we will have been young

South-East Asian Photography Masterclass

"Looking at images and talking about them. Understanding what enables a photograph to obtain validity and to have a lasting effect on the viewer. Pigeonholing an image into its era as well as into the context of a photo series and reflecting on its changes stemming from this connection. Taking pictures yourself, showing them, and understanding how others may respond to them.

In summer of 2016, we met with twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries for a workshop in Penang, Malaysia. Over the course of five days we reviewed and discussed various images. Criticism was voiced and embraced. After this intense time in Malaysia everyone worked on their own project and continued to communicate with us and each other: Ideas and images were reviewed repeatedly, across different time zones and cultural boundaries. Equally important is that a group evolved out of the participating individuals that persists beyond the initial contact. This summer we will meet again to showcase the book and exhibition that results from this workshop that sought to combine individual efforts and collaborative work at the same time. The series of images have a common topic – ‘Youth’. Originating from this notion, each of the workshop participants’ task was to generate an idea, formulate it and eventually realise it. Sometimes this included failing and starting over.

Dennese Victoria experiments with the realm of possibility and observes what unfolds - her construction of an ideal family turns into a touching intimate play. Through his stark aesthetic, Alvin Lau shows us love in times of Tinder and we ask ourselves whether love has indeed become easier. Easy is the love between young homosexuals in Singapore, against all odds and beautifully depicted in the images of Lee Chang Ming. Likewise, Amrita Chandradas conveys the circumstances of life in Singapore with powerful portraits of a strong woman with a rare illness. Asrul Dwi deals with the stigmatisation of mentally ill youth in Indonesia and portrays them with a gentle touch.

With her poetic images, Yu Yu Myint Than introduces us to the dreams of a young woman in Myanmar who was severely abused and longs to return to her home village. In a small village in the Malaysian jungle Elliott Koon documents the journey of young Orang Asli who are growing up in a world caught between tradition and the modern age. The modern era in Vietnam appears slightly lost in reverie in the images by Linh Pham of people celebrating in Hanoi, relating to excessive isolation and the search for reorientation. Muhammad Fadli captures the eccentricities of modified scooters - extravagant constructions, nailed and welded – in his portraits of Indonesians with their prized possessions.

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia there is a house that once symbolized the rise of a new society - The White Building. Kanel Khiev shows us the inhabitants of this house before it is demolished to make way for future development. The story of the house that Geric Cruz embarks on is of a private nature. His memories of his own past are revived by a chance encounter with a young boy in his grandmother’s house in the Philippines where he spent most of his childhood. The time of adolescence in Thailand displays an invariable, almost military uniformity – clothing and hairstyle are orchestrated for all adolescents, leaving no room for individuality. Watsamon Tri-yasakda portrays transgender teenagers in their uniforms, with imagery that enlightens the issue and allows us to smile over the impositions of the present-day.

Youth is a universal subject; photography is a universal language. No matter how different photographers’ approaches and works, their images are intelligible to all. Every viewer is or will have been young eventually and everyone likes to look at what might be the future one day. Images rendering this visible, remain forever present. "
– Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse

The production of this book and the workshop have been supported by the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur.

100 copies available
15 x 20 cm, 176 pages + 24 text pages on warm yellow paper
open thread binding with 2 mm cardboard covers
offset print, in English and German
20 Euro (+shipping)
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