Berita tentang Komunitas Foto KLASTIC di Jakarta Globe.

Berita tentang Komunitas Foto KLASTIC di Jakarta Globe…

January 18, 2010

Marcel Thee

Quirky toy cameras. (Photo courtesy of Klastic)Quirky toy cameras. (Photo courtesy of Klastic)

Back to Basics With Simple Toy Cameras

The Internet is a great place to get people with the same obscure interest together. Witness Klastic, a community that celebrates the hobby of collecting and exploring the wonderful world of plastic toy cameras. But not just any toy cameras, only ones that — despite using the most basic technology and being marketed to children — can still be used to take actual photographs.

The members met through a thread on Kaskus, a well-known local Internet forum, and soon began arranging gatherings, exhibitions and workshops together.

The group officially began on Dec. 7, 2008, with a single forum thread.

Renaldy Fernando Kusuma, 21, the community’s official leader, says the thread originated from someone who was selling a toy camera.

“People were intrigued by it, more so than by the other things that were being sold in the forum. So the main thread itself seemed like a natural extension,” Renaldy said.

Soon the thread was seeing hundreds of new posts every day from people who were taking interest in these cute little gadgets that had the ability to produce such artistic pictures. Relying on outdated technology and simple designs the cameras produce a kind of “old school” Polaroid look.

Donny Pandega, the head of the Klastic Bandung branch, says, “We still use film in the midst of the digital era. [It’s] a very global warming-friendly camera.”

The community grew as members discovered more varieties of toy cameras — some of which were just coming on to the market — which added even more color to the burgeoning hobby.

The recent popularity of lomography — casual, snapshot photography using analog cameras — ties in to the toy camera movement; if the artistic photos of lomo cameras already fascinate so many people, the appeal of similarly priced cameras with additional bright colors and odd shapes seems like a no-brainer.

The members of Klastic soon felt the limitations of conversing solely through the Internet, and arranged their first official real-world gathering nearly one year ago, on Jan. 25, 2009.

Members came from Jakarta, Surabaya, Palembang, Batam, Malang and Yogyakarta to meet at a venue in Bandung.

The only requirement for joining the community is to have a lo-fidelity camera, which generally means a cheap, very basic camera. Although prices for these cameras start at Rp 5,000, some can be as expensive as Rp 6 million.

After the first meeting, members of Klastic began to regularly engage in activities together, including going out to take photos in groups at locations such as the tourist destination of Braga in Bandung and Monas in Central Jakarta.

A member of Klastic’s Bandung branch, Naluri Yuliani, says every member has a different approach to snapping photos.

“Some of us like to take panoramic pictures, some take human-interest shots, and some even take pictures of models.”

By May 2009, the numerous photo shoots had yielded enough results that the community decided to hold its debut exhibition, at a venue called Koffka in South Jakarta.

During the exhibition, they showed videos and slides of the photographs members had taken, as well as offering a look at the people behind the community.

There was also a workshop for novice users on how to use plastic and toy cameras, including underwater models.

At that point, 100 people had declared themselves members of the community, but over the past year membership has skyrocketed.

Renaldy says that today the eight Klastic branches — Jakarta, Surabaya, Malang, Balikpapan, Bandung, Medan, Yogyakarta and Solo — have an average membership of 150 people each.

The group has also become much more tight-knit. “We don’t treat each other solely as members of a community, but as family. That is why we tend to do a lot of things — even outside of cameras — with each other,” Renaldy says.

For example, he says a few years ago “the oldest member of the community had a baby, and all of us presented him with a specially-made photo album of our work, inspired by babies.”

The community seems to thrive on the limitations of the cheap gadgets they hold in their hands. Some members have even managed to turn disposable cameras into reusable picture-taker. Other members have swapped the basic “flash” option of cheap cameras for multicolored flashes that give a nightclub-feel to their photos.

The community is not limited to using only toy or plastic cameras, though, and some members use pinhole cameras.

These are extremely simple cameras that have no lens, and only a small-sized aperture in which the light needed to take a picture is able to travel. They are often homemade and can be constructed from a used box or even a tin can.

Many members also use second-hand cameras found at flea markets in Jakarta such as Pasar Baru and Pasar Senen.

The group’s Bandung deputy public relations officer and event organizer, 18-year-old Sumarno Sandiarjo, better known as Mono, says toy cameras require no special skills to operate.

“As long as you are able to load the film into the camera, everything else is easy — you just point, perhaps try to find good lighting, and you’re set to go,” he says, before laughing and acknowledging that he owns a collection of pink and yellow cameras.

Renaldy adds that he is proud of the openness the community endorses.

“It’s about affordable cameras — and an affordable hobby,” he said. “So we’ve always hoped that the people who join us do so not because it’s a trend, but because it’s their passion to create something out of nothing.”

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