IMG_1071 The duo behind the lens are Sally Ann and Emily May Gunawan, photographer siblings currently based in Jakarta. Sydney born and Jakarta raised, they both have thrived on the beauty of photography since teenage years. Focusing on fashion, beauty, and commercial works, their photography aesthetic is distinctive with vibrancy  and quirkiness, combined with the personal emotions that are spoken
through the photographs, louder than words.

See more of Sally + Emily’s work here: WEBSITE

When we were challenged to style and shoot editorial images inspired by the month of Independence, we were all why yes, no problemo. One hour later, we had only one line of text with references to staying indoor almost all the time with blasting air-con, being fashionably late followed by a traffic excuse, and the idea of rules are meant to be broken. Sounds familiar? Not a coincidence, the following week was topped off withSelena Gomez’s (not so) shocking confessions on Instagram after her concert in Jakarta. Presumably she felt inauthentic having to performed with various restrictions and limitations this country had to offer. The awkward thing is the unsettling feeling that for some of us, it is easier to relate being in Gomez’s shoes. In this case at least.

It is true that Indonesia is a country that proudly pinpoints its national celebration on liberation from colonization. In reality, does the word “independence” coexist with “liberty”? As the country is still arguably juggling between the two words. We were taught to love our nation at school. We were taught to adopt Pancasila as a way of life. But why do we sometimes feel like a stranger in our own nation? 

On a brighter note, millennials’ way of thinking has evolved significantly – to be more accepting, to be more open-minded, to be more considerate, and to celebrate different values. Why should we feel indifferent if we choose a lifestyle that is less socially acceptable here? So many rules are frowned upon, caused by the the highly-valued majority over minority. We wholeheartedly agree that culture and religion should be respected, everywhere in this world. And we also strongly support that these values are in fact, personal and private. The values should not be seen as black and white, as everything is not for everyone. On the upcoming 17th of August, we want to celebrate being Indonesian. We want to feel proud of the land that we grew up in. This is our home. Let’s end the complains and embrace the diversity. Speak out, listen, inspire people, do the most to make Indonesia better, and most importantly, livable. We all want to love this country. And Indonesia, we hope you’ll love us back.

Styling and Photography by Sally Ann & Emily May
Hair & Make-Up by Honey Beauty
Model: Diana Lo

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