memory and violence, specifically in Indonesia. In 2011, Karen re_x0002_leased her first book, Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java which examines the role of popular pho_x0002_tography in the making of national subjects and postcolonial Java. Her second book, De_x0002_manding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia (2020), looks at images in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian public sphere.