Not too long ago, I received a package in the mail from Java containing three little photobooks or zines. They came courtesy of Arum Tresnaningtyas Dayuputri, a young photographer living in West Java (she’s often just referred to as Aumdaya).
The first of these was zine of her pictures printed on newsprint, focusing on her project documenting Dangdut. I was already familiar with Aumdaya’s work, though had really only seen her pictures online. It was great to finally see a finished project, one of her zines (she has a wonderful understanding of the cultural layers visible in Javanese culture, and how these layers can surround this genre of popular music).
Also included in the package were two small books, Kami Punya Cerita, or We Have Our Own Story. These books are the product of some photo workshops Aumdaya leads for people around Bandung and Java.
The books are small, and printed on newsprint. The idea, however, is wonderful. Let me quote for the introduction of the first of these two books (in a modest English translation, which I opted not to correct – adds to the charm, in my mind):
Finally this book has been published.
The book that you are holding is a collection of my photo story class called “Kami Punya Cerita/We Have Our Own Story.” This class begun in June 2011, located in Tobucil and Klabs, Bandung. Now we have 26 story from our participant (batch 1-5).
Not like a usual photography class which talks about techniques, we welcome anyone with any kind of cameras to join in. No more discussion about lens aperture or shutter speed. Here we learn how to compose a story through photography and we use discussion as one of our methods. Sharing ideas, suggestions, and criticism are our way of discussion.
Various professions and backgrounds make this book colorful. From the story of a house wife with her first child, eating as a hobbies, their favorite cat, working as a teacher, to the story of phobia of a little creature called cockroach. The choice of simple theme usually found in daily life makes this book fresher and interesting.
This is not a usual photography book. You will find small surprises which make you feel sad and happy at the same time. Smiling and laughing. This collection leads us to rethink and be grateful for every simple thing around us.
Happy reading! And our collection of “Kami Punya Cerita.”
The books are a little naive, but have a wonderful charm.
I love the idea of presenting photography to a variety of people, presenting it in a way that isn’t geared towards art or career-ism, but rather emphasizes how it can be used to enhance an engagement with everyday life.