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Analog Travel Story: Jakarta, Indonesia

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Traveling is always exciting. This is especially the case when you know you'll have fresh materials to capture with your film camera. To really capture the moments, I normally like to carry two cameras with me that are loaded with two different films, one in color and another one in black and white.

Before I travel I also like to do some research on the places I can visit, so I can imagine the type of photos that I would like to take, and the overall vibe I want to capture. Luckily for me, Jakarta is my hometown, so I know exactly what I want.

The city is filled with so much life and this is evident in the streets. The chaos from the traffic, pedestrians, and street vendors all combine into one big pile of film-worthy moments, and I want to capture them.

Travelling with a film camera

Shot with the Olympus AF-1 and Kodak 400 TX film

I love traveling with my point-and-shoot cameras, and the Olympus AF-1 is one of my favorites so it's no surprise that I took it all the way to Asia with me. Not only are point-and-shoots normally lighter than SLRs, they also come in handy when you need to quickly take a photo. As the name suggests, you simply need to point, and shoot. There is no need to spend much time tinkering with the camera settings, which is a plus especially if you don't want to miss a moment.

As of the film, well... hate to tell you this but not much thought went into it, actually. All I knew was that I wanted a black and white film. I've shot with the Kodak 400 TX previously and liked it, so thought, why not?

See how the shots came out:

Skyscrapers in Jakarta, Indonesia

I wanted to capture an image of sky-scrapers that so define the city life in Jakarta. 'Lucky' for me I was stuck in quarantine at a hotel for almost two weeks, so I got myself a vantage point for my shot. Although now looking back at the photo I realized it isn't my favorite, and that I like my street photography better as it captures the micro-moments, and it's also more fun to shoot!

I went on a morning walk with my mom and saw this mountain of trash next to the street and I just had to capture it. You can see the 'truck' they use to collect trash on the top, and on the bottom, you can even see a kitten among all the trash. I'm really satisfied to have taken this in black and white as it adds character to it.

Here, the bottom photo shows the wheeled wagon that trash collectors use, parked in front of what seems to be an abandoned garage or house. On the gate you see graffiti saying "Erik jahat", which means "Erik is mean", and "Kota ini mau juara gares keras", which means "This city really wants to be a (soccer) champion". I personally love this as it depicts the people of the city and the issues that they care about.

The photo on top shows a street vendor preparing a meal. I wish I had spent more time capturing this photo so it doesn't feel so rushed, but I've got a long way to go until I feel comfortable taking photos of random strangers. So until then, this is what I get.

Shot with the Ricoh 35-EFS and Kodak Ultramax 400 film

Now comes the pictures in color.

I took the Ricoh 35 EFS with me as I just wanted to play around with it a bit more, and thought this would be a good chance to put it to the test. The Kodak Ultramax 400 was more of a conscious choice. I knew this film was going to deliver some bold saturation and I thought this would be good for capturing my Jakarta trip.

I'm really satisfied with the bottom photo as it just shows my mom in her daily routine of feeding the koi. I also like the moment I managed to capture in the top photo. I remember walking next to the railway and watching this young family sitting on the railway, thinking "I must get this shot".

Here we've got a market filled with bananas, a 3-wheeled bajaj filled with bananas, and a street vendor carrying a load of bananas. Bananas, bananas, everywhere... These are exactly the moments I wanted to capture in Jakarta, and I'm happy I had my film camera then.

And last but not least, here we have a collection of feral photos.

Final Thoughts

If I have to compare the results of the photos taken by the Olympus AF-1 and the Ricoh 35 EFS, I'd say, I wish I could have had two Olympus AF-1s with me. The moments captured with the Ricoh camera are just the ones I wanted, but the focus tends to be a bit off.

With the Ricoh 35-EFS, you'd have to manually set the focus, ie. distance to the object. However, the camera itself is a rangefinder, not an SLR. So you'd have to gauge the distance without actually seeing how it focuses on the viewfinder. Even if you're incredibly good at measuring distances, it would still be difficult to focus on smaller objects with this setup.

I like the films I've chosen for this trip. For my next trip, though, I already have my heart set on the Rollei Retro 400s with its deep black and contrast, and perhaps a 200-speed one for the color film.

Stay tuned!


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