B&W leftovers from Lahiri

Saturday, December 16, 2017

While Vatican taught me the art of looking up to beautiful masterpiece in St. Peter's Basilica' ceilings. I realised there's a magical feeling that always leads my mind back to the canals of Venice. I still can recall those moments of crossing the bridges, the overwhelming amount of tourists, being mesmerised by the hidden alleys, and the crowded Dodge's Palace. It is beautifully written in Jhumpa Lahiri' In Other Words with the setting of Italy which is her fifth book that I'm currently reading right now. Growing up with her Bengali roots as a successful American writer, this book took us to her journey of immersing into a new language, Italian. The struggles were real of being misunderstood by her exotic presence in a foreign land where you can no longer distinguish between a compliment and an insult because every word sounds beautiful in Italian.

I find it fascinating how her mind wonders and creates a correlation between the painful process of learning a new language with bridges over canals in Venice. As someone who wanted to learn a new language, she took me on a whirlwind ride through her writings. Having a nostalgic ritual of browsing my old photo archive every year, Lahiri made me look through the black & white rolls from Italy last year, untouched on my hard drive. Since I feel bad for not publishing these earlier, reading these lines from the chapter entitled 'Venice' were sort of healing my incurable desire of going back to the harbour. I hope you enjoy this too as much as I do!

taken from In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

In this disquieting, almost dreamlike city, I discover a new way to understand my relationship with Italian.
The fragmented, disorienting topography gives me another key.
"It's the dialogue between the bridges and the canals. A dialogue between water and land. A dialogue that expresses a state of both separation and connection. " 
In Venice, I can't go anywhere without crossing countless pedestrian bridges. At first, having to cross a bridge every few minutes is exhausting. Each journey seems abnormal and somewhat difficult. In a short time, though, I get used to it and slowly this journey becomes habitual, enticing. I ascend, cross the canal, then descend on the other side.Walking through Venice means repeating this act an incalculable number of times. In the middle of every bridge I find myself suspended, neither her nor there. Writing in another language resembles a journey of this sort.

My writing in Italian is, just like a bridge, something constructed, fragile. It might collapse at any moment, leaving me in danger. English flows under my feet. I'm aware of it: an undeniable presence, even if I try to avoid it. Like the water in Venice, it remains the stronger, more natural element, the element that forever threatens to swallow me. Paradoxically, I could survive without any trouble in English; I wouldn't drown. And yet, because I don't want any contact with the water, I build bridges.
"I notice that in Venice almost all the elements are inverted. It's hard for me to distinguish between what exists and what seems an illusion, an apparition. Everything appears unstable, changeable. The streets aren't solid. The house seem to float. The high water can flood a square. The canals reflect a version of the city that doesn't exist."

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican

Analog Journal: South Korea

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

10 minutes boat ride to Nami Island

Earlier this month, I visited South Korea for a one-week getaway with my mom. It was our first autumn together, and I am still mesmerised every time I imagine the ever-changing colours of the autumn foliage. Besides the magical vibes to it, I’d like to think of autumn as a metaphor for our cycle of life. A down time season to reflect and let go of things, to keep you grounded.

Witnessing the beautiful season with my mother was precious. Although we visited major tourism places during this trip, luckily we both like to avoid most of the crowded areas. I still can recall the moment we arrived in Nami Island, we’d just go to the shore and ended up walking on a bridge near the lake with only a handful of people there. It’s one simple moment that reminded me of how different we are as a person but so much alike when it comes to travel.

I never consider on visiting South Korea. Tracing the path that leads me to once underestimate what this country has to offer made me realized that it happened solely based on the popular culture that was being portrayed through the mass media. Before the trip, all I could think of the country were only K-pop music, K-drama and their plastic surgery culture. Luckily for me, I now have a shared memory of our mother-daughter trip together; both couldn't stand the cold weather yet still manage to find ways for a cold banana milk.

                                                                                   Mount Seorak; cable car view to the hiking point

fresh produce from Jeju island

Mom (2nd from the right) loves to start a conversation with stranger

Micro Galleries in Jakarta

Friday, November 17, 2017

I've always liked the idea of absorbing new perspective from other people via visual and literature. I think that's the only reason why I find absolute joy visiting art gallery and bookstore. If you're reading this, perhaps you're fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a day trip admiring artwork from across generations. But for some people, the idea of going to an art gallery might sound a bit intimidating. But guess what, I personally believe that art belongs to pretty much everyone, it's one thing that set us free, a safe space to express our thoughts or even criticise. Even we learned how to doodle on the walls long before we're being taught how to write.

Last month, I was lucky enough when I found out that a street art collective and reclaimed city acupuncturist, Micro Galleries turned a small alley in Jakarta into an art gallery filled with murals and installations that were being created on the spot by 50 local and international artists. They're lifting up street art scenes and making it accessible for the local community within Jl. Kebon Nanas, Kebayoran Lama with simply amazing art. It was quite a hectic week for myself loaded with shooting, so I decided to grab my camera and headed to the alley and make a photo series. The people and committees were very welcoming even I made friends with some of the artists there. Ariadne and Brian from Austria showed me around and give me a quick tour to the end of the exhibition. We even hung out together for a Sunday walk in the chinatown, I had such a great time with them.

Besides exhibition, they also host artist talk and workshop together with the locals. Thank you Micro Galleries for such a great movement and initiative, I salute the work that you're doing together involving the local community. See more photos on: link

Ariadne Avkiran (Austria) & Yuni Bening' (Yogyakarta) Peace installation


Murals by all female artists from Ladies On Wall with local people & installation of Jaka Thinker

Vivien Poly (France)

Jaka Thinker (Tasik), Belajaran community

Farmstay recap in Java

Monday, October 30, 2017

Hi, hello, sorry for being so quiet in here! It's been awhile since the last time I posted, so here's an update. These past three months, I've been working on a project with a social enterprise called I Like Local. On the admin and marketing side, my responsibility includes reaching out to existing host to update their information, finding potential hosts and partners in and around Java, and make the platform become visible to more travellers in Indonesia. But the most exciting part is when I get to visit new host to document their experiences. As for now, I've visited two farm stay near Bogor and Sukabumi region, which surprisingly are located only 2 - 3 hour away from Jakarta by train.

With this opportunity, I've made some new friends with local hosts around Indonesia, met a lot of new wonderful people, slept inside a rice barn, hiked to two different waterfalls, conquered my fear of dogs, learned some basic skills of organic farming, and ate so many amazing organic food cooked by the locals. Both farms run organically and applied the zero waste management system, but has a different type of management which makes it interesting. 

Overall, it's a humbling experience when I realised that I was actually working while visiting these new places that I've never been before and that through my photos I'll help these local people get discovered by travellers from around the world. It's obviously not all rainbows, but the journey is what makes it worth while. I dearly hope more of this kind of work will come my way! These photos are all taken with film and during this assignment I mainly shoot with my main camera. Feel free to see more on this: link

Peyton and Nadine, WOOF volunteers from USA & Germany


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