Lecturer's Corner

Temple Photography

I am in love with temples or historical sites. To me, getting close to them makes me feel content. Being content also entails another beauty that eyes could enjoy, i.e. pictures. Temple photography is challenging yet engaging. Temples here do not necessarily mean the very big tall buildings. They could also mean ruins of historical sites. For people being in love with both photography and historical sites, temple photography could be an option to accommodate and blend the two.

There are challenging things, do’s and don’ts, and other matters when we want to explore temple photography. So as other streams in photography, temple photography is challenging in nature in a way that it requires the photographer to play with the light, the buildings, the weather, and the rules in the sites for sure.

Temple photography always seeks light in its best place to capture. The best pictures are always taken in their best moment. The best moment is in the morning right before the sunrise to 8 o’clock. The afternoon shot starts at 3.30 PM to the arrival of the sunset light. The other perfect time for shooting is shortly after the rain where the puddle reflects the buildings for magical shots.

The light does not come alone since it has to be there with the buildings to shot. There are angles where we can shoot the buildings from. Before shooting, we need to somehow figure out the building’s shape, colour, and size. This then determines perspectives and types of shot.

Temples are mostly made of limestone, andesite, red brick, and sometimes marble. Therefore, we have to be really careful in dealing with those ancient buildings. The way we touch, walk, stand, and shoot needs to again reconsider the age of the buildings. There are codes of conduct to obey. We’re not allowed to take pictures of certain statues and sanctum sanctorum or in Sanskrit it is called the garbhagriha. This innermost sanctuary is only meant for worshipping. Thus, photography is not allowed at all.

Temple photography enables me to meditate for the very calm surroundings and atmosphere. It also allows me to do some yoga under a tree. I do believe, after all, that temples are my very start for calm heart and mind and wonderful journey to study history. Besides, it also becomes my vehicle to always improve my shooting skill for perfecting the pictures for wider audience. In September 2018, some of my temple pictures were exhibited by Taman Wisata Candi (TWC), a state-owned enterprise or BUMN in charge of managing Borobudur, Prambanan, and Ratu Boko.


By: Scolastica Wedhowerti

Lecturer's Corner



Life is full of certainties and uncertainties. Certainties create patterns. They are anticipated and taught in many subjects at schools. In English grammar, certainties are introduced in the simple present tense. In chemistry, certainties are exemplified in formulas. In physics, certainties are demonstrated by a falling apple due to gravity force. The list can go on and on. But one thing is for certain, certainties sometimes are monotonous.

On the other hand, uncertainties are primarily unexpected and not well-anticipated. People tend to avoid uncertainties. Uncertainties are sometimes seen as deviations. We can find uncertainties in our lives, such as sudden heavy rain on a hot sunny day, computer errors, or unknown mixed feelings when we meet someone special. People investigate uncertainties to find patterns and make them certain. However, in some cases, people get ready for uncertainties. Readers keep reading stories with unpredictable endings, and moviegoers cannot wait for a new movie to premiere in cinemas. In fiction, uncertainties create a world of wonders. Gulliver traveled to the unpredictable world of the giants and Lilliputian. Alice wandered in the unknown wonderland. Aladdin had no idea about the magic lamp.

Unlike certainties and uncertainties (and, therefore, like certainties and uncertainties at the same time), serendipitous moments are unexpected but not saddening at the same time. They are uncertain. They cannot be avoided as well. They have no patterns. Once the patterns are discovered, they are not serendipitous anymore. However, they do not evoke negative feelings. Otherwise, they bring little happiness sometimes. When you unexpectedly find money in your pocket when you do laundry, you might feel lucky. That might be your own money. There must be a reason why the money is there, but you cannot remember. Finding the money is an unexpected happy moment. It is a happy uncertainty. It is serendipitous. Hence, uncertainties might be as gleeful as certainties. When certainties meet uncertainties, there might be a serendipitous moment.

Anyways, that is just how life is, it is full of certainties and uncertainties. Embrace those (un)certainties as the relish for our life. Certainties help us focus on our objectives, and uncertainties bring surprises for us. We work our best on the certainties by doing our routines and habits and let us find serendipity in the uncertainties. What matters most is that we need to enjoy our lives and be happy, right?


Author: Simon Arsa Manggala, S.S., M.Hum.

Editor: Michael Tan