Worldwide Voyage crewmembers visited the small fishing village of Amed along the eastern shore of Bali to learn how community members are protecting their natural resources through photography amid an influx of tourism.
“Our foundation, Lensa Masyarakat Nusantara, strengthens and mentors the community. One way is through photography. They are documenting important things such as the development of tourism in their area as well as the social-economic condition,” said Saraswati Sangayu, Indonesia Program Coordinator of Photovoices Indonesia.
“For us, this photography program, Photovoices, really helps. In our culture, it is difficult to convey a meaning through words. By not saying much, but by showing through photos, people will have a better understanding the situation that we are trying to convey,” said Made Wektu, a community member and photographer.
“In a place like Indonesia, where we don’t speak the language, sometimes things get lost in translation. And so when you see beautiful images of pristine coral reefs juxtaposed with plastic bags in the ocean or a major flooding event, it’ll grab the eyes of the tourist or someone who doesn’t quite connect with a place, or even locals who never realized those issues before. And that starts the conversation,” said Worldwide Voyage crewmember Jenna Ishii.
“From the process they are able to map out important things such as economic potential, which can be developed in the future and about the environmental impacts, which may come out of tourism. These are interesting points that are starting to be documented which the community can work on together for the future,” said Saraswati.
“Through taking many pictures, it enabled me to see my environmental conditions. It enabled me to focus on the small details in my environment. Things that require improvement, or the good things that can be shown to the public to see what’s bad, what’s lacking, what’s being destroyed and what needs improvement. It enabled us to convey those messages better,” said Made.
“Today we have an amazing opportunity to bring together, traditional fishermen, the government, some NGOs and even photographers who are coming together for the first time welcoming us as guest to share with us how they deal with some of the major issues that we all deal with in ocean protection,” said Jenna.
“Having the community producing their own photos means information and material for community partners that are working in conservation. The community now has an equal position rather than being objects to be interviewed since they can create their own information. “These are my photos, this is my situation, and I am thinking to do something in the future about this condition” said Saraswati.
“My initial understanding was that a camera is used only to take pictures; there was nothing more to it than that. But after the photos I took were printed and displayed, it enabled me to see the power of my photos,” said Made.
“When we look at these photos, it’s like looking back to what used to be , what is currently happening, and what can be done for the future,” said Saraswati.
“I feel like everything is easier through photos. If we look a
t things only with our eyes, the attention is dispersed and lacks focus. But through the camera, we see things clearly,” said Made.