They Came For The Flower
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore:
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."- (The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe)
In The Raven, Poe looked for an answer to the longing, the loss and loneliness after being left by Lenore his lover, he then conversed with a raven that inadvertently paid a visit one evening. Birds and the night for me are two unique entities, the bird can be a liaison to the other world up there, the heaven. While the night is a second home where I meet life and magical creatures that cannot be found during the day. Exploring the night and meeting its inhabitants is an opiate for my photography life journey. One of the inhabitants of the night I will tell about this time is the flock of nocturnal birds in “They Came for The Flower” photography project.
In the next evening when I intended to get to know them better, I was talking to a motorcyle taxi driver who was there. "Back then the birds weren't here yet, but after the locals put out a lot of offering flowers in this intersection, suddenly the birds appeared on their own." Said the motorcycle taxi driver as he puffed his cigarette smoke. As far as I know the Javanese putting flowers in street intersections has many meanings and philosophy behind it, the kembang sesajen or offering flowers in street intersections is a form of prayers for the safety of beings crossing the intersection. Also the flowers are a form of prayer to the ancestral spirits to give blessings for their descendants. The intersection where the birds are is actually one of the biggest intersections in Solo City and in this intersection fatal accidents often happened.
Mystical myths for those who grew up in the a city ensconced in the magical romantic tradition of Javanese keraton is a klangenan, a predilection that more or less give meanings in my life. The phenomenon reality of these nocturnal birds is filled with mystery and it does not provide explanation or definite and rational answer. Those two things I found to be entangled as I enjoyed nights after nights chasing these birds. Photography in one side was working to reveal this reality, yet on the other side, the reality hid itself under its mystical veil. In my wanderings in the mystical veil of the nocturnal birds, I felt to have discovered something missing, a home, the nocturnal birds gave me a meaning to going home, each night, and meet them. This project eventually became my personal journey to compose a mystical poem that I dedicate to this phenomenon.
"They Came For The Flower" is the poetic reflection of my surreal journey with these nocturnal birds. Like Poe who sought answers on his loss and curiousity of his lover's soul in eternity by conversing with a raven, the nocturnal birds are for me a way to reflect the mystical illussion of the lost and wandering souls between mortality and eternity.
Aji Susanto Anom (b.1989) is a photographer based in Solo, Indonesia. He is now still studying in Indonesian Art Institutes of Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta). His work is basically explores all his personal question about the darkness of his deeper life. He has published three photobooks independently called “Nothing Personal”, “Poison” and “Recollecting Dreams”. In 2015, he was selected as one of the participant of “Angkor Photography Workshop” under the mentor: Antoine D’Agata and Sohrab Hura. In 2016, one of his work is selected as finalist of BURN MAGZINE Emerging Photographer Fund 2016. His works can also be discovered through his featured publication on BURN Magazine, Lens Culture, The Invisible Photographer Asia, Top Photography Films, Monovisions, Dodho Magazines, Sidewalkers.Asia and more.
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