Pioneer photography from the Dutch Indies > Isidore van Kinsbergen

Borobudur first gallery relief, Van Kinsbergen, 1873 Van Kinsbergen came to Jakarta in 1851 as actor and set painter. In 1862 he was asked by the Batavian Society for Arts and Sciences to photograph Javanese antiquities. Van Kinsbergen photographed the temples on the Dieng plateau. The circumstances under which he had to work were poor. The temples were sometimes difficult to reach. They were often partially overgrown or had disappeared under the ground. Although Van Kinsbergen took a long time over this assignment (sixty-two exposures in seventy-two days), his results were considered highly satisfactory.

The Batavian Society then commissioned him to photograph the Borobudur. Van Kinsbergen started in April 1873 and was finished in June 1874. Here he also encountered a monument in decay. Although the technique had improved by then, Van Kinsbergen encountered problems with the narrow galleries similar to those experienced by daguerreotypist Schaefer. He therefore built a tripod that could be positioned in front of a relief in such a way as to ascertain the correct distance from the object. The preparations for a single negative could take up to ten days.

Pauline Lunsingh Scheurleer, Isidore van Kinsbergen, Photographer of Javanese Antiquities, in Toward Independence, A Century of Indonesia Photographed, San Francisco 1991, pp. 36-43

Examples from this collection Pioneer photography from the Dutch Indies

View all images of this collection