Celebrating Indonesia’s ‘Unpublished’ News Photography

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ELIZABETH SOELISTIO WRITES – As the Jakarta Post notes in its write-up, it’s one thing for a photo to be kept from publication because it’s not good enough. It’s another when the photo is shelved because the image is too sensitive. In the period from 1965 to the 2000s in Indonesia, that could mean it showed blood, death, religion or simply would embarrass the powers that be.

‘Unpublished,’ a terrific new exhibit of photos culled from newspaper Kompass’ 2 million-plus image archive, brings 100 of these pictures to the public for the first time. As a part of the paper’s 52nd anniversary celebration, the exhibit shows not only some of the country’s darker episodes in new light, but reflects the depth of photojournalism talent that Indonesia’s largest daily newspaper had on staff.

A particularly striking image is that of a university student Bernadito Gutteres, gunned down in the streets of Dili due to his support for East Timor independence. While the photo never made it to Kompass’ frontpage, a similar shot by a foreign journalist won global acclaim.

“Because regulations didn’t allow newspaper publications to publish pictures with blood, a foreign photographer became famous for a similar image, instead of (photographer Eddy Hasby),” noted co-curator Jay Subiakto.

‘Unpublished’ is a collection of 100 photos chosen from the similarly titled 2014 book, which is available for purchase. Visit Foto Kompas to view more photos.

 

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