Indonesia independent - Photographs 1947-1953 > Charles Breijer

Portrait of Charles Breijer with camera, IndonesiaWhen Breijer travelled to Indonesia in 1947 as a would-be cameraman, he was attracted in the first place by adventure. But he was also driven by a certain idealism: he wanted to contribute to building an independent Indonesian state. Breijer got a job with the Gouvernements Filmbedrijf (Governmental Film Company) and contributed to 'Wordende Wereld', the cinema newsreels for Indonesia.

The Gouvernements Filmbedrijf was in the hands of the Dutch filmmaker J.C. Mol (1891-1954) and produced Dutch-Indian propaganda films. Consequently, Breijer was bound to the guidelines of the Government Information Service. In this context, Breijer filmed a lot of humanitarian subjects: medical care, food distribution and reconstruction works, all of them Dutch activities. In addition he photographed privately and without (self-)censorship the daily life of Dutch and Indonesian people on Bali, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra. These photographs are important mainly because they do not represent official Dutch government policy, but plainly show the tense atmosphere in the last colonial years.

On a few occasions Breijer was given commissions by journals such as Panorama and Libelle. After the transfer of sovereignty, he photographed a lot of landscapes, ritual dances on Bali, street scenes, and 'ethnic types', all subjects that he thought would be easy to sell.

The photographs on view on this site have remained for the larger part unpublished. Only the photo report 'Een dag uit het leven van soldaat Jan de Wit' (A day from the life of private Jan de Wit) appeared in 1948 in a book, called Onze jongens overzee (Our Boys Overseas). After the transfer of sovereignty, Breijer worked as a filmmaker for the new Indonesian government until 1954.

See also:
Biography of Charles Breijer

Examples from this collection Indonesia independent - Photographs 1947-1953

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