Oscar Motuloh: Photo courtesy of Natasha Gabriella and Whiteboard Journal
Oscar Motuloh: Photo courtesy of Natasha Gabriella and Whiteboard Journal

Oscar Motuloh is one of the most influential figures in Indonesia’s photography and photojournalism community. In charge of ANTARA, the premiere Indonesian photojournalism gallery and agency, Motuloh has been one of the few people pushing photography as both an art form and a medium for social change.

Whiteboard Journal recently sat down and talked to him about photography, social movements and making photographs in Indonesia through the fluctuating social conditions.

This era of technology advancement has really helped the world and my profession; because photography can now be sent in an instant online and people can receive news quicker. So the function makes it dynamic. But beyond the advancement and efficiency of what technology offers, you can’t idolize its existence, because in the end, photography is photography, no matter how advanced the technology may be.

Photography still needs to be directed by the person behind it. People with their common sense, ability, intellect, knowledge, background and so on, has to have control over it. So technology is only part of the equation. People who utilize photography, people who utilize technology still need to develop themselves, or they will only be part of the technology. He/She will never be a photographer with their own individual character and use technology as means to express themselves.

If you use your mobile phones to capture an image, a professional photographer would probably protest and say “that is not photography”, because he may think photography has to be done extensively with effort. But in journalistic terms, in citizen journalism, it is the right to capture the moment, be it accidents and other events by phone at that moment.

Visit Whiteboard Journal to see the full interview.