Identik — Capturing Children’s Bliss Outside The Virtual World

INDONESIA | PHOTOGRAPHY

Reading time : 3 minutes

Photographs by Idealita Ismanto
Words by Christine Andes

Published on January 11, 2022

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Idealita Ismanto collects visual memoirs amongst shared moments of children to value their personal connections amidst the isolation brought by the pandemic.

The constant passion to tell stories of people through photography led Idealita Ismanto to portray children’s happiness in their daily encounters with the actual world, free from their virtual routine. Her latest project, Identik revolves around a photo story of two kids longing for each other’s companionship. 

Identik started when Idealita saw the desire of her daughter, Nada, to personally see her cousin, Pelangi, after they were separated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When they finally met again in person at Sidoarjo, East Java, Idealita thought of documenting their memorable moments. “I wanted to capture them with photos so that they become memories later when they grow up,” the photographer tells LINEAL.

Despite their physical separation during the pandemic, Nada and Pelangi regularly learn from each other through virtual talks, unfolding a deeper understanding between the two. “During those two years, although they did not meet physically, they communicated through information technology…They had been bound through the screen for a long time. Through video calls on social media, they observe each other and duplicate what each other is doing.” Moreover, the longing of Nada for a sister became a factor in their growing relationship. “Nada had yet to achieve her dream of having an older sister, and it was impossible to realise,” adds Idealita. For the ten days that they were together again, Idealita photographed Nada and Pelangi magnifying their bliss from the experience. 

Narratives on children have been a significant part of Idealita’s photography. “Children give spontaneous joy and simple happiness,” explains the photographer. The Lost World, which solely focused on the impact of the pandemic on her child’s life, documents the world of Nada as it slowly turned into the new normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I focused on the experience of my daughter who had to lose the world she was enjoying, namely the world of school along with her friends.” 

Idealita photographed toys that filled the void that her daughter dealt with during the pandemic. “In the midst of that irreplaceable loss, my daughter began to fill in the blanks by learning and playing,” she expounds. The photos were selected as exhibition materials at Visma Gallery in Surabaya.

As a mother and as a visual artist, Idealita discovered the essence of photography in empowering a community which she started in her own grounds, in Surabaya, after she moved from Jakarta in 2011. Working for 16 years as a professional photographer, Idealita has collaborated with national and international NGO’s such as UN Women, Indonesian Family Planning Association and Indonesian Women’s Coalition. “My photography focuses on community empowerment; women, children, culture and visual diaries of family,” she says. Such affiliations served as a breakthrough for Idealita to learn not only the art of photography, but also its value in reflecting life-long learnings within the community, especially by the children.

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