Sunday, May 25, 2008

(Blog Review) Professional Procrastinator: A Statement of Artistic Challege

Written by: Eki Qushay Akhwan
© All rights reserved.

An artist is by nature rebellious. I forgot who said this. But I believe there is a logic in that. The true measure of an artist is his/her is creativity; and being creative means seeing things that others would otherwise fail to notice, create things that others have not possibly thought about. Being creative is exploratory – always testing the limits of what’s possible, what’s beyond the existing boundaries of the present. Hence, an artist often lives in a world very much ahead of his/her own time and this is why – in the eyes of the ordinary peole – he/she often looks eccentric, unconventional, or even outrightly rebellious!

There is one particular Indonesian photo blogger that in statements and his works could well fit what’s described above. “Professional Procrastinator” ( – the name he gave his blog – is just a precursor to his unconventional point of view. Semantically, these words do not collocate: “Procrastinator” has a negative connotation that is very contrary to the word “professional,” which is imbued with positive imagery. Putting these words together is agaist convention. Hence, it can be considered as a statement of rebellion.

The rebellion that’s being touted in this particular blog, however, is not of the kind that carries the negative undertone of annihilating the status quo, but rather one that is questioning the blind adherence to a set of practices and challenging everybody to step outside the walls that have limited their views to the same things over and again and made them afraid of taking the path least travelled. About this, Kurniadi Widodo (Wid), the owner of the blog, is particularly clear. Another statement (or rather, question) posted on his account profile at FN ( asked this: “gee, don’t you guys ever tired of making and seeing the same kind of photographs over and over again?”

Translated, the statement could well mean: I’m tired of making and seeing the same kind of photographs – why aren’t you? Why don’t you try something different? And he means what he says. Restless in search of what’s possible beyond what has already existed and practiced, he goes on his own journey to explore the aesthetic limits photography could offer. The results are quite a unique point of view that is his own. A look at the themes and the photographs he displays at his photo blog immediately confirms this. Just take a look at two of his most recent postings: “150408” and “Familiar Faces, the Book”.

“140408” is a set of pictures which, as he wrote, was taken at a photo-shooting session dubbed “Photographed Like Celebrities” – a marketing program held by one of Indonesia’s largest cosmetic producers – where ordinary people were made over and photographed like celebrities. He was invited there by some photographer friends who were assigned to do the shooting. It was indeed “a serious stuff,” as he said. The photographs produced for the event were essential to the company’s image-making. Instead of flowing with the others and use the chance to hone his fashion photography skills, however, he took pictures of his own liking – a defiance that once again exerted his own unique point of view. The results were an amazing array of back-stage and on-stage dynamic views of the event – shot in black and white, no less, for an event whose theme was “color trends of 2008”!

Unlike the images in “140408” which were especially made at a photo session, the posting entitled “Familiar Faces, the Book” consists of pictures taken over quite a long period of time – his college years – of subjects that were close and dear to him: his college friends. Here too, we can find his unique perspective. Thanks to his unique approach and way of seeing, the “familiar faces” turned out to be not too familiar at all, in style at least.

The pictures in “140408” may look relaxed, candid, and unpremeditated. In this, at least, they show what they are supposed to show: The emotional intimacy that exists between friends. Yet, the way this bond is visually represented takes a surprising turn. There are almost no clearly identifiable, much less familiar, faces. Instead, all we can see is the “symbolisms” of that intimacy: Look at the figure leaving the tennis table whose face is hidden in the shadow (picture #1), for example. At glance, this is not what we expect to see in an album entitled “Familiar Faces”. Yet upon closer observation there is no denying that the visual moment, the relaxness of the atmosphere, and the angle could only come from uninhibited emotional intimacy that exists between close friends. Another proof of his twist, a statement and a lesson from a “rebel”: Look, your subjects may be familiar, but the point of view should be uniquely yours. The massege is a resounding “explore!” “explore!” “explore!”

Among Indonesian photo bloggers, Kurniadi Widodo and his “Professional Procrastinator” banner could well be a rarity. His consistent take on the opposite of what’s accepted, I think, is the tell tale sign of his artistry. His blog is the blog you may want to check out if you feel that the walls of the ordinary have somewhat suffocated your aesthetic taste and photographic expressions and need to have a fresh look at your photographic subjects.


Wid said...

Whoa, I'm truly at loss for words... never meant my blog to be taken *this* seriously.

Some of the things you point out really are true though... it's actually pretty embarrassing to hear someone else stating what I try to do with my photography more clearly than I could myself. Nonetheless, thank you very much for the honor!

Lucius Dinto Pramudyo said...

But, mas ekki. he's truly my inspiration. still in mind that i asked him to meet personally, the one main reason is that I trapped in the what he said "same daily photos". New perspective.
Nice in-depth analysis mas ekki, am sure it represents his "fans"..haha...keep kicking wid!..

© Copyrights
Unless otherwise stated, the articles and photos in this blog are the copyright property of Eki Qushay Akhwan. All rights reserved. You may NOT republish any of them in any forms without prior permission in writing from Eki Qushay Akhwan.

Kecuali disebutkan secara khusus, hak cipta atas tulisan dan karya foto di dalam blog ini ada pada Eki Qushay Akhwan. Dilarang mempublikasi ulang artikel dan/atau karya foto di dalam blog ini dalam bentuk apapun tanpa izin tertulis dari Eki Qushay Akhwan.