Black Man Ray is an independent photography gallery, community and online publishing house based in Bandung, Indonesia. The gallery is run by Budi Sukmana, Dicky Jiang and Eric Setiawan who introduces below the concept and the genesis of this original project.

The idea for this gallery was conceived in January 2011 in Bandung, Indonesia. At that time Budi Sukmana and his family were about to open a small coffee shop and he offered some of the walls as a photography gallery. I immediately said yes and the idea started to grow from there.

Our initial aim was simply to enjoy photographs in print (because we all have spent too much time looking into monitors) in a more casual, relaxed, and friendly atmosphere with friends. But then, we also wanted to become a melting pot for photographers, where they could meet, talk, and share ideas and inspiration, a hub for young, emerging and underexposed artists who wanted to showcase their work and grow together with us.

At first, our biggest influence was Dr.Karanka's Prints Stravaganza. We thought that his concept suited our vision well. I started to contact many of my friends all over the world asking them to send some of their prints. The response was surprisingly positive and many started shipping their prints.

The concept of the gallery changed shortly before our first exhibition into a monthly photography exhibition by a single photographer who showcased their latest series/photo essay or their best personal work.

Small but sure steps

We are still small and young but I have to admit that our first exhibition caught many people's attention in Indonesia and abroad. Our first exhibition was dedicated to the people of Japan after the tsunami (March 2011). Also, the photographer Yamasaki Ko-ji is quite famous and respected in the photoblogging world. And he sold his prints for the first time ever for charity. The combination of all that gave us the boost we needed for our next journey.

After several months, I got the feeling that many people and artists had started to see our gallery as an alternative way to showcase their work. Therefore many send us now their less-famous, but more personal, work --- it is totally unexpected but we totally love the idea.

We are looking for photographers whose works we love and admire. It's that simple. If we love what we see (usually through the internet), we will try to contact him/her. Some of the early photographers exposed by us were actually our virtual friends we have met years ago.

Our main challenge now is to manage well our time in order to be able to run and to expand the activities of this gallery while we still have to work during the day and take care of our families, we are all fathers of young children. So far we are an independent gallery and we are self-funded. Our next challenge is to find more funding without changing our spirit.


From August 10th to September 11th, 2011, Black Man Ray presents a solo exhibition by Hubert Kilian.

Visit the gallery's website and tumblr.

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Photo courtesy of Eric Setiawan

 

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