On assignment in Temanggung

Temanggung, Central Java, INDONESIA. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2011

I went to Temanggung last Monday to shoot an editorial assignment for a German magazine. Not going to tell about the assignment or the magazine now though; will have to wait until they publish it next year (it’s for February 2012 issue).

I got the assignment from the writer, whom I have met for a few times before, though we didn’t know each other then. I literally just found out that she is a German freelance writer who has been living in Indonesia for more than ten years. She said she likes my work, and she recommended me to the magazine’s photo editor. She first called me to ask whether I would be available for a one-day-assignment to a remote area in Temanggung, Central Java. After I confirmed my availability, she forwarded my contacts to the photo editor. He then contacted me—emails and phone calls. He said he loves my work, too. (You DO know how it feels when an editor says he LOVES your work, right?)

I then contacted the writer back, since we thought we should meet up first to get to know each other, as well as to discuss about the assignment. This is my first time working for that magazine. Also the first time for the writer, so she could not tell me what the magazine is like. But she did tell me some of her colleagues have worked for them and so far so good, so let us give it a try, and take the assignment. And so, on the assigned date, we traveled together to Temanggung, we got to know the people, she did interviews, I took photographs.

Along the way from Yogyakarta to Temanggung, while there, and on the way back, she shared some of her experiences. How she got started, how she fitted herself in Indonesia when she first came during the turmoil in 1998, how she with some colleagues started a network of international writers, how a lot of publications all of a sudden wanted to hire her shortly after the 2004 tsunami, and how she got tired covering disasters and started to concentrate more on cultural issues, in which Indonesia is very rich.

Very nice assignment, I say. It wasn’t really difficult; the subjects are very nice, and also both the writer and the photo editor have encouraged me to shoot just as I like. From the subject, I learnt about ecologically friendly, sustainable business. And from the writer, I learnt about working as freelance correspondent, too. All in a day. Super. Now get back to other ongoing projects—yes it’s plural, I am working on several projects at a time this year-end. Wish me luck!

P.S.: It’s raining today, marking the beginning of the rainy season.

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