A multiple international award-winning photography book by Lans Brahmantyo. Regular and Limited Collectors Edition (of 20) are available from Afterhours Books (firstname.lastname@example.org). Follow: @LansBrahmantyo
Co n t e n t sIntroduction 8 Quiet Moments 56Soliloquy Photography 10 Good vs Evil 69Cairo 18 A ‘Free Market’ 78Sinai 20 Free Spirit of Light 94Old City of Jerusalem 22 Missed but Not Regretted 107Bethlehem 24 Eureka! 129Nazareth 26 Biography 132Galilee 28 Acknowledgements 134The Message, The Blessing 32 Colophon 136An Unexpected Other World 44
“It would be very interesting to preserve photographically not the stages but the metamorphoses of a picture. Possible one might then discover the path followed by the brain in materializing a dream.”Pablo Picasso < ‘lost’ mount carmel > ‘home’ – old city of jerusalem
INTRODUCTION8 The Middle East brings up many gruesome images of violence, terrorism, suicide bombs, wars, prejudice, and religious conﬂicts. It was never on my list as a place to visit—at least not in the short-term. Furthermore, Indonesia does not have a diplomatic relationship with Israel for reasons I could never comprehend. My mother, Katharina, has visited the region three times before on pilgrimage tours. So has my wife, Yvonne. And yet, despite what they had experienced and told me, somehow I was never quite able to imagine enjoying myself there. In addition, the idea of going to what is supposedly God’s home-ground to the three big religions of the world brought out a feeling of uneasiness in me.
It was November 2004 when my Mom asked me again After a few days, I was quite amazed by the region’s During this trip, many wonderful and miraculous events 9if I would accompany her on a Christmas trip to the Holy contrasts; from the dusty, rocky deserts of Egypt with took place. As we were entering Israel, the story inLand and also a visit to Petra, Jordan... Petra?! Now, that its dark-skinned, wrinkled people to the lush green, Genesis of how the Jews were roaming around the Sinaiwas a very enticing proposition as it is a famous and orderly, hi-tech Israel with its white-skinned Jews, to the Desert for 40 years before they were allowed by God toappealing site for me to photograph. Petra is the location depressing and poor Palestinian lands and people, to the enter the Promised Land was actually something I couldof the last Indiana Jones ﬁlm. It is surely at the top of my rocky, mountainous roads of Jordan, all within just a few relate to my personal situation as a secular man. I mustlist of possible destinations, followed by the Pyramids hours drive. As this was supposedly a pilgrimage, there say the religious and historical aura of the places wein Giza. I wasn’t even thinking about Sinai, Jerusalem was hardly any free time for me to really explore and ﬁnd visited was very strong. But nothing could top the mostand the other Israeli-Palestinian sites. Preparations places to photograph, other than times when we were unexpected experience for a secular man like myself:went smoothly as I got approval from my wife to take souvenir shopping, which, thank God, can last a good I was so warmly ‘touched’ by the Holy Spirit in Marah,the 14-day journey with my Mom and sister, Dita. So in hour or even more for Indonesian tourists. Egypt that from then on I could no longer question God’slate December, off we went on a Gulf Air ﬂight via Abu existence and the blessings in my life. A ‘sightseeing’Dhabi and Bahrain to Cairo. I was, to my surprise, in an trip to Petra turned into a real pilgrimage for me and, inextremely good mood and looking forward to this new the end, a very personal ‘soul odyssey.’ This is my storyexperience. After all, I did think I needed to take a break and my thoughts as captured through the viewﬁnder offrom my daily chores. my cameras. Lans Brahmantyo
SOLILOQUY PHOTOGRAPHYThe lengthy Trojan War had just ended. The rancid smell After the war ends, Homer continues with ‘The Odyssey.’ In SOUL ODYSSEY by Lans Brahmantyo, the journey is 11 of blood from the embers of the battleﬁeld is still vivid in In the style of a tale, the story revolves around Odysseus, but a route. It is like a process by which his determination the mind of Odysseus, the king of Ithaca. With a look of the veteran warrior who inspired the making of the becomes a destination. His photographic creation can be fury and a broken heart, he remembers the souls of his famous giant ‘Trojan horse,’ and his long journey back to called a ‘visual soliloquy’ because of the way it expresses fellow warriors, especially his brave best friend Achilles his homeland of Ithaca where he believes that his family a yearning for a very personal spiritual enlightenment. who died at the Skae gate. His chest is severely bleeding is still alive. It is a two-decade long journey of that tests Never without a camera, Brahm, as friends usually call from an arrow shot by Paris, the son of Priam, king of Troy. both body and soul, and is full of great adventures and him, captured a variety of events and activities thatThe arrow actually comes from a bow guided by the god challenges. ‘The Odyssey’ is a dangerous journey, full of touched his heart during his pilgrimage to the Old CityApollo, who hated Achilles. Love triggered the war. Paris’s tests of survival and sacriﬁce for Odysseus, who battles of Jerusalem and several locations in the Middle East, all love for and kidnapping of the beautiful Helen caused the raging seas. He survives them all because of his deep of which have a historical and spiritual signiﬁcance. With it. As soon as Menelaus, Helen’s husband and the king longing to be reunited with his beautiful wife Penelope, a solemn reverence for his surroundings, he let his heart of Sparta, became aware of the kidnapping—according and their child Telemachus. His strong faith in being control his ﬁnger in pressing the shutter. In this case, to ‘The Iliad’ by Homer—in anger, he orders his armadas reunited with his family makes him decline Calypso’s offer the eyes were but the windows of the soul. A number of to sail across the sea to reclaim his wife, to destroy Troy’s of immortality with her. The hedonistic Calypso is Atlas’s personal symbols and signs appeared and became things walls and to conquer the city-state. Achilles accepts daughter and has fallen in love with Odysseus. But his of beauty. They expressed what was happening and what Odysseus and Nestor’s invitation to participate in the war, goal is to return to Penelope. Odysseus survives his quest, he felt during his spiritual enlightenment. despite having foreseen his own demise during the siege. despite numerous setbacks and ultimately returns home, Fate has prepared him. He has chosen a short but glorious all in the name of love. life, instead of settling for a long but uneventful life.‘The Iliad’ is a saga about Achilles’s choice to live a short but digniﬁed life as a warrior and be remembered through the ages.
12 With his photography equipments, Brahm seemed to The style of pilgrimage photography offered by Brahm is In SOUL ODYSSEY, the simplicity of angles stands out in be practicing a ritual, taking pictures that at times were similar in concept to that of the German photographer, his photographs and, thus, illustrates his explicit strength. spontaneously captured because of spiritual stories he Peter Bialobrzeski, when he made his spiritual journey Using this realistic approach, Brahm is successful in obscurely remembered. As a child, Brahm was often to India. However, it is different from the ideas of Max recording the meeting point between the perceptions of absent from his Sunday school classes but on this journey, Pam for whom the panorama of a place is really only a the conscious mind in seeing a location at a particular it seemed that his spiritual memory was reawakened. footnote on the trip. It is also different from the style of time and the subconscious connection with a place and He is not a professional photographer, but photography Peter Beard who regards his journey as an escapade full time that is already recorded in the memory. Pressing was invented for anybody who wants to express himself of satyrs. Brahm presses the shutter innocently in order to the shutter can be interpreted as ‘blowing a soul’ into the visually. His profession as a graphic designer and collector get something that touches his feelings and that leaves a images as well as creating the shape. In addition, it is like of paintings and antique art books give him a suitable memorable impression. connecting time and space along parallel lines, erasing aesthetic background for his photography. His artistic geographical points on the world map. Feelings, energy, touch and documentary approach often ﬁll his work with intuition, and photographic techniques seem mixed a realistic, human sensibility. together when the decision to press the shutter is made.
Once, on his way home from Chama Alley to Santa With that idea in mind, let us have a look at the ﬁrst Another reﬂection of this phenomenon can be seen in the 13Fe, New Mexico, the late Ansel Adams was amazed by photograph of SOUL ODYSSEY, an image selected as ‘the photograph of a monk praying solemnly in the Churcha panorama he noticed and hastily prepared his 8 x 10 front gate’ of the book. Heavy clouds are rolling over the of the Transﬁguration in Mount Tabor. Brahm made thecamera to capture the image. He had to race against time, Old City of Jerusalem, taken from the angle of Mount monk the subject of the photograph in an asymmetricalas the clouds were moving in a direction that was visually Olive. It is one of the strategic vantage points for enjoying composition. It gives the impression that the subjectless dramatic. The ‘Moonrise at San Hernandes, New the Old City of Jerusalem with its Dome of the Rocks stands out with the black stonewall in the background, butMexico’ was, thus, created and became one of his greatest (El Aqsa Mosque) standing ﬁrmly in the middle of the its texture appears soft. Or, take the case of the photographworks. The dramatic image he created was the result of scene. In the foreground is a Jewish cemetery covering of a middle-aged man wearing modern attire walkinghis accuracy in recording a natural phenomenon that the area, while in the background there are a number of along Al Mujahideen Road. It is one of the routes of thewas already decided by the photographer’s inner soul. It tall buildings representing modern western Jerusalem, Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa). Or, the image of a black-came into existence when he saw the moonbeams that set inhabited almost exclusively by Jews. Look at the cover skinned woman in her bright white cloak standing inalive the ﬁeld of coarse grass in the graveyard behind the of the book. A symbol of enlightenment is shown in the front of an Ethiopian Orthodox church wall near Christ’sold San Hernandes village church. One of this maestro’s picture of Musa, the son of a Bedouin café owner. The café tomb. Or, consider the photograph of the silhouette of twospecial qualities was his sensitivity to his own intuition is at the foot of Mount Sinai. When the photo was taken, old Egyptian women who are walking through one of thewhen taking a dramatic natural panorama and making it the sun accidentally created a ﬂare that resembles a halo alleys near the Giza pyramids. Dominated by black, raisednot only beautiful, but also alive as if it had a soul. from heaven on the celluloid’s infrared. hands, it creates a silhouette with a hidden mystery.
14 Another work captures the shadows of bars reﬂected on Then, there is Suleiman, a young man who works at a One important aspect of the book is that Brahm has the rough stone surface on which the body of Christ was coffee/tea house. He is standing in front of a chapel on chosen photography to visually express his very personal, once laid to rest on Good Friday and gloriously risen 2000 top of Mount Sinai. It seems that Brahm has recorded a spiritual experiences. Sharing and showing visual records years ago. This work, along with the image of the horrible scene he remembered from the biblical story of Moses of private feelings has become a means of positive Armageddon area in Megiddo, has the power to make one who, he imagined, once stood on the same spot when he interaction between people. Words can only become part quiver. The picture of the portrait of the late Yasser Arafat brought the Ten Commandments to his people. There of a strong work of photography. The cool and soft images hanging in the administrative ofﬁce of the Church of the is also a group of seagulls ﬂying peacefully over the offered by Brahm’s photographs contrast with Jerusalem, Nativity in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born—the picture stern of a tourist’s boat in the Sea of Galilee. Look at the so-called ‘City of Peace.’ It has a gloomy history with sees the portrait as having great charisma, although its the photographs of the quiet and peaceful Garden of many tears and much bloodshed. Besides Christ’s blood position is like that a caged bird, much like the life of Gethsemane. Palestinian children are playing in the street that dripped along the Via Dolorosa until death took Him Yasser Arafat himself who governed his people from an in Jericho, the oldest city in the world. And an interesting in Golgotha, there are thousands of other deaths caused ofﬁce surrounded by Israeli soldiers. work that ends this collection, a photograph in which one by conﬂicts and wars which have occurred and which black-skinned pilgrim is raising his hands, having just continue in the Holy Land even today. received some kind of spiritual enlightenment.
The ‘City of Peace’ has been occupied by a numerous 15warriors and nations. They include Nebuchadnezzar,Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Persians, theOttomans (who built the walls with three towers and sevengates surrounding the center of the Old City in 1540), theBritish, and the repressive Israeli government that hascaused so many years of suffering for the Palestinians.The Holy City was surrounded at least 50 times, occupied36 times, and destroyed 10 times. ContemporaryJerusalem is an exhausted and fatigued old Holy City. Sheis tired of the violence and bloodshed that continue tooccur within her walls. Therefore, let the message of peaceblow with SOUL ODYSSEY and ﬂourish, especially in thelands of the oppressed, everywhere on this planet.Oscar Motuloh
CAIRO18 Cairo—the jewel of North Africa, While the City of Cairo sprang from The skyline of Cairo was quite clear the city of a thousand minarets, the foundations of a ‘recent’ town, and blue, but the horizon on that the melting pot of ancient and the area around Cairo was originally December day was a bit on the dusty modern Egyptian civilizations, and settled in Paleolithic times and side because of the desert landscape. a triumphant city—is the capital of developed in Neolithic times. It was The aura of a third-world country Egypt. With over 17 million people, Menes, the legendary ﬁrst King-God was very strong although well it is the largest city in the Middle of the Dynastic period, who united camouﬂaged when evening came East and Africa and extends along Egypt and established his capital and the belly dancers performed on the banks of the Nile River and to in Memphis—15 miles south of a cruise on the Nile. the south of its fertile delta. Cairo. Nearby Memphis was the contemporary religious center of On located in the community the Greeks called Heliopolis. < ‘summit’ – al muallaqa church cairo ‘sanctuary’ – khafre’s pyramid giza
SINAI20 All three of the West’s great So, from Sinai begins one of the religious traditions—Judaism, Bible’s most memorable sagas. No Christianity and Islam—recognize story has done more to put Sinai on Sinai as a holy land, a vast expanse the map than Exodus, and for many, traversed by time and again by a visit to the land where manna fell prophets, saints, pilgrims and from heaven and Moses received warriors. Sinai is most familiar the Ten Commandments is nothing to many as the ‘great and terrible short of a pilgrimage. Many of the wilderness’ through which Moses places mentioned in Exodus such and the Israelites wandered for forty as where the Israelites crossed the years. Many of the world’s most Red Sea or where they ﬁrst set foot memorable conquerors have passed in Sinai are actually still unknown. through Sinai as well. The Arab– However, the place called Marah Israeli conﬂicts of the last century mentioned in Exodus is precisely raged across the Sinai as well and known and still exists. their passage is still evident in the ghostly wreckage that marks certain parts of the Suez. ‘egalité’ – mount sinai
OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM22 The Old City of Jerusalem—the Her streets have for tens of I arrived in Jerusalem on Christmas The kibbutz is a unique rural Mountain of God—is like a thick centuries been the front lines Eve. Celebrations were quite community, a society dedicated book with each page another of holy conﬂicts between potent subdued compared to Christmas in to mutual aid and social justice chapter in its history. In each period, theological and cultural forces. The Indonesia. No posters or billboards which fulﬁlls the idea ‘from each different people and rulers stamped city has been burnt and ruined by for special Christmas sales or big, according to his ability, to each their particular mark on the face of devastating sackings and sieges ﬁfty colorfully-lit Christmas trees. Rather, according to his needs.’ The kibbutz the city. The walls that surround the times in thirty centuries. Over and Christmas was celebrated within children performed a staged drama Old City today were built during the over, often in the name of God, her families at home. I celebrated of the birth of Christ after a nice Ottoman period by Sultan Suleiman streets have run with blood, and her the cold and rainy Christmas in a dinner. It was a simple but touching the Magniﬁcent in the sixteenth temples have been razed to rubble. kibbutz of Christian Jews on the Christmas. I felt the real Christmas century. Today, one enters the city outskirts of Jerusalem. spirit and how humble a Christmas through seven gates (An eighth gate, should be. The Golden Gate, in the eastern wall of the Temple Mount was sealed by the Muslims). The gates lead to the different quarters of the Old City: the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Muslim Quarter. ‘struggle’ – al mujahideen road jerusalem
NAZARETH24 Nazareth, the ‘City of Annunciation,’ One of the largest and most is the city of Mary, the Virgin magniﬁcent churches in the Holy Mother of Jesus where the angel Land is the Catholic Church of the Gabriel revealed to Mary the Annunciation, built over the place imminent birth of John the Baptist where the angel Gabriel appeared to and Jesus. It is also the largest Arab Mary. Dedicated in 1969, the new city in Israel. Picturesque red roofs structure is built on two levels in and white stone churches ramble order to integrate and preserve the haphazardly down the slopes of this ancient site. ancient Galilee hillside, the summit of which overlooks the panorama of the entire Jezreel Valley. ‘abandoned’ – nazareth from the foothills of mount tabor
BETHLEHEM26 Bethlehem, currently under the In Bethlehem, I missed my bus for Suddenly, from a distance I heard Palestinian authority, lies only 5 km the ﬁrst time. I was busy chatting someone screaming my name: to the south of Jerusalem. It has its and photographing with street “Brahm! Brahm! Brahm!… Are you own special character and is a site souvenir sellers, a falafel café Brahm?” He was in a VW Jetta of great signiﬁcance in the stories owner and several young men in when I came up to him. “Hop in. of the Old Testament. Located on that evening on my way out of the Where did you go? Your group has the mountain road which, from Church of Nativity. I was thinking left and they are waiting for you ancient times, linked the main that my group was still behind me now,” he told me. Obviously for him, hilltop cities of Samaria, Schecem, for a while until I realized my bus I was quite easy to ﬁnd as I look Bethel, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and had left its parking spot. Forcing different from the locals and there Hebron. Bethlehem’s location at the myself not to panic, I roamed were not many Oriental tourists left edge of the desert made it a meeting in and out of the small streets in the area. My ‘rescuer’ worked place for farmers, shepherds and hoping my bus was just moved to at a souvenir shop frequented by the nomadic peoples of the desert. another space. Indonesian tourists who was kind In Hebrew, ‘Bethlehem’ means enough to look for ‘the missing ‘House of Bread.’ In Arabic, it man.’ As he drove me back to where means ‘House of Meat’. Either way, I was supposed to be, I imagined Bethlehem’s rural setting gives it a the look on the faces of my fellow very special, pastoral atmosphere. travelers when they saw me. But, lucky for me, they were still too busy shopping for souvenirs to notice my return. ‘pacifier’ – church of the nativity bethlehem
GALILEE28 The Sea of Galilee and the fertile The upper Galilee has no cities. It’s Galilee has a tradition of political valleys surrounding it are like an rural and remote. It’s located in the autonomy. It’s a kind of quasi- earthly Garden of Eden. It is one highest hills of the land of Israel, a anarchistic ideal, that this loose of the most beautiful landscapes of very remote area along the borders tribal confederacy is ruled directly the entire Middle East region and of Lebanon with very treacherous by God. The term Galilean seems there are three major trans-Galilean terrain and isolated mountains. to connotate an outsider, an routes that link it east–west and only People speak Aramaic and Hebrew. non-traditional Jew who is either a few roads that go north–south. It Tiberias is the anchor city of lower rebellious or resurrectionist. Even is not by chance that these scenic Galilee, a less conservative region for some, the term Galilean also has shores provide the backdrop for so that is more open to change, a political meaning. Because of its many important events in the life where Greek-speaking people are distance from Jerusalem, Galilee of Jesus. It is 22 km long by 12 km quite plentiful. has become a center of not only wide and lies approximately 210 social dissent, but of economic meters below sea level. protest as well. ‘disconnected’ – sea of galilee > ‘genesis’ – mount sinai
THE MESSAGE, THE BLESSING32 “I have a special message from the In Exodus, Marah is where Moses We arrived there as the sun was I received my calling right at Holy Spirit for you! I don’t know and the Jews, who had just about to set. Scenically, there was sunset when Marianne grabbed what it is yet, but I can see it in your crossed the Red Sea and been nothing really special about it. Just my arms and took me to a more eyes and everything will be revealed saved from the Pharaoh’s army, an ancient water well in the middle secluded area. She held both my to you in Marah,” said Marianne, stayed temporarily. It’s where God of a desert just off the Suez Canal, hands, started praying and then the our Egyptian evangelist tour leader, turned the bitter-tasting water littered with cans and garbage, and words and messages from the Holy when she introduced herself to me into drinkable water and healed surrounded by traditional Bedouin Spirit just ﬂuidly came through on the bus in Cairo. Immediately, many diseases. stalls. There, we ﬁrst sang our her mouth, mentioning all my past I was thinking whether this was the praises and prayed for each other in wrongdoing, lust, bitterness, and reason why I had taken this trip. the chilly evening. No matter what disappointments that all eventually I didn’t even know where or what we did then, I was very anxious and led me to have a ‘yo-yo relationship’ Marah was—at least, not until she nervous to actually hear and receive with God. explained about it to the group on ‘the special message.’ our way to Sinai from Cairo.
It was such a powerful and precise Then, God asked me to submit my In Marah, God wanted me to 33delivery, and yet so comforting. soul to be cleansed by the blood become a better ‘son,’ a betterHe knew what I was thinking and of Jesus and commit myself to person, a better caring father to myfeeling even when words were not Him so that I could receive His family, a better friend to my friendsspoken. I tried to ‘debate’ Him... blessings right there. I’ve never so that they may also be spirituallytwice, and both times He instantly felt so thankful to still be given the blessed and come back or returncommanded me to not listen to the chance to be ‘corrected’ while I’m to Him. He also wanted me to relyvoice of the devil. That was enough still alive—that, in itself, was more solely on Him in everything I dofor me to beg for His mercy and of a blessing than anyone could ask as He will not disappoint me. Inforgiveness for not taking Him so for. A heavy weight had been lifted Marah, God touched and healed me.seriously in my 38 years of life. off my shoulders. It was like I had gotten a new lease on life.
AN UNEXPECTED OTHER WORLD44 “Hello my name is Musa! My father Then, another Bedouin boy came has a café down there, please help up to me. Mohammed Suleiman us, we’re poor people… come for was his name, and he begged me a drink of coffee, ok? The cafe is to give him money to get himself a number 5. Remember Musa Café,” new pair of jeans. He kept referring said an innocent-looking Bedouin to, and actually kind of forced me, boy who tapped my shoulder to notice the one-and-only pair of when I was having a moment of torn jeans he was wearing. I told contemplation at the summit of him that I only had 10 dollars left in Mount Sinai and enjoying the full my pocket… 1 dollar I had already view of the fantastic scenery of promised to use at Musa’s cafe rocks and the perfect blue sky after later, and the rest was to pay for the big, multi-racial crowds left the camel ride on my way back to the Sinai summit site at around 8 St. Catherine Monastery… but he am. Musa was collecting the rented kept insisting. Finally, he proposed blankets that people used to protect that I take photos of him and his themselves from the freezing wind. buddy Khaleb for two dollars. And I promised him a pair of jeans if I have the chance to visit Sinai again in the future.
On the way down, I looked for and Musa was only wearing leather The single click with the only At the St. Catherine Monastery, 45 visited Musa’s Café only to ﬁnd that sandals and socks, yet he walked infrared ﬁlm I had left produced Musa bid me farewell and did it was run by Musa’s father whose so quickly and with such ease an unexpectedly, otherworldly, not even ask for money. I gave name was also Musa and an elder along the rocky steps that I could stunning photograph—just as if him what I had left in my pocket, brother who was also Musa. Three hardly keep up with him. But, I was an enlightened and glowing Moses thanked him for accompanying me Musas in one morning—not a bad determined not to fall too far behind. was walking down Mount Sinai with and off he went into the Bedouin encounter. When I asked the elder The thin mountain air did not help the Ten Commandments as the sun crowds. It felt great to have made brother which path I should take to my breathing either, but there was ﬂared and the rock bowed down to friends with such exotic, ethnic go down from the summit, he told one instance when I just pushed honor him. Deﬁnitely one of my people. It deﬁnitely destroyed any me that he’d accompany me because myself to pass him, so I could take favorite shots from this trip. preconceived notions I had about he happened to have go back to his a photo of Musa from the front. He Bedouins as unfriendly, tricky,‘dormitory’ in St. Catherine too. It was very shy in front of the camera, extorting people. was a nice coincidence as I had been unlike his younger brother. To my left behind by my group and there dismay, I was also facing the sun were no more camels for rent. So I and didn’t even manage to measure went all the way down on foot. the light for such conditions. Yet, I clicked the shutter anyway with my already shaking knees as if there was no other chance.
QUIET MOMENTS56 In every church I visited, I noticed In Nazareth, I saw a priest walking On the rooftop of an Orthodox that there was almost always up and down an alley, ﬁnally church next to the Church of the someone engaged in a deep, quiet, settling on a white, plastic chair Holy Sepulchre, there was even spiritual conversation with God against the big, bare wall of the an Abbysinian monk who was just even when no one was around. And church. He was just looking straight standing ﬁrmly outside in the cold that does not exclude priests, nuns ahead, barely blinking his eyes. The as if he was guarding the site, and or pastors. They never seemed strange combination of furniture yet he was actually deep in prayer. to be bothered by the swarming materials immediately caught my And inside the Holy Sepulchre, an groups of tourists walking around, eye; a modern plastic chair and an Orthodox priest stood in a corner creating a buzz in the rooms in old-wooden Bible table. I took the and calmly closed his eyes. I could unrecognizable languages and picture as the priest was enjoying see from the lines in his forehead making noises with their cameras. a moment of contemplation that he was deﬁnitely not napping. In Bethlehem, an old nun stood in the not-so-quiet “church”, very still, fully concentrating on her purposely creating a tense, unusual prayer but with her eyes open. She composition that raises questions didn’t seem to notice me moving for those who view it. around looking for the best angle and composition to capture this intense moment. < ‘everlasting’ – el muallaqa church cairo ‘mystery’ – orthodox church jerusalem
GOOD vs EVIL Armageddon, according to the Bible, It was while enjoying this scenery But, it is how the good wins that 69 will be the ultimate war mark- that I realized that beneath this matters. When everyone chooses to ing the end of the world. The idea peaceful surface there may very see good things, hear good things, brings horrible images of death and well be a battle raging. That inside speak good things and feel good destruction. But these images are in a very peaceful-looking or even a things then there will be a real peace stark contrast to the peaceful, lush religious individual, there is always among humanity. And that can green valley of Megiddo on the west- that battle between good and evil. only start by ﬁrst having a peaceful ern edge of the Jezreel Valley from That there is ‘Armageddon’ inside relationship with God. the top of Mount Carmel, where every man when they speak, see Armageddon is supposed to begin. things, hear things, touch things, and taste things.‘hope’ – jericho
A ‘FREE MARKET’78 It was a big relief for me that we did I had my share of bad and good On the other hand, in Giza, while not visit any big, modern shopping luck when it came to meeting I was shooting the street market, I malls during this trip. Traditional people in the market. Some sellers met this kind-looking, dark-skinned marketplaces still exist and provide were aggressive in offering their and wrinkled Egyptian man, named a different perspective on the merchandise, some just sat around Tabba, who was carrying a basket lifestyle of the people in that region. waiting for a transaction to happen. of bread on his shoulder from his They are always such an exotic But once I ran into this one old Arab house to his store across the main feast for my eyes and other senses. man selling tobacco and cigarettes street in Giza. I was hungry at that Everything about the marketplace: in a store near the Church of the moment, perhaps from waiting the narrow, ﬁlthy and slippery Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He for the shoppers to ﬁnish their alleys; the lack of proper lighting suddenly got very, very upset while purchases of Papyrus artwork. even during the day; stepping over I was ‘observing’ his unique store I smiled at him, stopped him and the patches of water puddles; the with my cameras on my shoulder. quickly grabbed one bread. Then I smell of freshly-baked breads or the He practically screamed what I asked him if I could buy the bread, freshness of fruits and vegetables; supposed were all bad words and but only had ten American dollars. the colorful jewelries and clothing; made strong gestures even though I I asked if he had any change. It the sneaky cats and dogs searching wasn’t shooting with my camera. was really a silly question as he had for left-over food, and even the sight I could not understand what he was done no business that morning… of lamb hung on a meat rack. An saying. Anyway, I got the message, It turned out to be my lucky day anti-mall environment that has quickly made an apologetic because he offered me three pieces become rare and under-appreciated gesture and left the store. From a of bread and returned the cash. these days. few meters away, I could still his He said with a big smile, “OK… for screaming voice. you… OK.” < ‘doomsday’ – megiddo > ‘temptation’ – giza
FREE SPIRIT OF LIGHT94 When we photograph children, I had one encounter with the I quickly turned my attention away It was during this impromptu we often think of the phrase “Say children of Jericho, a devastated from Hala, approached and joked moment that I captured their ‘free cheese!” Children always fascinate city under the administration of the a little with her. She never turned spirit.’ When I was done and about us. Perhaps, it’s because of their government of Palestine. off that big smile of hers. She was to leave, the little girl approached personality—they are often seen I was photographing the Mount in front of her house with a small my bus and sweetly handed me her as people with rich inner lives and of Temptation when I saw a boy bouquet of wildﬂowers. Obviously, ﬂower bouquet. So, I guess she liked uncensored sensibilities. Or, it’s earnestly begging for small change. Hala got jealous and tried to join us me. I must have made her happy. their universally sweet innocence, An interesting character—he was again. They teased each other, espe- imperfection, playfulness, imagina- bullying his smaller friends so he cially Hala to the small boy who was tion, red cheeks, big smiles, free could get the most money. His apparently the little girl’s younger spirit, honesty and fun that make us name was Hala. I told him I’d give brother. Perhaps, out of his inno- wish to still be like them. Kids are him some coins after I took his cence, he always ran away when a sincere bunch and when they like photo so he immediately agreed to someone wanted to give him coins. you, they really, really like you. pose. While photographing Hala, I could see through my viewﬁnder from a distance a little Arab girl with a big smile standing next to a small boy probably laughing at how Hala was acting. ‘stand’ – via dolorosa jerusalem
MISSED BUT NOT REGRETTED Petra was my ﬁrst priority I went to bed. In the morning 107 destination to explore and capture before I woke up, I felt like I had through my camera and the reason a little dust in my left eye. It was why I was on this trip. I have seen so dry and badly irritated that I so many pictures of the various could not open my eyes. I tried to spots within the vast complex and clean them out with water, but I even memorized the best time to had obviously scratched my cornea shoot them. But the ‘unexpected’ again. It became painful so quickly happened after I went for a night that I had to be taken to Amman swim... well, ﬂoat to be exact, on by my roommate to an eye hospital the Dead Sea at Marriott Hotel the to be treated while the rest of the night before our morning departure group went to Petra. Alas, I can only to Petra. It was quite an experience imagine Petra until my next trip to to ‘ﬂoat’ in the dense, salty water. Jordan. There was no regret at all as Unfortunately, I forgot to take a now I understand why it all must special care in washing my eyes have happened. out afterwards. ‘magnets’ – the jewish quarter jerusalem> ‘presence’ – church of st. anne bethesda
EUREKA! On this pilgrimage, I departed 129 with the feeling of being spiritually unprepared to come to the City of God. It was against all my logical reasoning to go without my signiﬁcant others only to ﬁnd out that I had been separated from them just so I could receive His message clearly without any disturbances or distractions. At that moment, I learned how to break down in His presence and just listen to His words. I’ve followed the Light and opened my heart. I’ve found my long-lost, wandering soul. ‘enlightened’ – mount sinai> ‘free’ – sea of galilee
Please look upon the religious people of the Land of Snows,Ruthlessly conquered with harsh tactics by malevolent invaders;May your compassion exert itself with miraculous speedTo stop the torrent of blood and tears!Ah!Those cruel people defeat themselves as well as others,Driven to insane behavior by the devil of addictive passions;Have mercy and restore their decent insight of right or wrong,Use love and kindness to reunite them in glory of human friendship!Dalai Lama
LANS BRAHMANTYOLans Brahmantyo, who preferred In 1993, Brahm joined Alembic An expert in high-end digital drum 133to be called as Brahm, was born Systems International and founded scanning, digital imaging andin Surabaya, Indonesia on 7 July Q• Image & Advertising before piezography, he began his own1966. After graduating with a joint his decision to return to Jakarta, journey into the wonderful world ofBSc in Electrical Engineering/MBA Indonesia in late 1994 and founded photography in 2002 and is mainlyin Management Information Afterhours Design in 1996, a interested in landscape, architecture,Systems degree from the University consulting ﬁrm specializing in human interest and street-sceneof Denver, Colorado in 1992, he graphic communications. He also photography. He is an avid travelerworked for NeXT Computer co-founded Hexart Publishing in and collects both art and antiqueInc. as a Campus Consultant for 1999 and Red & White Publishing books. Brahm currently lives inmetropolitan Denver area. in 2004. Jakarta with his wife and four sons.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTFirst and foremost, I would like to praise Jesus Christ, my Oscar Motuloh for his vision and encouragement to hold Didier Hamel who has helped me with the launch of the 135Lord and Savior, for the odyssey and the chance He’s given my own ﬁrst exhibition. For his ability to read through book and the photo exhibition in his respected art gallery.me to renew my soul. my ‘visual stories’ without me even telling him anything signiﬁcant or the details about the events. I am always Kayus Mulia, my black & white photography ‘guru,’ for hisKatharina Olga Louise, my lovely and caring mother, for inspired by his photojournalist style which stresses story- support and for relentless pushing me to follow the light,her invitation to go to the Holy Land so I could receive ‘the telling over technicalities. open my heart, trust my guts and not to rationalize thingsMessage.’ And also, to my father, Suhendro Suwarno. all the time. Joop Ave for opening my ﬁrst photo exhibition andYvonne Hubner, my beautiful and loving wife and my four launching SOUL ODYSSEY to the public. Arbain Rambey for helping spread the news to the public.sons—Mada, Luigi, Mikha and Andrew—who encouragedme to accept the invitation and go without them despite Dean Outerson for the English translation and editing of Reza Inovani for his energy and round-the-clockthe fact that we badly needed a family Christmas together. all the text in this book. supervision of the printing of this book.Antaresa Hendita, my sister, who had to put up with my Peter Natadihardja for his friendship through my Enrico Domhardt of Leica Camera AG and Jimmy Soomissing the bus twice during the trip. professional years as a graphic designer and for of Schmidt Marketing for giving me the opportunity to his assistance with the meticulous details of the be acknowledged as a Leica photographer by supportingMarianne Aziz Kamel who delivered ‘the Message’ to me printing process. this book.and who has chosen me as one of her spiritual sons. Welly Bolung for his generous support in printing this Also, thank you to all the wonderful people I metGuntur Santoso for his continuous friendship and for book with such good quality and such beautiful ﬁnishes. and photographed and who talked to me about theirletting me to use this type of paper for the ﬁrst time in interesting life stories.Indonesia and thus make this book truly unique. Also, Hinsatopa Simatupang, my roommate during this trip,for his encouraging support in publishing this book and who together with Elizabeth, were willing to miss theirhelped arranging the ﬁnancing and sponsorship. trip to Petra to help take me to the eye hospital in Amman. God bless you all!
4 In SOUL ODYSSEY by Lans Brahmantyo, the journey is but a route. It is like a process by which his determination becomes a destination. Using a realistic approach in SOUL ODYSSEY, the simplicity of angles stands out in Brahm’s photographs, illustrating his explicit strength. His photographic creation can be called a ‘visual soliloquy’ because of the way it expresses a yearning for a very personal spiritual enlightenment. Never without a camera, Brahm captured a variety of events and activities that touched his heart during his pilgrimage to the Old City of Jerusalem and several locations in the Middle East, all of which have a historical and spiritual signiﬁcance. What is important in this book is that Brahm has precisely chosen photography as his medium to visually express his feelings to those who believe in the power of symbology in photography. A collection of images of a soul-refreshing odyssey in the subjective spirit of peace. ISBN: 979-98449-3-2