Monday, October 24, 2016

Lenny Augustin, Jakarta Fashion Week

Jakarta Fashion Week, Day Three. JFW has been perhaps my trickiest gig to shoot so far. The weather is not cooperating. The scenery yields stubbornly few backdrops. And the opportunities to stop people for pictures are limited. Many people, especially local celebrities, head straight to their cars after the shows. Their drivers are signaled while they're still inside. Jakarta is just not a walkers' city. The most walking anyone in the middle-class or above ever does is in the mall. So I've found myself hanging out in front of the mall with a couple of other street style photographers. We wait, talk, watch people coming by. Mostly wait. I have taken only a small fraction of the number of pictures I take at New York Fashion Week. This gig, by comparison, is super chill. No jumping from venue to venue. No rush from front stage to back. No competing with hordes of other photographers with better cameras and cooler kicks. But there are interesting people here, like the designer Lenny Augustin shown above. I saw her from a hundred yards away and waited patiently, while she posed for innumerable selfies, for her to finally come my way.

Since shooting street style hasn't been entirely productive at JFW, I've been going to shows, press conferences, and talks instead, taking rigorous field notes, chatting with photographers, bloggers, and other people in the local industry. Many of the events at JFW are organized by foreign embassies (India, Thailand, South Korea) and non-profits in efforts to foster creative collaboration between countries. One of my favorite shows so far was put on by the British Council, who pairs British designers with Indonesian designers to produce fashion lines together. Lekat X Billie Jacobina was the one I liked best. The British Council also provides internships and other opportunities with local designers, as they do in various other countries throughout the world. JFW, thus, becomes a proxy stage for projects of national development. There's an academic article to be written about all this, and believe me, I'm on it. But I've got four more days of JFW to get through first.

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