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Can You See Death in Them?

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Death is a part of life itself. Some think it’s the end of life. But I believe it’s the beginning of a whole new adventure. Too bad, no one has survived to tell the story.

I never one afraid to die. Death is so much certain for me instead of many things in life. Like work, love or future. In fact, death is the future I hold on to. Something that for certain will happen to me.

But having an occupation that blessed me with opportunities to meet a looot of people, get to know them for a glimpse, and sometimes trying my best to get to know their personality, their thoughts, their ideas and even their family in such a short time, gives me some sort of attachment. I took pictures of people. Most of the time, at their very best. And when I heard the news about their death, it gives me a weird feeling. Like, how could that happen? I mean, he was alright.. At least when I took his picture..

Marco Simoncelli died in a tragic crash at the race in Sepang, yesterday, October 23, 2011. I never heard of him before, because am not a Moto GP mania. But when I went through hundreds of pictures of him in Getty Images, most were shot by a photographer Mirco Lazzari, I feel like I know him. There’s a sense of closeness. Most probably because Lazzari managed to get some shots that are so human of him, away from the bike and the track that killed him.

I have a couple of assignments and self initiated project last year. Met many people along the way. Get to know them, laugh with them, persuade them to smile to the camera, or just talk to them while taking their pictures. Three of which are now gone.

Asmara Nababan (R), died on October 28, 2010 in the age of 64.

Think I’ve met him before I took this picture for Komunitas Indonesia untuk Demokrasi’s booklet. But I never really talk to him, not until I have to shoot this for them on July 2010. He was sweet. A big guy, as you can see. While the others are considered vertically challenged compared to him. But he like to smiling and laugh alot. Just get along doing the shoot, everytime I told him to do this and that. He passed away because he was sick. And he never get the chance to see the booklet.

Amu, died on Christmas eve 2010, in the age of 29.

This picture was taken on the very first day I met him, November 2010. Some might easily say he can see death coming. With his AIDS and all. But I didnt. When we talked, he was a bit desperate, yes. Then I told him to learn to accept it. So what if he’s living with AIDS? It’s done now. What he needs to do is stop regretting what has happened, and try to live again. I hold his hands, i helped him to sit. He was shocked, thinking I should have been scared of even touching him. A smile was the only thing I can give him. And I told him if he’s getting better, he can encourage young people like him to get better and live again, despite having AIDS. His last word was, “This is all I need. Someone to talk to.” As if it’s something precious.The second time I came to see him in his home, he was sleeping. We didnt have the heart to wake him just to talk to him. And that was the last time I saw him.

Dominggus Octavianus Awes, died today, October 24 2011. Shot at close range, by two unknowns.

He’s the chief of police in Mulia, Puncak Jaya, Papua. He’s also the uncle of my friend, Martin Kafiar.

He was enjoying the whole afternoon with his family in June 2010, at an old bridge who might fall apart anytime now. But it’s the only bridge that connects the mountain to the downtown of Mulia district. He asked who I was, and why was I carrying cameras. I told him I was there to document a team of ophthalmologist doing cataract surgery in Mulia, and that I was working with his nephew, Martin also. I immediately felt welcomed when we engaged in some jokes afterward. He asked me if I can take a picture of him and his family, and send the picture to Martin so he can print it. I did exactly what he said, and he was happy with the picture. I even play with his grand daughter, hold by his wife. A beautiful child with the most beautiful round eyes.

Martin Kafiar shot this pic for us

Papua is beautiful. I can only see its beauty, despite all the “unrest” happening there. It was a shock to see the news about his death in tv’s breaking news. When he got shot, he was doing a patrol in Mulia airport, a place where children play football in the afternoon, and I was once dancing in the rhythm of Papuan’s traditional music, with my friends. It was a great place and just so awesome! No murderers should give Papua a bad name.

Pak Asmara, Amu and Om Dominggus were just a few of people whom I’ve been so lucky to have met merely because I have a camera. Now they are gone. And it feels like.. I dont even know how to describe it. Loss. I lose them too, even if it’s not as big as the loss that their loved ones felt.

See, I cant see it coming. I cant see death coming so near in their eyes. I cant see it in my pictures. So then I might never able to understand death when I’m still breathing. And have to learn it the hard way when my time comes. Can you? Can you see death in my eyes?

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Written by nickmatulhuda

October 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm

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