Julian Sihombing’s “Split Second, Split Moment”: Be Like a Thief!


Photographers—either professionals or hobbyists—share the common belief that journalistic photos (or simply known as news photos) are measured by their ability of forcing members of the next generation to feel the moments captured within the photos. Photojournalists are challenged to make use of the split-second momentum to produce timeless photos which are capable of revealing the natural depth of the actual events and recovering them for the next generations.

After exhibiting his journalistic photos in Bali (July 2010) and Jakarta (September 2010), Julian Sihombing now brings his photo exhibition entitled “Split Second, Split Moment” to Yogyakarta, exhibited at Bentara Budaya, Kotabaru, from April 5 to April 13.

Julian had formerly worked for the popular Jakarta-Jakarta magazine and later on joined in Kompas daily as a photojournalist, where he has been a photo editor for the past three years. In the introduction of the exhibition, F.X. “Efix” Mulyadi—Bentara Budaya Executive Director—wrote that the moments captured in Julian’s photos “were those crucial moments belong only to the well-prepared, photographers who have done their homework, whose sensitivity has been polished, whose visual intelligence has been refined, and who use their intuition in their trade.”

Photo by Widiana M.

In a talk with Exposure magazine after the opening ceremony, Julian explained how to capture those split-second momentums, “Photojournalists should be like a thief. You watch over the moments and decide the right timing. Above all, as all thieves should be, you should know how to get in and how to get out.”

Julian also mentioned that each of his photos has their own difficulties and challenges; be it a photo of a rider falling off his motorbike, transportation traffic and crowd during the Lebaran holidays, or some prestigious photos taken inside the presidential house. He said jokingly, “Taking photos of the presidential life—like one of the late President Soeharto—offers special challenge; I mean, it always get me nervous.”

When asked about the particular growth of photography in Yogyakarta, Julian gave an enthusiastic praise, “This city is very much dangerous; it’s critical, in a positive manner. Not only do Yogyakarta bear numerous photography communities, but it is also rich of ideas and expressions.” In addition, Julian had just appointed guest mentor for Kelas Pagi Yogyakarta, and had just shared his knowledge and experience in photography during a class at Kelas Pagi, last Sunday.

Photo by Widiana M.

Before called up to the stage to present a song during the opening ceremony, Julian summarized, “Talking about journalistic photos, they should be more than just pictures; they should be a language we can all use to communicate with others.” Following Yogyakarta, Julian is about to prepare to bring the “Split Second, Split Moment” photo exhibition to Bandung and Padang.

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