I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. A country with million place and object to photograph. A beautiful country indeed. Now, I am a semi-pro photographer, enjoying my job/hobby & selling my stock-photo. Photographing since 1995.
As many of you already know, I am NOT a fan of sentimental tripe photography-wise. I find the legions of drama-queen landscape/nature photographers, who spew out endless reams of images of a world made up of never-ending golden light vistas, to be a particulary unimaginative and contemptible lot of eco-pornographers. My issue with them is not with their style of photography per se, but rather with what I (and many others) believe to be the detrimental effect that their photography has on conservation and the evironmental cause - "...picture-book nature, scenic and sublime, praiseworthy but not battle-worthy. Tarted up into perfectly circumscribed simulations of the wild, these props of mainstream environmentalism serve as surrogates for real engagement with wilderness, the way porn models serve as surrogates for real women. They are placebos substituting for triage." - Lydia Millet, High Country News (the eco-pornographer link goes to the complete article).
But, back to Rarindra Prakarsa's photographs. When I first encountered these photographs in his portfolio on photo.net, I got all flustered and flummoxed. I'm not suppose to like this stuff - altered and romanticized landscapes littered with incessantly picture-book perfect children. Yikes!! How many cliches can you cram in a single photograph?
But, so help me, like the proverbial car wreck scene, I couldn't stop looking. And looking. And looking.
So, I emailed Rarindra and asked, ...what is your artistic intent with these photographs? The response - "Thank you for enjoying my pictures. You should visit my beautiful country someday." - really didn't answer the question other than to reinforce the initial impression created by his photographs that his country is beautiful.
He did give me permission to post them on The Landscapist, so here they are. I think they are pertinent because, take out the kiddies, they are classic landscape photographs albeit in a rather romanticized genre. With the kiddies they become something else...
I am beginning to see them as a sort of children's fable in the style of the illustrator Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and The Polar Express (especially his style as adapted for the movie). As in many of Van Allsburg's illustrations, in Rarindra's photographs much is left to the observer's imagination to fill in the "blanks". For me, there is a sense of mystery about them. I am drawn into a world that's a little off-kilter where something's going on that I can't quite grasp and, for some reason that I can't quite express yet, they seem to be something more than just sentimental idyllics.
For all I know, maybe Rarindra's intent with these photographs is nothing more than an attempt to create hyper-Kodak/Hallmark moments. Perhaps because of language issues, he didn't really respond to my question about intent.
Nevertheless, I am very eager to hear your thoughts on these photographs.