Art of Capturing Patterns – between the boundaries of moment’s – a photography reflection

“A pattern is the repeated or regular way in which something happens or is done.”

We love to see pattern.

Maybe, thru the pattern, we find a comforting warm feeling in these chaotic moments of the constantly changing time of ours.

There is a pattern everywhere you look, even in the bliss of a split second.

And photography is the perfect medium to capture and presenting that patterns. Thru my own experience in this field, I tend to find irregularity beyond the patterns that came to my attention. Some of my mentors in photography even emphasize the importance of the pattern in creating outstanding photography works.

In short, pattern photography is the concept of integrating a repetition of elements into your photographs. Our daily lives are filled with repetitive patterns. Whether with shapes, colors, or textures, perfect examples of repetition exist all around us.

Tracking the ancient Spices trail of Java

Spices trade has changed the civilization in the Indonesia Archipelago.

History has shown, how Spain, Portuguese, Dutch, and later British have fought, conquer and colonize the people of Indonesia or also known as Nusantara found by the mysterious Majapahit kingdom, to dominate the spices trade route, harvest from these fertile lands.

The Chinese, Arabic, and African spices trader that has been trading in these islands before the Europeans also have left its heritage to the civilization thru cultural changing and particularly religious teachings. The spices trading route gave a direct impact on Islam teaching in Indonesia, which today has become one of the biggest Muslim population nations in the world.

Spread across the archipelago, one of the distinguished ancient heritage of the spices trading route can be found in Java island, which has been known for centuries as the main trading port and administration center of this archipelago.

To preserve the relict and heritage of these ancient trading routes, also giving the future generation access to study how the history of the spices trading in Indonesia gave an impact on its people, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia has been actively promoting the initiative to make the Indonesia Spices trading route formally recognized as one of the World Heritage sites.

I was invited to join as part of a team conducting a rapid assessment in Cirebon, West Java, and Gresik, East Java to support this initiative. Our team consists of Archeology scholars and photographers, documenting sites scattered along Java Island.

Diving safely amid the pandemic

A large number of dive shops, dive operators and resorts have suffered significant losses since the pandemic began to spread in Indonesia in March.

The Indonesian government’s efforts to reduce the pandemic’s impact on tourism seem futile as more and more countries ban their citizens from traveling to Indonesia. The country, after all, seems to have failed to contain the spread of COVID-19 effectively.

During this time of uncertainty, a number of dive operators in Indonesia have decided to start thinking outside the box in order to survive.

The Benetta pinisi (type of Indonesian sailing rig) live-aboard ship is one of them. After mostly cruising the eastern parts of Indonesia, a heaven for Indonesian diving, the ship’s crew are now sailing around the Jakarta bay area. The ship’s owner, Bobby Weliyanto, said this change was necessary for his business to survive the pandemic.

One of the ship’s most recent voyages took place on Sept. 5 from Sunda Kelapa Harbor in Jakarta. Here, I met with fellow dive enthusiasts to embark on a diving trip exploring the Thousand Islands region north of Jakarta. Throughout the trip, all the participants tried their best to maintain social distance and wore masks.

The first stop of the trip was Pari Island. The journey to this spot took approximately three hours at 8 knots using the Benetta’s motor. During the wait, the participants prepared their gear and discussed the plan for the first dive, exploring the wreck of a cargo ship near Pari Island.

Richard, one of the divers, is a British teacher living in Southeast Tangerang. He described himself as having a great passion for shipwreck diving.

“Indonesia holds a lot of underwater mystery and history waiting to be explored,” Richard said.

Splashing into the water with full dive gear ready to go into the deep sea is an exhilarating moment that most divers welcome with joy. The visibility in the waters north of Jakarta is not as good as that of eastern Indonesia, but the diving is still enjoyable.

At about 23 meters below the surface, the mysterious silhouette of the wrecked cargo ship begins to emerge. Laying cold at the bottom of the sea, the ship’s body has been filled with coral, giving life to its surroundings. It is a sight that the divers must have been yearning for after being trapped in their homes for months. 

Some of the divers posed so that the underwater photographers could take pictures. These divers were not going to let these precious moments go to waste. A few big pennant coralfish swam gracefully around the divers as if they wanted to welcome the strange-looking visitors from the land above. 

Regrettably, I had to cancel my second dive after I lost my breath swimming against the current before descending into the sea. Safety is a priority, and there is nothing wrong with canceling a dive if you are not comfortable with the conditions.

Not long after I returned to the boat, two divers – Pinneng and Jovita – joined me after they completed their second dive.

“Some of the divers down there are just holding a rope and swimming like it was a flag”, said Pinneng with a small laugh while drying his hair. 

Based in Kupang regency, Pinneng has witnessed the destructive impact of COVID-19 on the local tourism industry. This came as a surprise because Kupang is marked as a green zone, which means that it does not have a high number of COVID-19 cases.

That night, back at the ship, we enjoyed our dinner together and enjoyed the night sea breeze. A small group of dolphins were attracted to the light and entertained us with their swimming before we went to our beds and slept.

The next day, I decided to join the free diving activity, departing from the SCUBA diving team that went ahead for the next shipwreck exploration. One of our travel companions was the Indonesia free diving record holder Mikhael Dominico. It was a rare chance to learn a few freediving tips from him.

Wearing our long fins, we entered the water and enjoyed the dive together. Joining us were professional underwater photographers Yun Thing Tan and Ferry Rusli, along with travel influencers Gemala Hanafiah and Christie.

The waters surrounding the Thousand Islands hold various mysteries. The abundant exotic shipwrecks are just some of them. Beyond the wonderful, healthy coral reefs, many have reported seeing whale sharks in these waters.

Back on the ship, as we packed our gear and prepared for the short journey home, my thoughts wandered to the reality of the COVID-19 threat we were still facing. It was still frightening, and I did not want to fall victim to the virus. I also wanted to protect my family and loved ones from the virus.

Liveaboard cruise ships like the Benetta pinisi ship service allow you to experience diving adventures with minimal risk. With its private charter choice, you can minimize the risk of large gatherings. Its strict health protocols also give you more confidence to once again go diving.

Sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath and get out into the deep blue ocean because, after all, there is no point of continuing to live in fear.

Read the complete article and multimedia content: https://www.thejakartapost.com/multimedia/2020/09/18/benetta-phinisi-offers-cruises-and-exploration-for-jakarta-diving-enthusiasts.html

Energy for the nation

The workers of Refinery Unit VI in Pertamina Balongan, Indramayu, West Java, beamed with enthusiasm when I told them that I wanted to capture a story on energy production for the country. I was among eight photojournalists invited by state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina to work on a photo collaboration project to mark the company’s 60th anniversary.

These workers make up the human story behind the refinery’s busy operations. They take pride in what they do to provide energy for the country, and carry out their daily duties with professionalism. From regular staff members and safety supervisors to researchers and health officers, every worker believes in the importance of their tasks. They know that no part is too small to contribute to the entire process of producing energy.

At the age of 60, Pertamina still faces a number of challenges, but the strong dedication of its workers gives us hope that the country will have a future in terms of energy resilience amid the skyrocketing prices of global oil.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/multimedia/2017/12/13/oil-refinery-energy-for-the-nation.html

Lakina of Kahedupa