Garbage Collector in Jakarta, Indonesia

Refuse collector, Kota, Batavia, Jakarta, Indonesia. in Indonesia

Martin Broomfield of 360 Cities took this panorama of a garbage collector/recycler in Jakarta, Indonesia, sitting down surveying his kingdom of recyclables.

It was typical to see garbage men pushing carts (like one behind the guy) filled with mounds of bags of aluminum cans and recyclable plastics when was living there more than 15 years ago. I wasn't surprised that nothing much has changed.

If the embeddable player above doesn't work for you, go here: Link - Thanks Jeffrey Martin!

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Hi Vivek,

Thanks for your comment.

I was thinking of calling the panorama "The King of Kota."

That is a fair and accurate summation of the panorama. The young boy lives with his brother in the small shack in the background. They are from Jakarta, but do not live with their parents. There are people all over the city, providing a much needed collection service. They do not get paid, but sell the garbage they find. Jakarta can get very messy and would be far messier without their services. The local government should be providing them with decent housing and an education for the work they are doing.

When I took the shot, I had been walking the streets of Batavia for an hour or so. I just happened to walk past a doorway and he was sitting exactly in the position. He was totally at ease when I took the images. I have one shot of him smiling, which I thought I wanted to use, but I think the final choice is far more powerful.
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Hi Martin,

What is striking about the pano is the direct look in his eyes. Its a little sad yet his face looks as though it might start a smile. A lost childhood perhaps. He looks like a boy and yet a man here.

Its like a documentary still portrait in his own environment in 360 degrees. A normal photo would have to chose which background to shoot against. You can look here and discover so many things from this pano because its 360 degrees.

1. The boy lives there probably with his parents. ( the clothes hanging in the background and light on in the dark room)
2. He has a good luck charm on his right leg and maybe an earring on the left ear. Right thumbnail is long and he has a good set of calf muscles. Probably a good sportsman. Football or badminton ( being Indonesia)
3. The place used to be a shed or factory but the roof has gone and the end walls look precarious with trees growing on them.
4. The bags seem sorted out. Plastics to his left and metal to his right. There is also a gas cutter to cut metal into manageable sizes, so he probably knows how to use it.

There is a fine line between documentary still photography and photojournalism and they both cross these lines all the time. Recently there has been some controversy about the famous FSA group that shot the depression in the US. Walker Evans may have used his own alarm clock on a sharecroppers mantlepiece and Arthur Rothstein is supposed to have moved a cow skull a few metres to get a better picture.

But photographers do choose their viewpoint sometimes just to get a better composition ( its what we get paid for I think ). But with photojournalism there is a presumption that the picture depicts the truth. Eddie Adams apparently paid the South Vietnamese army officer to shoot a suspect so that he could get the famous shot.

Thanks for posting Jeffrey. I really love this pano as it speaks to me. And thank you Martin Bloomfield. Did you take more pano's in Indonesia?

Vivek Dev Burman
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