Finally after a while, I made a new photostory. The whole process was very unplanned.

Last June, we started a small movement called Kampung Kota Merekam, to document the history of urban kampungs. We thought that our urban history books have very limited information about these settlements, eventhough they spread out in the city, and definitely give big impact to its growth.

I got the task to document Kampung Akuarium. For that, we created a small team consists of mas Iwan Setiawan (a senior journalist), Ari and Rohman (locals who helped us by becoming reporters); and then me.

We finished the article, and it is now already published at You can read “Menyalakan Harapan di Kampung Akuarium” over here.

Anyway, besides writing, I was also responsible to take pictures. It was clear to me that I did not want to document their post-eviction trauma. The whole grieving already done too much in the past, and now they are in the phase of fighting back for their rights with so much passion.

If I took their pictures in their real environment (surrounded by grey rubbles, brownish wooden boards, scrap metals, etc), I will only get gloomy atmosphere on my pictures. That is not how I want to portray the story of these people.

Then I found something important that has been erased together with their houses: colors. Many urban kampungs in Jakarta always have very colorful palettes, and Kampung Akuarium was just like the others. That is the quality that once makes them very joyful, lively and unpredictable at once. That element inspired me, and I decided to reintroduce back the colors into their story. Not through pigments, but through light.

With this method, I took pictures for the article. But then I found that I enjoyed the process too much, so I took more that I expected. Then, I decided maybe I also could make a photo story to accompany the writing that we already made.

The result? Well, I don’t know. I have my opinion, but I let you feel and reflect it with your own taste and perspective.

Go see it below. Critics and opinions are always welcomed (so I can learn!).

Thank you for visiting!


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