The year of plenty, the year of change - an end of the year review pt.2: Indonesia

Halfway through the year, due to certain reasons, I decided to go back to my homeland, Indonesia; straight back at the city I spent much of my life in, Makassar. Among the bigger things that happened was me taking a week long travel through the island of Flores, documenting along the way - lessons were learned, pictures were taken. I discovered more about my own city, and beyond, going to areas I didn't know existed until now. At any rate, here is the second part of the review. 1. The Monkey's Mask (Original Post here) _MG_3718 _MG_3727 It was barely after taking a shower when I heard of some commotion outside of my house. Looking out of the window, I noticed the passing street performance known as topeng monyet - monkey's mask. Interested, I grabbed my camera and ran outside to take pictures. Initially I was rather interested in the performance, having not seen it for a long time. A little into the show, however, the discomfort began to seep in. I realize how uncomfortably inhumane the show can be - the way the tamer tugged at the macaque monkey, the pull; all of which did not seem quite right. The pictures became - in my opinion - among the strongest pictures I made.

2. The falls (Original Post here) _MG_4115-2 As interesting as this picture can be compositionally - or anything else, realy - what really placed it in this list, was the story behind the shot. The waterfall in question was one called "takapala falls" located in Malino - a popular destination located in a highlands an hour away from Makassar. To reach the base of the falls, one must walk down a long set of run down steps. Incidentally it was heavily raining just the day prior us reaching the falls, and we did anticipate the intensity of the falls - just not to that degree. The waterfall was heavy, intense, and powerful. Standing many feet away from the base, we were stormed with hurricanes of trickles coming from the waterfall, and the base itself was misty. Taking a picture at the base, therefore, was difficult - standing but a couple of seconds at the position I was in would cover the front element of the lens with droplets; it was the most difficult time I've had of making a photo. Thankfully, I manage to salvage one pict, which was the one above - and it wasn't exactly bad, either.

3. Faces of Flores (Original Post here) _MG_5497 _MG_5498 Truly these aren't the only people pictures that I loved from Flores, but at least it captured what I loved about the island. Growing up in a Chinese (though mixed) family in Indonesia, one can feel a certain amount of segregation. I was lucky enough to be born into a family of many races and religion - one of my ancestor being the descendant to the King of Bone, while the other came from mainland china, to mention but a few - to experience a melting pot of cultures and religion. I have, however, been called racial slurs before, but that was a while ago. Travelling in Flores gave me an experience unlike many others in that the people there cared not for race nor religion. In fact, according to my guide, they take pride in their religious and racial diversity, boasting the tightness of the community regardless of race, religion, and ethnicity. While walking through a market street in Larantuka, I came across two kids playing around. I would have loved to take the picture of the two of them playing, but the girl was really shy - I was only able to take her picture after taking the boy's. I understand that the topic of race, culture, and God forbid, religion is a touchy one, but I had experienced how great it is when cultures and religion coexist - both in my family and and other places, Flores included - and I would like to share it more in this blog; that is likely why these picture made the list.

4. Kelimutu (Original Post here) _MG_5781-4 Truly, like many other pictures in this post, the picture isn't perfect. Also like many other picture in this post, however, the story behind the picture is a thing of wonders. Waking up at 3AM, we set out towards Kelimutu to catch the sunrise. The road towards the top was dark, steep, and rocky - not to mention supposedly sacred at some turns. Walking towards the top comes next; the path lit by our cellphone lights. a little before the top, however, seeing towards the horizon, I noticed a field of clouds, upon which at the furthest point, a gradient of colors - truly, in any words, otherworldy - started to emerge. At the top, I set my camera, and started taking pictures as the sunlight slowly emerged from the bed of clouds. It truly was, a once in a lifetime experience. (be sure to take a while to read the original post!)

5. The Last Cottonthreader (Original Post here) _MG_8348 To be perfectly honest, I did not come upon this picture until long after Toraja, and yet I like it more than the actual picture used in the post. I met Grandma Ippang during my visit to the cotton weaving village of Saddang. While showing me the dying art of cotton threading, Grandma Ippang informed me that she and her daughter were the last cotton threaders of Saddang. I spent a while chatting with Grandma Ippang about the weavings and whatnot. The chat also gave me plenty of time to make many photographs - it was a truly enjoyable experience. Thank you Grandma Ippang.

6. Fisherman of Infinity (Original Post here) _MG_8908 Sometime within the last couple of years I became entranced with the idea of infinity; that is, fantastical infinity. Landscapes, seascapes, or cityscapes that extend through infinity, the idea of endless horizons, all of them entranced me. While looking for scenic areas to take photos, we came across some men fishing on top of giant boulders. The clouds were heavy, but clearing after a heavy rain. I asked them if I could take pictures, and they very nicely obliged. After the first couple of shots, I noticed the interestingt cloud formations had formed the idea of fishermen of infinity in my head, so I kept on taking pictures. In the end, I still couldn't capture the full potential that was in my head, but at least I got closer.

7. Eric (Original Post here) EPIN Another fun story. A little after the photoshoot, we were kicked out (escorted, really, the security was really nice) out of the area for not having proper permit - A thousand apologies, Mr. Security. Thankfully we got the pictures we wanted. This was a very fun photoshoot to realize. Take a gritty guitarist (Eric), a gritty location (undisclosed location), and somehow pour in as much soul into the composition as possible. The result was really quite good - and it was fun.

8. Sails at Paottere (Original Post here) _MG_9864 If there's any reason for this picture to belong in the list, it's because I love the compo, color and feel of the picture. There really wasn't much story behind this picture - I just love it. The sky was perfect that day, cloudy and dramatic; and Paottere is always a fun place to shoot. Also, this picture is now my computer background, so there's that.

So there you go - seventeen entries to the 2013 review. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings (and hopefully had checked the original posts). As always, feel free to drop an email (in the contact page), or comment, or simply go to my facebook to drop some messages; I am always happy to converse!