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My Photo scholarship 2011 entry (The Aftermath of the Mount Merapi’s Eruption)

Indonesia | Tuesday, 1 November 2011 | 5 photos

A year ago Mount Merapi, an active volcano in Java, Indonesia, erupted and caused massive devastations. During the endless eruption from October to November 2010, I had to leave my home and witnessed the day-to-day occurrence of the eruption and also its impact to the villages nearby Mount Merapi.

When I joined the volunteer team to deliver humanitarian aids, I realised I can do more for the people of Merapi. Then, I chose to join the information centre team and—equipped with my camera and basic knowledge in photography and journalism—I captured the aftermath of this natural disaster. At the time we were disappointed with the national mainstream mass media co-opted by the market-driven journalism that covered this event based on sensationalism only. As a volunteer I had a very close access to the location as well as to the villagers. I saw many complex issues—such as debate on relocation, unfair aid distribution, mismanagement of post-disaster response, etc.—that never be covered by mainstream journalists. This became my strongest motivation in my photographs: to tell a story from the perspective of the most affected people.

It leads me to a bigger concept of all my photographs. I always put my self as ”close” as possible to the subjects whether they are place or person subjects, not only in terms of distance but also perspective. Photography for me is an effort for “giving voice to the voiceless”. But, I realise I need to learn more. My current study at the Edith Cowan University, Perth, will improve my understanding. However, I believe to gain the optimum result in learning we need to do dynamic and multilayer processes. By joining the World Nomads 2011 Travel Photography Scholarship mentored by Jason Edwards, I will enhance my capacity in a greater level.