New Internationalist

NG Swanti

August 2002

I was bored, hanging around waiting to go hunting. I figured out I could do the same thing with photojournalism, catching a story with pictures. This concept impressed me very much. However, it was hard to find the right story. Many ideas came and went. In 2000 I was working nine-to-five for a company in Jakarta. The Easter holiday was a great opportunity to take pictures. I was keen to watch a re-enactment of the ‘stations of the Cross’ in east Java. I spent three days in a quiet village and enjoyed shooting.

One picture became my favourite. I saw a worker finishing a statue of Jesus Christ. I had seen similar statues in churches, hanging on the wall above the altar. Here, a long way away from Jakarta, this statue was lying sprawled on the ground. It looked meaningless. Suddenly it reminded me of the current situation in Indonesia and I felt miserable. People don’t respect religion – it has become a political issue instead of a personal matter.

I come from a non-Catholic family, but I continued with this story in different places around Indonesia and learned more about Catholicism. I quit my nine-to-five job and became a professional photographer.

NG Swanti is 32 years old. She works as a photographer in Indonesia.

Drik Picture Library Ltd

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 348 This column was published in the August 2002 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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