Im Dorf Hamba Praing in Ost-Sumba sind in den vergangenen Jahren zahlreiche Pferde und Rinder gestorben, als die extreme Dürre das Gras verdorrte und Knochen und Kadaver in der kargen Landschaft zurückließ. East Sumba, etwa 2000 Kilometer östlich von Jakarta, war im vorigen Jahr, Berichten zufolge 249 Tage hinter einander ohne Regen.
Laut einigen Experten ist der Klimawandel für das dürrebedingte Wettermuster verantwortlich, das die Menschen zwingt sich anzupassen, um zu überleben. Der Fotograf Willy Kurniawan hat die Insel besucht und den Alltag der arbeitenden Bewohner begleitet.
Willy Kurniawan hat unseren Fragebogen beantwortet und berichtet über sich und sein Projekt:
How did you get in contact with the topic and what took you to document it?
We know that climate change is affecting the world and it is still happening, so I tried to research which community in my country is directly impacted by it. Last year, local media reported that there was no rain for more than 200 days in Sumba island, which inspired me to try to find out what is really happening over there. Then I started to do some research but there were not much information and news reports about that. So I decided to visit East Sumba directly and check the situation on the ground. When I was there it was supposed to be the rainy season but the condition was worse than what I thought: The „rainy season“ was so dry. Most of the Sumbanese who worked as farmers in the past had stopped farming, instead some of them started to weave – a work that usually done by women. Some farmers chose to become fishermen. They are trying very hard to make a living in a bad condition. Therefore I think it is important to tell the world their story.
What do you want your images to transmit?
Locals in East Sumba are living in difficult conditions, they are suffering from the consequence of climate change due to the damage done by others. I hope to spread the awareness about the damage caused by climate change through this story, and most importantly, I want to show people around the world that our action might indirectly impact someone’s life.
How did you came in contact with photography, what took you to choose this as a career?
My brother who studied mass communication at the university taught me how to use a DSLR. I learned how to set up the camera and I fell in love with the “clicking” sound of camera’s shutter. I developed my photography skill through community events and participated in workshops organised by Indonesia’s state news agency Antara. I want to be a witness of history and tell the stories to the world through my lens, that’s why I decided to be a photojournalist.
Is there a portfolio or photobook that inspired you?
I refer to the pictures stories on Reuters Wider Image, Magnum Photo, VII Agencies, Institute Artists, and etc. My works are also inspired by movies and literatures. I am amazed by the dedication of wire photographers, who are responsible to cover daily news while at the same time produce strong photo essay. My colleagues Kim Kyung-Hoon and Jorge Silva, both Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, are the role models I look up to. My mentors, former Reuters journalists Darren Whiteside and Beawiharta, who guided me when I joined Reuters as intern are also my source of inspiration to create better pictures.
Where can one find more of your photographic work?
All of my updated works are published on Reuters Pictures. Or widerimage.reuters.com/photographer/willy-kurniawan
My Instagram and Twitter account is @WillySukamoto
And my Facebook account is here.