This man was in one of the food markets in North Jakarta. He was trying to maneuver his bike-cart out of the market so he could make a delivery. As soon as he saw my camera, he turned from a serious businessman to a comedian. He came alive for a few minutes when he became this entertainer.
Then, he needed to move on and get to work. Mood came on and off like a switch.
Everywhere I go in Indonesia, I find happy people.
I love this photo. The person on the left took a photo of the two men. After taking the photo, she showed them the photo and they all gathered around her LCD screen to look at the photo that had just been taken.
When I first started taking photographs, I learned with a Pentax K1000 film SLR. There was no instant feedback. In fact, if I didn’t shoot an entire roll of film in a day, it could be a week or longer before I knew whether I had taken any good photos. Now that we have instant feedback, we take a photo and then check to see how it turned out and often decide immediately whether it is worth keeping.
An unintended side effect, however, is that we gather around our cameras to see how good, or not good, we looked in the photo. Community built on LCD screens? Maybe.
This man was really adamant that I take his photo. He was also adamant that I take a photo of him smoking. I think it turned out alright.
I completed my Master’s degree (the coursework) today, and went on a three hour photowalk with a Jakartan expat. It was a great, tiring, overwhelming, amazing day.
This photo was one of more than two hundred shot today. Looks like I’m back on the photoblog.
Everywhere we went we found gates. Doorways to temples, royal meeting places, sacred areas. So many gates.
More weaving at the Sukarara village. If you look carefully, you’ll see that my daughter is tied into the loom – there is a board behind her back and it is tied to the board in front of her. This way, she can hold the weaving tight as she weaves. This particular weaving will take two months to finish.
I love bikes like this. Classic, although it is probably from the 1980′s. The saddlebags really round it out.
Before seeing this beauty, I had no idea that Kawasaki made a bike called a “Binter.” I’m a Honda guy, but this bike looks great. I kind of wanted to take it for a ride.
What do you think?
This Hindu temple was a ten minute walk down the beach from our hotel. A beautiful reminder of the religious heritage of Lombok.
We were in Senggigi, Lombok, for six days. Each day, this same group of boys would walk by, heading to school on the beach. Sorry. Not school-on-the-beach. They were walking on the beach to get to school.
I love how their shoes are in hand.
We took a tour of the west of Lombok and our driver took us to Ampenan. Ampenan is a town that is now part of the greater Mataram area (Mataram is the capital city of Lombok). Ampenan is also a town full of fishermen. These are their boats. Well…this is the front row of boats. There are two, or three, rows of boats behind this row.
Every night, all of the fishermen push these boats out into the water and fish, and in the morning they come back in and take their fish to market. When I think about the hundreds of boats on the beach, I cannot imagine it empty, yet every night it is.
I took a walk down to Pura Batu Bolong, a Hindu temple about a fifteen minute walk from my hotel in Lombok. When I got there through the beach entrance (which I found out later made me totally rude and disrespectful to the temple), I was greeted very kindly by everyone. I approached this man to ask him for permission – “Boleh saya foto kamu?” – and he graciously says, “yes.” Then…he poses like this.
He’s very sweet, and he is a very nice guy. What I was hoping for was a candid photo, but he wanted to pose. I don’t like posed photos. There is little that is natural about being fake…actually, nothing natural, unless one wants to get into a whole “people are always fake” debate, which I am not.
I took the photo, thanked him, and then waited for him to go do something natural. Every time I raised my camera, he went in to pose mode. I just smiled and moved on.
What was awesome was that there were three of this guy’s friends who were mimicking him, in each pose he threw at me. A little extra smile between all of us.
My son had the chance to help this potter make a clay turtle. He has been taking Bahasa Indonesia lessons at school, but still can’t speak the language very well. The potter spoke no English, or at least did not let on that she knew.
The language that they spoke to one another was one of gestures, smiles, and touching. She showed Ben how to mold the clay, how to turn the wheel, and she would take his hand and move it where it needed to be. She would smile and let him try. He would smile back and try.
The most poignant lesson I have learned while living internationally has been that communication does not have to be spoken. Some of the best relationships I have here in Indonesia are the ones where we both struggle to speak, and have to depend on the kindness of the other person to get us through the situation.
I pray that I do not forget this lesson.
A tip for all of you newly married (and maybe old-married) people out there: find out what your significant other’s favorite flower is and bring it home every once in a while. Just because.
This is the gate to Pura Meru, a nearly 300 year old Hindu temple in the city of Mataram, Lombok.
I’m not Hindu, but I am a big fan of their architecture.
Those are my kids. We were walking back from a short visit to Pura Batu Bolong, a Hindu temple near our hotel in Lombok. They got ahead of my wife and me. They are incredibly great kids. When I became a parent, I had no idea how much happiness my children would bring me. The happy is immeasurable.
Summer holidays have begun and I’ve had time to get my camera out and take some photos again.
This was taken a couple of nights ago while on holiday in Lombok. We stayed in Batu Bolong in Lombok Barat (West Lombok, just south of Senggigi).
It hasn’t been too long since my self-declared hiatus, but I really want to post a photo.
Maybe I’ll post once a week, as a compromise. A little creativity per week is necessary, right? To keep a clear head…
This is a farm business that the Salvation Army runs near Palu, Sulawesi. It is shared by 75 farmers, who represent 75 families, and they plant, harvest, process, and benefit from the sale of the rice, corn, chocolate, and coffee that is grown on this farm. Pretty cool, and helps those who need help.
Those smiles are dangerous.
This is Dini. She and I met yesterday at the Jonooge Primary School near Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia. I spoke to her in my incredibly bad Bahasa Indonesia, and she stared at me. I spoke to her in my language, English, and she stared at me. I smiled and she stared at me. I walked away…and she followed me. We became friends yesterday. I don’t know what she thought I was, but she, to me, was innocence and beauty and everything worth protecting in the world.
This is Dini. My little friend.
There they are. Day 1 of the service trip to Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia, after we landed in the Palu airport. I am supervising, along with my Head of School and his wife, and the amazing Miss Erina, a group of twelve students from my school while they extend their hand to the people of Palu.
Our school has a week wherein all the students are supposed to be working in some sort of service. My students are in Palu, working in a Primary school, two childrens’ homes (not orphanages, because not all of the children are orphans – some live in the home because their parents can’t afford to keep them, but they still have parents), an “agro bisnis”, and a school of 2000 students. All of these places are run by the Salvation Army here in Palu.
I need to clarify one major point here: it is a service week, and my students are working here, but the week is really about exposing the students to a part of their world that is unfamiliar to them. In a very real sense, my students are aware that the world does not live as they do – they are well off, they attend a private international school, they have drivers and helpers – but many of them have never experienced the world that is not like theirs. So…we are offering them an opportunity to make a connection, a personal connection, with that world. Today they met the primary school children and my students were overwhelmed by these children and their love and generosity and attention and beauty and energy. As we debriefed the day, my students couldn’t help but gush about how the day went.
Tomorrow is day three, and it looks like this trip might be life-changing, and life-affirming.
The building you see behind them, by the way, is not the Palu airport. That is the future Palu airport. The current one rivals landing next to an auction house in which everyone smokes and people jockey for your luggage as soon as you have it in your hand. Good times.
A Starbucks Mocha Frap with a blueberry muffin. That’s what I ate for breakfast this morning, in the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It was delicious.
One curious thing, though: whenever I order a tall frap, I am served a grande. I don’t know why, but in a country with many small people, they only serve really big drinks at Starbucks.
The lights at Starbucks, on a long exposure, while moving my camera from right to left at a downward thirty degree angle.
I don’t like Photoshop effects that make a photo look unreal, unless the effect that the “photographer” is going for is something other than real. I do use it for my photos – specifically curves and levels – to change the contrast, but I try to avoid the bulk of what Photoshop offers me.
I also avoid self-portraits, or, truth be told, any photographs of me. I’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it.
Those two bits of info make this photo unique. I shot this photo of myself, then processed it by layering me on top of the background, then Gaussian blurred the background layer and switched it to black and white. Then I played with the top layer, me, a little be lowering the saturation level. Plus, it’s a photo of me.
I got my hair cut today as well, so I figured today was a good day to “shoot myself”, as it were.