In early 2000 digital photography was at its very infancy with 2mp cameras being top of the range and the internet phenomenon just beginning to gain foothold
Most of us were still on film cameras in 2000 with small numbers converting to digital photography. Photoshop was a strange animal to us and spot metering was still a high end luxury function in a camera. Our largest memory cards were a grand 512mb at almost $100 each and carrying around 5 to 10 CF cards for a day of shooting was normal
At that time there was no Facebook yet and mobile phones were still very much talk-use only
Clubsnap in Singapore started in 2002 while Fotografer.net in Indonesia began life in 2003
Other groups catering to different special interests and hobbies also started popping up globally
In late 2003 we reached out across the internet sea to FN and extended a hand of friendship. We were strangers to one another each living in their own world in Singapore and Indonesia oblivious to what was happening in the other country. The internet had yet to reach China extensively and net connections were still then restricted to phone lines
The idea was proposed that our 2 communities should know each other better via actual face to face contact rather than anonymously through the Internet. Indonesia extended its kindness by inviting ClubSnAP to join them on a 4 day adventure to Jogjakarta and the surrounding areas and for us to bring a team of 15 photographers.
We made that call in the forum and 15 of us took a leap of faith into the dark
In 2004 airlines out of Singapore flew mainly to the largest capital cities and budget air travel was in its infancy in Asia
Crossing Bridges 1 was not even a name at that time. The trip was a friendship gathering of photographers from the 2 major photography communities in Indonesia and Singapore. The official term Crossing Bridges name was coined only in 2005 during our 2nd annual outing and named after a photograph shot by Jeff Yap of a villager pushing his rusty bicycle across a rickity bamboo bridge in Central Java during the first trip in 2004
We made an arduous journey by first taking a ferry from Singapore to Batam . From Batam, we blindly took a van to the Batam Airport where we boarded a flight to Jogjakarta. We landed into a strange new world. Most of us have been to the Indonesian islands of Bali and Batam and the capital of Jakarta. That was what we knew of Indonesia then and little else.
Jogjakarta was like a surreal magical wonderland of strange sights and smells with a unique culture that was the REAL Indonesia which we slowly began appreciating
Kristupa Saaragih and Valens Riyadi welcomed us with open arms and opened their photography world to us
We shot at the World Heritage sites of Prambanan and Borobodur including the volatile Mt Merapi . Most of us Singaporeans had never seen padi fields first hand nor had we seen water buffalos first hand. It was a new world to us.
The food was wonderfully spicy and the Javanese satay was so different from ours
We also did not realize until then that there was a living ongoing and fully functioning royal family complete with local royal army and courtesans
We made so many friends during those 4 days and left with a better idea of Indonesia and Javanese culture . To this day we still maintain these friendships …. Bernado Halim, Goenadi Haryanto, Budi Darmawan, Agatha Buniate , Kristupa, Valens and so many many more