Cinema la strada

V4 Nov 2013Cinema la strada was the cover story of the fourth edition of think archipelago magazine, released in November 2013. It depicted the daily accounts of many activities by the people who make ends meet in Jatinegara, one of the earliest markets in Jakarta built more than a century ago. The photoessay was deliberately taken at dusk to present a different perspective.


A number of people find shelter from a hot afternoon in front of the train station exit door, which have been locked permanently. For various reasons, the difficulty to find formal jobs causes people to be seen on the streets without much things to do. This is commonplace in the city’s public places.

A street vendor reclines on a sidewalk near train station in Jatinegara, South Jakarta. He displayed a few pair of footwears on a tarp. With a very small number of commodity to sell in a day, he can move and sit around in most parts of the city without any hassle.

But it is not so difficult to guess how small he could earn in one common day. At dusk, A man waits for a bus ride as he watches the traffic from the crossing bridge across the train station.

Depending on the severity of the traffic, a wait like this can last for hours. Making the bad to worse, the city’s public transportation is underfunded and in short supply. Waiting  can be very exasperating, something that is commonly felt in Jakarta.

Motorcycle taxi drivers at Jatinegara, East Jakarta, helplessly waited for passengers at the railroad crossing gate. One of them, stepping down from his parked motorcycle, enthusiastically amused a photographer he saw wandering around Jatinegara train station.

Not far from there, throwing his back against the wall that separates railroad and pedestrian precinct was a street vendor selling as many shoes as he could carry in his bag.

Some meters away, in the same realm of misfortunes, but just slightly better, a man stood in front of his street kiosk. He slipped his hand into a pocket and pulled out a handful of cash he earned that day. Meanwhile a busker passed by fast as he stood at the front door of a bus. He was looking at what was ahead of him.

Stopping ahead of the bus was a man on his motorcycle, lighting a cigarette when the day had fallen to dusk. At the other side of congested street, a tailor refused to finish his usual day amid the noise and dust. He kept on operating his small sewing machine. An order like this kept him survive another day filled with heavy pollution.

On a row of shophouses in the vicinity, the overcrowded sidewalk had gradually become empty as commercial activity closed. An old man with his black glasses walked past the closed doors alone at dusk.



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