Agung Wijaya Utama has been pursuing the world of photography since the early 2000s, until finally he decided to hang up his camera in 2011. he felt tired working in the world of photography and finally swerved by opening Warung Sotography in the Batubulan area, Bali.
Engaging in the culinary world didn’t necessarily dampen Gung Ama’s enthusiasm for photography. While running his shop, ideas to work always arise in his mind and cannot be stopped. Until 2014, after a long contemplation, Gama Photography was born, starting with the idea of reconstructing photographs of the King of Bali in the 1930s.
According to Gung Ama, Bali in the 1930s was Bali during the heyday of tourism. A period where culture and traditions were still in balance with how open Bali is to the outside world. Those who come to Bali were those who are really interested in the traditions and arts in Bali.
Gung Ama wanted to show again how the simplicity of Bali at that time could have looked so beautiful and unpretentious. In the course of his research, Gung Ama actually found an interest in Balinese make-up and dress at that time, which was very close to the village, at that time, the patra of each region. Each region seems to have its own characteristics. Gung Ama finally continued his in-depth research on fashion design and applied it to photography.
In 2016, Gung Ama, through Gama Photography, implemented the results of his research through the Bali 1930 Reconstruction Project. Gung Ama saw that there had been a shift in the traditional Balinese attire. Balinese fashion, which used to be closely related to philosophy, has now shifted to follow the fast fashion trend. Through the GamaPhoto 1930 project, Gung Ama wants to show again that Balinese fashion, especially traditional clothing for weddings, is not just a trend from the fashion industry but also contains a meaning and a story behind it. GamaPhoto 1930 continuously voices this message to users of their photography services or to fellow photographers through workshops that are regularly held at 1930 Studio by Gama.
#mekenyemsubebiase was one of the campaigns being voiced by GamaPhoto 1930.
“We are accustom to the idea that, if we are in front of the camera, we have to smile, then after turning away from the camera, the expression on our faces changes. The smiles shown to the camera are often only pretence,”said Gung Ama.
GamaPhoto 1930 wants to show that a smile can radiate from a visual even though the object is not smiling directly in front of the camera. A smile from the heart can appear in the face of the object being photographed. The photos produced by GamaPhoto1930 are not just beautiful photos or paying attention to visual aesthetic value, but how a photo can have a timeless value, a photo that tells a story and can become a time capsule for each model or object of the photo.
1930 Studio by Gama, which is the home of GamaPhoto 1930, currently exists not only as a photo room or photography studio but also as a space to unite thoughts, discussing various social anxieties, especially in Bali. GamaPhoto 1930 is also actively holding several workshops both in the studio and in collaboration with other venues. The purpose of these workshops are to spread ideas about the meaning and story behind traditional Balinese dress, how visual beauty can be obtained from simplicity, not just about something luxurious or grand.
Gung Ama as the founder of GamaPhoto1930 is currently also actively working with other Balinese artists working on the #manahnatah podcast project. They also have a podcast that invites young Balinese to think critically and discuss social issues around us, especially in Bali.
GamaPhoto 1930 will hold a photography workshop with the Mudra Swari Saraswati Foundation in June 2021. This photo workshop will not only discuss the technicalities of photography but will explore deeper into the creative process and also the story behind each photo. Photograph as a visual record.