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How ‘Kotret’ Empowers Marginalized People Through Photography in Indonesia


JAKARTA – Street children and homeless people, in general, have always dealt with a public stigma, however, this has not become a hurdle for a photography community called Kotret or Komunitas Taman Potret (Portrait Park Community) that was founded in 2015 along with the launch of Taman Potret park in the area of Cikokol.

The community, according to its leader and professional photojournalist Adrianto, was initially founded to gather people that share the same enthusiasm for photography and be a forum able to spread the knowledge regarding the discipline and make it applicable for everyday use.

The most recent meets in July up to August were held on Saturdays and Sundays that involved training dozens of “street kids” joined in the community dubbed majelis preman (Maprem) or the ‘assembly of goons.’ The homeless people gathered to learn about photojournalism and news reporting.

“They are currently joined under the majelis preman and intend to move to a better direction, and that must be supported. Their members are also interested in photography and writing, it is a match,” said Adrianto to Tempo on Tuesday, August 11.

According to Maprem founder, Hidayat Shaleh, the sessions with Kotret were participated by its members consisting of street punks and street performers from the area of Tangerang.

Hidayat Shaleh said the participants are groups of former street goons who have committed a “transformation” from their previous lives.

“Despite stigmatized by society, their spirit and willingness to become better and useful human beings never erode,” said Hidayat Shaleh. “Alhamdulillah, I am really grateful for the help provided by Kotret that was willing to provide the knowledge for the street kids here.”

This goes parallel with Kotret’s initial spirit that was sparked by Adrianto’s concerns for the street children. “There’s nothing wrong with sharing our knowledge with the street kids. Hopefully, it would be applicable after they were taught about news reporting and how to become a journalist,” said the Indopos photojournalist.

Source: TEMPO.CO, INDONESIA  August 13, 2020

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