Moeka Djakarta

Moeka Djakarta is a photographic exposition of Jakarta as seen through the eyes of three young men: Nicholas Hilman, Nicholas Raditya Santoso, and William Tan.  

Nicholas Hilman, Nicholas Raditya Santoso, William Tan

Driven by passion for their work and for their city, what began as little more than a school Personal Project assignment quickly outgrew its origins to become a photographical testament of Jakarta in both the past and present tense.  

Aiming neither to praise nor to criticize, Moeka Djakarta seeks only to portray Jakarta exactly as it is seen in everyday life by its many inhabitants. From the lowly slums to the skyscraping office complexes, from the dank landfills to the glamorous malls, from ancient Dutch buildings to modern contemporary architecture, Moeka Djakarta is meant to depict the true essence of the city of Jakarta, an essence which in our belief is often unacknowledged by the public.  

In this sense, Moeka Djakarta is truly unprecedented in scope, goal, and execution. In scope, because the photographs contained within it portray nearly every niche of life that is found in Jakarta. In goal, because this photographical depiction of this nation’s capital is meant solely to present a clear picture of the city’s current condition, without being mired in political or social agendas. In execution, because it was accomplished not by professional photographers and artists, but by three talented, dedicated and hardworking teenagers, who aim to dispel the notion that such level of artistic expression is limited only to adults.  

Our story

It all began with a tenth Grade project, where each student was required to complete a yearlong project as our final assessment. We had the opportunity to create anything we pleased without any barriers, and thus, the possibilities were endless. Coincidently, we are all photography and design enthusiasts, and with that, we decided to unite our interests and develop it into a photo book.  

However, what started as a school project became a pursuit of a greater dream. We wanted to take this project to a different level. It occurred to us that very few coffeetable books were ever published about Jakarta in its current state. Lengthy texts and lifeless photos are the common form of expressing the true face of our beloved city.  

Jakarta is the melting pot of Indonesia, where the diverse cultures in Indonesia coalesce, and it is this idea we wanted to capture and embody in a meticulous highend coffee-table book.  

Yet, the fuel of our motivation did not end there. Our ultimate vision in creating this photo book is to set a prime example that would drive the youth of Indonesia to strive for higher dreams. Many teenagers choose to rather spend time not being productive and nonchalantly hang out at malls instead.

We believe they are detrimental to Indonesia’s future, which is why one way of moving our country forward is to motivate and broaden the horizons of these teenagers. Learning rudimentary skills at school simply would not suffice. We wanted to prove to them that they could achieve so much more with the time and resources they have. We young people are capable!   And we certainly did not fall short of that vision.  

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