Remembering Victor Lumunon by Krishna Zaki

Honestly I don’t know where to start but I’m having a bottle of San Miguel, Victor’s favorite beer, while writing this. Maybe we should read again a note that Victor wrote on his Facebook account:

A Man with a camera

I’m a man with camera, not a photographer either someone else – period.

Good picture is not my intention. Tons of it already scattered around internet. I love to shoot, that’s all. Camera is my reason to move my feet. Into a dark alley or lost in a crowd. I’m documenting what I see and what I feel. I praise yesterday as today and tomorrow.

I don’t get bother if I lost a good scene. I don’t shoot anything. Great cloud or nice looking model won’t force me to grab my camera. I shoot when I’m ready. I believe to enjoy the scenery first before capture it into celluloid or pieces of binary. Well, no obligation anyway. I’m a man with a camera.

I’m not into conversation of comparing gears either. I shoot with a tin can. I shoot with sophisticated camera. All the same. I don’t care about sharpness or composition.

I’m not following anybody step. I shoot flower or people in the market. I shoot blurred image as I want something into focus. I’m Winogrand and Edward Weston. I’m Ansel Adams and Eugene Smith. I’m Sugimoto and Diane Arbus. I’m you – who takes picture of daily life with a cellular phone.

I Click Therefore I am.

* English sucks.

I forgot when exactly the first time I knew Victor Lumunon was but I remember the first time I met him personally. It was July 5, 2009 at Bank Mandiri Museum in Jakarta at a gathering of id-Nikon D40, an online photography community where we both joined. Yeah, I know it was quite a short period to know a person but I’m really grateful having a chance to know such a nice, kind, and humble person like Victor Lumunon.

My first impression was he’s a really friendly person, doesn’t talk too much, but always comes out with smart jokes, and doesn’t mind to share his knowledge to his friends.

Later, we spent a lot of times together at weekends. Usually we went to traditional wet markets around Jakarta.

Yes, he really loved to take photographs at the traditional wet markets and at other public spaces. At the wet markets, he really loved to take photographs of street vendors and to document people activities at the markets. He was really good at taking environmental portrait of street/market vendors and I learned how to do the approach, having conversations with people/vendors that he photographed. According to him, traditional wet market is the best place for doing street/documentary photography because we could find many kinds of people there with their activities, and traditional wet market is a “very Indonesia” place, that maybe we will rarely find at the other countries.

At Friday nights, when there were photography exhibition openings, we went to GFJA, Antara Photojournalism Gallery. Actually, our main purpose attending the opening ceremonies was for the free meals rather than the exhibition itself. Then afterward we went for cups of coffee or bottles of beer, had some chits chats, discussion, and planned which market or public space that we’re going to visit at the morning after.

He was a person that really loved photography, especially analog photography. He has a lot of old analog cameras. He introduced me to Pasar Baru, a place in Jakarta where we can find old cameras, lenses, films, and darkroom supplies. He taught me how to develop negatives and offered me to take his enlarger to my place so I could learn how to create wet prints. I refused it because I didn’t have a space in my place that I could use as a darkroom.

He also loved to do crazy experiments in photography and very creative in DIY stuffs. For example, he created a flash diffuser from styrofoam plate or bowl. Sometimes he tried to fix his old cameras and lenses by himself, though mostly it ended up as piles of junk camera components at his house.

Actually, he also has digital cameras, but he had some bad experiences with digital stuffs. One day, he forgot to charge his digital camera battery and in other day he forgot to bring the CF card. So maybe he’s a really “digital-unfriendly” person.

But just like the introduction from his notes above, he really loved to take photographs of whatever he likes and doesn’t care with the results. He just loved to shoot, documenting everything around him, including his little family — his wife Lala and his four-and-a-half years old daughter Freya.

That’s my short story about Victor. Last time I met him was at a Car Free Day event in September last year before I moved from Jakarta to Bali.

Then came May 17, 2011. At night, while enjoying a full moon night with my friends here in Bali, I heard the shocking bad news. It was like a lightning bolt strikes directly to my head. Victor Lumunon, one of our best friends and our mentor, has left us all forever. Just like your blog introduction title — “Life is short” — it was really short for you. But I’m sure that you already gave your best for your life, your family, your friends, and for the world.

So long my friend. Rest in Peace. Vaya Con Dios.

* You can find Victor’s works and profile here: Analog Journey / Foto Jalanan / Victor at Flickr / Victor at Unposed / or try googling “Victor Lumunon” or “jongcelebes”, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of interesting stuffs about him.

Krishna Bayumurti M. Zaki is a self-taught, part-time commercial, and full-time street photographer. He was graduated from environmental engineering department in Bandung Institute of Technology. He currently works as a freelance photographer and graphic designer in Bali.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *