What to say about Jakarta? It’s a vast, sprawling, congested mess of a place. A megacity of more than 30 million people with no obvious centre, it’s more than a little overwhelming for the first time visitor. It’s a difficult city to love, especially at first sight, but in between the multi-lane highways and behind the concrete blocks, there are pockets of humanity, regular neighbourhoods where regular people go about their everyday lives. There were moments when I felt like I was in my element – there’s nothing like wandering around a new place with a camera and a 35mm lens. But in between these moments were long periods spent sitting in traffic, or simply looking for a place to cross those multi-lane highways.
I think you’d need a lot of time and patience to really get to know this city. I just spent a couple of days there at the start of a month long trip through Java and Bali. In that short time, I barely scratched the surface of Jakarta. I can’t offer a comprehensive overview of the city with my photographs, but I can share a few portraits, some small fragments of Jakartan life. It’s my way of trying to show the city’s human face.
More from Jakarta, and elsewhere in Indonesia, coming soon.