[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 be crushed to extinction times, "said John Stanmeyer, in his speech at the book launch 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 recently paid a visit to Brazil, his heart was sad to see so many local cultural extinction due to globalization that tends to homogenize.
During this Stanmeyer so care about the local culture. For five years in Bali, he traveled around Bali photographing religious rituals and lives of farmers by using the simplest camera, the Holga. Plastic camera was invented in China in 1981 for the mass market, this 'toy' for $ 25 has become an icon among those who want to return to the roots of photography and rebel 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 a dagger and cremation - is all the more emphasized by the luminosity, the earthly atmosphere and the resulting motion of the low-light conditions and a slower shutter speed.
Besides carrying the antiquity of Bali, Stanmeyer does not cover the effects of the post-modern world. It captures the tattoo motif on the body of youth who performed the ceremony 'Cleaning' and when bathing in the river.
Other characteristics of the Holga look in beautiful photographic prints featured in this exhibition is a dark fuzzy frame resembling 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 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 wavy arms and blades of the two dagger pointing to the sky. While in the "Cremation of Ubud" hand points to the far peaks bade them carried on the shoulders of the crowd restless.
Photographers who are gifted 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 in the Island of the Spirit is an achievement of the photographic art of his time, after the first Bali 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