Best Indonesian Photobook of 2016

2016 was atrocious.

We saw too many deaths, Donald Trump won the US presidential election, Indonesian (especially Jakartans) were widely divided over the governor election which continued from the past presidential election.

On the other hand however, we never saw the Indonesian photobook scene so thrived before. There were publications, book tours, bookseller tours, photobook exhibitions, workshops and public interventions. We saw fresh new faces and old faces coming out with their latest work, some tried to figure out what they wanted to say and others seemingly understood on what they want to convey. We even notice that there’re independent photobook printers in Indonesia now; Kamboja Press and Binatang Press. The former publishes Vira Talisa’s and Tampan Destawan’s work and the latter, Anton Ismael’s.

In spite of what’s happening in the world, we have never been so happy looking at the scene thrived like this. Hopefully 2017 will bring something more exciting to the table now that the bar has been raised.

Without further ado, here’s the best Indonesian photobook of 2016 that caught our eyes. For a reminder here’re the criteria that we used:

  • Published in Indonesia
  • Published in 2016
  • Featured photographs made by Indonesians
  • The book should be able to captivate viewers
    to revisit the work.
  • The photographs should be able to make the
    viewers feel as though they are in the scene portrayed.
  • The publication should have physical qualities
    that support the above criteria.

In no particular order:

credit: Rian Afriadi

Some people will loathe the design, others will love it. The book was born under the collaboration of Rian Afriadi and Natasha Gabriella Tontey. It felt like story book with a dark twist at the end of it, which make sense since we’re looking at a false star. All in all the photographs in the book make a sense of what Rian wanted to convey, the design and the texts do too. I just wished that they could use other paper for the photographs.


credit: Flock Project

The book offer endless experimentations and collaborations, the two things that we believe in as well. As a result, these books are quite tightly edited and highly produced, albeit we probably already saw the ideas somewhere else. The Flock guys has also been pushing boundaries; creating bridge between other communities, producing zine, and generally having that funny sense of humour, something that’s rare between photographers today.



Credit: Gregory Rusmana

What’s with Surakarta? every year the photobook that coming from that city always consisted of contrasting black and white, creating an impression that the city only offer dark bleak thoughts. After N is no different, however it’s refreshing to see how Greg has offered his own view (he edited his own work this time) since he got married. Our only concerns is of course the paper, since we believe that good photographs deserve the best paper that could suits it.



  • Honorable mention: #WISTAU by Flock Project

credit: Flock Project

Pokes fun at people that take things seriously: check.

Self depreciating humour: check.

Social commentary: check.

Designed and contain that spirit that only zine can convey: check.




That’s it! and we’ll be looking forward to what 2017 will offer.

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