Kelas Pagi: Provide Non-Formal Education in Photography

Written and Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photo Source
Kelas Pagi

Before the term of a content creator become a sensation, and several photography classes or workshops can be found easily, Kelas Pagi already started the journey way back 14 years ago. There is a slight chance of an extensive and viable photography community existence to stand on its own, but Kelas Pagi is a testament that they could sustain themselves to the present day. Since 2006, Kelas Pagi, a free photography community-based, produced thousands of aspiring and prospecting creative talents across Indonesia. Therefore, Kelas Pagi stays true to its mission in providing non-formal education by pursuing loyalty and persistence amid the industry’s dynamic changes and showing true devotion towards photography. Initiated by Anton Ismael, one of the remarkable figures in the creative industry, Kelas Pagi promotes equal opportunity for everyone who has a keen interest in photography.

Held twice in a week, every Tuesday and Friday morning from 6 or 7 AM, Kelas Pagi garnered massive interest from the public ever since the establishment. Although it is expected since the creative industry over the years has represented as a significant and rapidly growing set of industry, Kelas Pagi emphasizes initiative and commitment for the application requirement along with creating a practical-oriented curriculum. The designed curriculum is leaning towards exploration and discussion, which executed based on consideration of current needs and trends of photography as well as feedback from experts in the industry. Following the rising trend, Kelas Pagi also launched Youtube Channel, to gain a wider audience, so, people can access the photography-related tutorial anywhere and anytime without hustle. Also, Kelas Pagi in Yogyakarta, Kediri, Papua, and Cianjur are allowed to create the personalized-curriculum for each class. For instance, Yogyakarta is known for its documentary photography, so the class can be adjusted to meet those demands and needs. After completing the 5-6 months sessions, Kelas Pagi will hold a photography exhibition with a purpose to upgrade the mentee’s skill in making a striking visual presentation. “Kelas Pagi isn’t a place to instill a new skill only to seek a profit, but instead showcasing the potential and feeling content about it. And I thought that’s what makes us different from others. We prioritize attitude. Attitude before knowledge,” said Gunawan, a committee member of Kelas Pagi.

“Within thousands of Kelas Pagi graduates, some of the big names to emerge are Joey Christian and Shakti Siddarta, which influences Kelas Pagi’s idea to involve graduates to be a mentor for the next batch of Kelas Pagi. Our mission is building a strong network for Indonesia’s photography advancement. Therefore, our team always diligently working to hold more exciting programs besides a regular Kelas Pagi. Today, there are Kelas Pagi Militan, a free class to encourage the idea exploration and well-executed photography. Then, Kelas Pagi Bergerak, a free moving class where the team is traveling to cities outside Jakarta by managing a source of income from the sponsors. And, Kelas Pagi Praktikel, a paid applicative class with a curated photographer to discuss and exchange ideas. Both Kelas Pagi Bergerak and Praktikel have been running since 2017,” told Gunawan.

During the interview, Gunawan revealed that in the near future, Kelas Pagi would hold the upcoming collaboration through running events as well as analog photography with Bersoreria, a lab-processed film. Seeing how Kelas Pagi has grown beyond expectations, Gunawan expressed his gratitude while recalling the memorable experiences at the moment when he was traveling through Kelas Pagi Bergerak. “Far from the hectic rush, it was nice to see and hear the complaint or everyday story wherein the end, we were supporting each other. That kind of story hit home because I sensed the value of humanity and hard work”. From Gunawan’s perspective, we learned that Kelas Pagi serves a purpose more than a community, it represents the incorporation of humanity in creativity.