The Newsletter 53 Spring 2010

'Merdeka': images of hostile territory

Louis Zweers

The autonomous press photo agency, Indonesian Press Photo Service (IPPHOS), establishedin 1946 by Frans and Alex Mendur and the brothers Umbas, was the first and formerly the largest photo agency in Indonesia. The IPPHOS images were mostly taken during Indonesia’s struggle for independence in the period 1945-1949, and today are the only exisiting agency images from this time. Collections of the state-owned ANTARA photo agency and BERITA Film Indonesia were destroyed after the failed communist coup of 1965. Art and photo-historian Louis Zweers gained privileged access to this partly damaged collection which has survived the turbulent period and is now in the National Archive of Indonesia (Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia) in Jakarta.

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