On 14th November, two weeks after I arrived in Jakarta, I wanted to find a new inspiration so I looked into upcoming events in the city. There, when I crossed a photography exhibition. It located in exclusive residential area known as ‘Indo-European’ architecture residence during Dutch colonial time. The exhibition held in Tugu Kunstkring Paleis, a house-based-building filled by historical memories of Jakarta on its you her age, which these days the building often use to host art events. It was my first time enter the building. I started to walk around the room and had no idea that the photograph was all black and white. The feeling of ‘classic’ straight away came through my body. It was pleasant and relaxing feeling.
The Artist, Hermandari Kartowisastro, she is one of Indonesian activists. Her interest in photography began with her hobby in traveling. Despite of her mature age, she decided to pursuit her new passion, becoming a pro photographer in the age 67. During her first-three-year, she travelled in many places such as Central Asia, Europe and America. She also travelled in local places such as Java and Papua’s shining island, Raja Empat. She collected magnificent scenery and moments from her journey. This year, to celebrate her 70th life anniversary, she launched her first photography book and hold an exhibition.
I was fortunate to able to meet her in person and talk about her excitement for the event. When I asked on how she took her photos, she replied, “I love traveling, I enjoy the scenery, the moments. When I feel it’s the right moment, I snap them on my camera”. she then shared that she took the photos not only to capture the subjects, but also as a memory of her feeling at that moment, satisfied feeling to able to find the great objects. She didn’t surprise me, it clearly explained on her great photography pieces. She told me that thanks to her family support, she could follow her desire in photography. “They always been my motivation” she said. Feeling so fortunate, Madam Herman wish that her work can motivate others in her age to not stop following their dream, their passion, and their belief. This was the reason why she titled her theme as ‘why not’. “Why would not we still be passionate and follow our heart what we want to do? Just because we are elderly people, it’s not an answer”. She is definitely an inspiring figure for this nation, or at least for me.
The art of black and white
Black and white photography ignores the distraction of color on the subject, instead it focuses on composition, lighting, perspective and the context of the shot are important. It gives audience the feeling to tell story. Madam Herman agreed and shared her preference in black and white than in color because it shows eternity and endlessness.
The art works sectioned in category that the artist focused on. There were architecture, human interest, scenery, still life and underwater. On the exhibition there were 35 black and white photos which sorted out from 70 images that she displayed on her photo book after selected from hundreds of works. Thirty five art works was exposed on different material which I think it was interesting. ” Choose your favorites”, as she said, I put here my favorite works of her. First work pictures pedestrian area street in Tibet. The bricks, the tree, the leaves captured in clear and precise details. The light and shades also gives the right color composition.
Now, if you like the one above, you must fall for the one below, because I was. On the time I saw this on a huge frame, I thought ‘this is it, this is absolutely my most favorite among the favorites’. I was amazed and excited when I pointed it to her. Another Tibetan street view, not only it delivered details, but for me also the atmosphere. I did feel that I was with her in the journey. It was the black and white magic together with her intuition and technique that spelled me in enjoyment.
Her underwater works are excellent. One that caught my attention was the one with whale shark, taken Cendrawasih Bay, Papua. It displayed beautifully in large aluminum based, spotted in the centre of the room. The lighting and the angle brought a right moment. Additionally, I think the artist herself brought the photo a storyline as she dove under water to take it. “I am a traveller, a hiker and a diver”. It is amazing just to imagine it.
Last but never the least, the architecture favorite. My winner was the Brick Walls of Bhukara, Uzbekistan. The object’s composition was pro well done. She took maximum advantage of the uniqueness of object’s shape.
Hermandari Kartowisastra proves her excellent works despite being a new comer in the business. Her works are categorized as equal with those who have been in the industry. Her strongest point by far is her passion. She showed that age is not her weakness, but her strength. Her maturity attitudes and endless spirit embraced her photography technique into high appreciation which created stories in her photos. It is unbelievable for common people and certainly not an easy thing especially for others in her age. She is truly an inspiring artist for Indonesian photography community and her talent in photography would be more extendable as her journey continued.
Images are taken by me from the exhibition.
note: if you are interested in the artist, contact us on our email!