One should know about his hometown first and make it a subject of their photographs before going to faraway places.
I really enjoy shooting around my hometown even though it’s boring here, unlike famous cities in other countries.
Many experts say that the world is too large to capture everything in photos. That’s why many photographers, whether amateur or professional, love to hunt for subjects far from their places. I really want to do that, too, but I can’t because I’m still jobless.
In February 1985, I was born in Bandung to a Minangnese mother and Sundanese father. But in 1990 we moved to another town before going back to Bandung in 2002. It felt like there was something missing in my memories of this city between 1990 and 2002, even though in that period I’ve gone back to Bandung at least once a year.
Let me introduce you to Gedung Sate, the landmark of my city. It was built during the Dutch colonial era (1600-1942) and the six ball-like ornaments skewed on a pole at the center of the roof of the building is an indication that it cost six million guldens to make. Locals call it the Gedung Sate. Gedung means building and sate is a type of traditional delicacy from the island of Madura near East Java, made from chicken, sheep, or cow meat and is skewed on thin sharp bamboo sticks called Tusuk sate.
Many cultural experts say that Gedung Sate is not suitable as a landmark because unlike tourist destinations like the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, not all people could enter it. This is because Gedung Sate is used by the Jawa Barat (West Java) provincial government as an office. You should ask permission from the authorities first. But whatever the opinion may be about this building, the fact remains that many tourists still come to take a photo of this landmark of Bandung.
What makes me sad the most is the fact that there were so many historical places that I wasn’t able to photograph because they were destroyed to make way for commercial malls, shopping centers, and hotels which Bandung already has so many of. But thank God I had the opportunity to shoot this small place built during the Japanese colonial era (1942-1945) before it was destroyed and rebuilt at a nearby location.
This is the small place that I mentioned about in the paragraph above. Meet the old (and the original) Masjid Al-Hikmah. This small, old place was a brothel where many Indonesian women were forced to work at during the Japanese colonial era. After the independence, this place became a mosque. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by its land owner and built the new Mesjid Al-Hikmah across the street. But it’s not the same anymore. I don’t know, maybe they considered this heritage building unimportant? Luckily I have captured a photo of this building, even though it’s not really that good because of the lack of flash or lighting and my amateur photography skill.
I miss the moments when I used to pray at this place.
Nowadays, Bandung is famous for its cuisine and fashion among other local tourists. It’s because we modify some of the most famous international cuisine such as steak, hamburger, or Japanese food by adding local flavor. But if you’re a Japanese or a fashionable Parisian or Milanese, you’d probably be laughing at what you’ll find in our boutiques! So please forget (and forgive) about this, and if you want to enjoy the real Bandung, just head outside the city to the crater of Tangkuban Parahu mountain. It’s located at the Cikole, Lembang, suburb above Bandung.
The photo’s a bit out of focus, though. I want to write about my passion to shoot around my city, the creativity and the craziness that is common in Bandung.
And because my most popular photo is one that I shot near my custom photo lab in the city, I will never stop snapping around my lovely hometown of Bandung, Indonesia.