The Calibre.id exhibition — featuring works by four prominent Indonesian photographers — will be at Rumah Maen in Menteng, Jakarta, until Oct. 16. (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

Calibre.id: New Platform for the Best of Indonesian Photography

BY :SYLVIANA HAMDANI

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

Jakarta. Technology brings out the good and the bad in life. The internet allows people access to almost everything, including other people's works and ideas to steal and claim as their own.

"Copy-and-paste (things from the internet) is common practice now," senior photographer Oscar Motuloh said in a press conference at Rumah Maen in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Thursday (22/09). "Many people think lightly of using other people's pictures without permission."

To overcome this problem, Oscar and his photographer friends Fanny Octavianus, Jay Subyakto and John Suryaatmadja, collaborate with two photography enthusiasts and digital printing experts, Howard Brawidjaja and Gunawan Widjaya, to set up a website and app called Calibre.id which can be used to purchase Indonesian photographers' work, legally.

"These Indonesian photographers are highly qualified," Howard said. "They deserve to get real appreciation for their work."

The works of these four senior Indonesian photographers will be available to browse on the website and app. A click to buy option will be available on each work displayed.

Prints of each photograph will be delivered with a matching frame and a certificate of authenticity.

"The owner of these pictures can say, 'I'm proud to have the original,'" Howard said.

Calibre.id also offers online and offline consultation services to customers who want to print the pictures on products or furniture.

The launch of the Calibre.id website and app yesterday also marked the opening of a photography exhibition by these top Indonesian photographers at Rumah Maen.

The exhibition, which will run until Oct. 16, showcases 46 works printed on aluminium, canvas, lighted glass panels and furniture pieces.

"They're not only photographs, they're genuine works of visual art," Oscar said.

Most of the works highlight Indonesian daily life in a dramatic interplay of lights and shapes.

In a picture titled "Senja Suatu Tradisi" (Dusk of a Tradition), photographer John Suryaatmadja portrays a young sailor throwing an anchor off a traditional Phinisi boat. The faint glow of a sunset on the dark blue sky behind the boat throws a romantic glow on the scene.

Oscar's own "Pada Tepian Firdaus" (On the Edge of Eden) portrays a white buffalo and a cluster of Toraja traditional houses, or "Tongkonan," in the background. The sad eyes of the buffalo could be read as a symbol of dying traditions in a fast-paced modern life.

Editor of the national news agency Antara, Fanny Octavianus, photographed a Transjakarta bus full of weary commuters, silhouetted against the backdrop of the Bundaran HI traffic circle in a black-and-white picture entitled "Noktah Jaman" (Sign of the Times). Drops of rainwater on the photograph look like human tears, suggesting empathy with the tough daily struggle of the city's commuters.

"These are not Mooi Indie ("Beautiful Indonesia") pictures," choreographer and photographer Jay Subyakto said. "All these (pictures) portray Indonesia from the photographers' own points-of-view. There are both beauty and bitterness in them."

Jay himsef presents a picture titled "Ashes to Ashes," which portrays a Ngaben (cremation) ceremony in Bali. The head of the Naga Banda (Guardian Dragon) effigy in the photo pops out of the raging fire, imbuing the picture with a sense of magic.

Calibre.id plans to recruit more Indonesian photographers in the future.

"They have to be very good and feature Indonesia in an interesting way in their work," Howard said. "Our selections will be curated by Fanny, Jay, Oscar and John."

SHARE