As my time winds down in Jakarta, Indonesia and we slowly enter the ‘new normal’ and exit what feels like round one of Covid, i’m taking this momentary lull to review some of my street portraiture in Jakarta. 

All of these pictures were taken early this year before lockdown kicked in, and they were all taken with my Nikon FM (and a couple with my Nikon EM).

old jakarta man, sitting chilling and part of my Jakarta portraiture series
Random guy who chills on the street near where I live.
Jakarta street sweeper, smiling and part of my Jakarta portraiture series
One of my neighbourhood street sweepers.

Dealing With Rejection

I regularly have existential crises about why I take pictures, what am I doing taking pictures, the ethics of taking part in street photography and even finding myself through the act of taking pictures. 

The little niche that I most enjoy (currently) within photography is street portraiture and it helps me deal with all the above issues. I also don’t need to be that obnoxious photographer shoving cameras in peoples faces. With street portraiture it pushes me to be patient, respectful, courteous and low-key.  It also helps me deal with rejection. Checking someone out, approaching them to make a picture and them saying no is good for the spirit.

One of the street cleaner crew.

Just Smile

My enjoyment of street photography comes from my work as a documentary director (who is edging his career very slowly towards fiction). I enjoy shooting cutaways and B-roll. In fact nothing is more enjoyable than spending an early morning or a late afternoon shooting sequences for a film we’re making. Street portraiture is an extension of that. Having to be amicable. Smiling when approaching people. Then being honest and complimentary about people you don’t know and winning them over.

Local police guy.
Some of the local security guys down the road.

All Lies – It’s About Me

I can go on about looking for some candidness of humanity or seeking to capture some emotion or some long winded explanation photographers love to give but i’d be lying. 
For my work, it’s really about chance, feeling, mood, atmosphere, vibe and me. It’s up to me to ask someone to ‘make a picture’ with them. It’s my decision based on something I see in someone. It could be their look, their vibe, their energy, where I think they might be in life. It’s really as much about me as it is about them which makes it a conversation. A small, minor, relatively unimportant conversation about self discovery. 

Toy street seller up in the central district.
One of our apartment security guards.
One of our apartment security guards.

People in Jakarta

I’ve written before that Jakarta is a great street photography city and I stand by that. I’ve lived and worked in a lot of countries and for pictures, the richness and diversity within the people and the city of Jakarta is something that is great to capture. It’s a city that wants to be photographed and it’s a city where there are a thousand things happening at once on the street.

Overseer doing his job on an underpass on Jalan Sudirman
This guy just made wooden key chains.

 If you are interested in working with me or any of the Studio Rarekind team, we can help shoot, edit as well as put together any graphics, animations – just email us directly right here and lets work out a way to collaborate.