documentary photography

This year, something entirely different; a brother's marriage

_DSF5425Only last march I went back to Indonesia to attend my sister's marriage, and yet here I am again, attending a brother's; this one, however is a brother from another mother (and father too). Liman, as we like to call him among many other, less appropriate names to call him from, had been our sworn brother - a practice common in asian countries, mind you - for at least 8 years. A brotherhood (to be more precise, a siblinghood) of 8 people, we knew each other from series of both fortunate and unfortunate events, and had a series of traditions we uphold. Long story short, we know each other very well, and treasure ourselves quite a lot. Yesterday, the 2-day long wedding ceremony took place; today, he is officially a married man. Three Cheers for a brother in love, and an extra one for going where no one of us had gone before.

I had the fortune of documenting some behind the scenes, and here they are. This is for my brother, Leeman (another name we call him amongst the more appropriate ones), and to my other brothers and sisters.

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And here's a portrait for you, dear brother,

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Natural Surveillance

title gradient-4A month later, a website was born. Over the last month I have been working on a project in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS) about natural surveillance. In keeping with the surveillance heavy nature of the recent conversations, I decided to take a more relaxed perspective on the subject matter. I also decided to explore using websites in order to present a photographic/multimedia work in order to make the experience (a little) more interactive. Check out the website by clicking in the image above!

Cheers, Adi

Film? Film.

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For my upcoming project, I have decided to switch into using film. I love digital photography, and I am still using it, but at the same time I'm trying to push my boundaries with film; seeing as I have never actually use it for a project before. I choose to use a medium format camera, and a Kodak Portra 400 for the film, because once you go for film, might as well go big (not 5x4, however, that's a little bit too much). I did a quick test with the camera to make sure it was working and thankfully it still is. Edinburgh, here I come.

They Who Dance

Last month, I was able to visit the city of Ubud, Bali, in search for stories to cover. What I found was an interesting dichotomy between art preservation and means of living. I wished I had more time to work on the story, instead I had to return before long. I visited one of the performance space, Ubud Palace, to see if I could get access to the behind the scene of one of Bali's most famous dances; tari Barong. The show was on almost every day in the Ubud Palace; that night was Sadha Budaya Dance studio's turn, who kindly allowed me access to behind the backstage. _MG_8180

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Buskers

cover3 After a long, arduous steps, I have finally published my most recent project that took a bit of time to make - Buskers. Buskers tells the story of the art of street musical performance, and the people behind it (click on the image or here to go to the project). It is an ongoing project, but I had to share the first part because it felt so close to my heart, and perhaps because it's a personal message to a friend.

It is not everyday that we meet people who inspires us, and I blame fate to have allowed me to have met such an inspiring figure, B - the man behind the first part of the busker project. I truly hoped that my work - to a certain point - captured the essence of the man, for my words could never have. I have never met a man more open to strangers, both through music and rconversations, as B. Warm as a kindling fire to anyone who approaches him, I had wondered how B's past had affected him. I, of course, am in no place to understand the links between his story and his present, and can only gaze in wonders.

In the end, this post is a message to B - it has been a great pleasure in meeting you. It has been a great learning process, and I did learn a lot from you. I truly hope that whatever you are doing will be fruitful, and that you never stop being a source of warmth in the cold of winter, nor the comfort of rain in the draught of summer.

Cheers, Adi

And so it was

Following a couple of hours of plane ride was three days of marriage ceremonies - my sister's of course; not mine. Having been married already in the states, my parents longed to see her married in our hometown Makassar, in front of our grandmothers, and inside the church we had been going to for long. That time arrived yesterday. The procession was complex as it was long, with one formalities followed by another, long hours in the humid air of the typical townhouse, and sometimes inexplicable activities, and yet the couple marched through. With all the camera around, almost dictating every single move, it was hard to get a glimpse of truth in the whole situation, but perhaps, just perhaps, I managed to obtain some - a small window in which nothing matters but love. _MG_7763

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At the end, perhaps there's more to marriage than the photos, and that photographers should strive to capture real moments instead of creating them. Also perhaps, is that I know nothing about weddings, and am just being a bitter old man. All those bitterness dissolved down the sink when I then realize that regardless of what the people put them through, it was their moment, as a couple, in a home where she lived in. Moments of truth will arise when it felt the need to, wherever they are, whenever it is. Love needed made, and so it was.

Another three cheers for a sweet marriage. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah.

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Iphone photojournalism? why not!

I have never been a big opponent of Iphone (or ANY SMARTPHONE) photography - I love using it when I don't have my camera with me, and I had always thought that it takes good picture; for instagram at least. Whenever I could, however, I would prefer my DSLR - faster focusing, better dynamic range, and... now that you mention it, I don't know what else. Indeed, one day, a mob of workers in protests appeared in front of my eye when I didn't have my camera with me. I took out my Iphone, and started shooting. IMG_2210

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Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) the Iphone (or again, ANY SMARTPHONES) allowed me to get really close. The tiny, non threatening size allowed people to be more comfortable with me putting a piece of thin box before their faces. I might look funny running around pointing my cellphone at people's faces, but at least I got great photos from such tiny contender (it's smaller then a Leica!)

So, Iphone photojournalism? Why not indeed.

Craftmen of London Pt.2 - The bicycle

bike and fish-36The morning sun crept slowly, coloring the cold blue morning a trace of yellow. I made my way towards the spot indicated by my Google maps, a red pointy dot pointing towards a Goulton road in the Hackney borough of London. Looking around for signs, I noticed the residential area surrounding me - no signs of a shop, much less a workshop. My map led me to a cast iron fence guarding a compound of a couple apartment units; a little search revealed a buzzer on top of a red brick wall, marked 'unit 2, Kennedy city bikes'. Within minutes, I was walking inside an apartment, revealing a workshop with giant windows by the side; tires and tools by the walls; and a bicycle in the middle of the room - much like a trophy. James, a tall, gruff man wearing a work apron, greeted me, offered some tea, and started working on the unfinished bicycle chassis.

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Started as a hobby, James had been making bicycles for a couple of years. "I wanted to travel cheaper, so I decided to make a bicycle," He said, stopping for a while to drink his tea; "It ended up not being that much cheaper," he said before continuing his work. Soon after, he quit his job to open Kennedy City bicycles, and started hand building bicycles for sale. James worked almost two hours straight, almost never once moved his eyes from the bicycle - except for a couple sips of tea.

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The Bicycle he was working on was a teal chassis with a honey leather seats; simple, classic, and lovely. At the end of the two hour long process, he declared the bicycle to be done, stood back, and marvel at his work. The sunlight poured through the windows giving the bicycle a yellowish tint, and for once, I have never wanted to ride a bicycle as much as I did then. James shook my hand, and informed me that they are moving to a new - better - workshop. As I walked outside the workshop towards the cast iron gates, I wondered if James, the work that he does, and the kinds similar to his, are the rising modern counter-attack towards industrialization. Young artisans, producing hand crafted, high quality masterpieces; if it truly is the way of the future, I am behind it all the way.

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