[JOURNALBALI.COM-Denpasar] "Every two weeks, there are extinct native language in the world, every two weeks there is a cloth woven extinct from this earth. I tried to document the unique Balinese culture in this world, so as not to become extinct crushed era, "said John Stanmeyer, in his speech at the launch of the book and the opening of a photo exhibition titled Island of the Spirit in Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort, Jimbaran, Bali, Thursday (9/12) ago.
John Stanmeyer just did a trip to Brazil, his heart was sad to see so many local cultural extinction due to globalization which tends to homogenize.
During this Stanmeyer so concerned about the local culture. For five years in Bali, he wandered around Bali photographing religious rituals and lives of farmers by using the most simple camera, the Holga. Plastic camera created in China in 1981 for the mass market, this 'toy' for $ 25 has become an icon among those who want to go back to the roots of photography and rebelled against the digital revolution.
The resulting photographs are reminiscent of early photographs prior to the discovery of a sharp lens and high-speed film. Mystery and emotional subject - trance dancers, cleansing rituals, waving the keris and cremation - was all the more emphasized by the luminosity, worldly atmosphere and the resulting movement of low light conditions and a slower shutter speed.
Besides carrying the antiquity of Bali, Stanmeyer not cover the effects of post-modern world. It captures motif tattoo on the body of youth who commit ritual 'cleansing' and when bathing in the river.
Other characteristics of the Holga look in beautiful photographic prints featured in this exhibition is a fuzzy dark frames resemble Daguerreotypes - one of the first forms of photography.
An experienced photographer like Stanmeyer understand the risk of accidents or failures when using film and a camera with a viewfinder and no light meter. Indeed, such 'opportunity' to create chances. The following results provide a pleasant relief from the corresponding homogeneous assured by an automatic digital camera. In the context of the Holga now we not only see but feel the grit.
The composition of the photographs are unique and asymmetrical. In "Melasti" we only see the arms and wavy blades of two dagger pointing to the sky. While in "Ubud Cremation" points only to a distant peak hand bade carried on the shoulders of the crowd restless.
Photographers who gets grace photography Robert Capa Award and the World Press Photo, this has worked in more than 70 countries mostly focused on conflict, social injustice and cultural extinction.
According to Bruce Carpenter, art writers and programmers Ganesha Gallery, the work of John Stanmeyer the Island of the Spirit is an achievement of the art of photography in his day, after Bali was first immortalized in photography by Gregor Krauser.
For five years John Stanmeyer with vibrant surround Bali, photographed in every corner of the island. "I am grateful for the help of my assistant Wayan Tilik and Juniartha of the Jakarta Post," said Stanmeyer. Stanmeyer Juniartha much help in defining every Balinese Hindu rituals. So the book Bali Island of the Spirit is an authentic documentation of visual anthropology. 
Haska / Photo: Gus Wira / JB