A small and unique photograph of Javanese Men Playing Cards, taken and printed by the famous Javanese photographer Kassian Cephas around the year 1890.
Kassian Cephas - The First Javanese Photographer
Kassian Cephas was the first known photographer of Javanese descent, eventually succeeding his Dutch instructor as official painter and photographer to the royal court of Jogjakarta. In addition to these duties, Cephas ran a successful commercial photo studio, making portraits by appointment as well as selling commercial prints. He also contributed actively to the Dutch-led Archaeological Society’s ongoing projects in the documentation of Javanese archaeological and material culture. His photographs of genre scenes, ethnographic ‘types’, and portrait works offer some insight into Cephas’s practice. The recurrence of certain architectural features and studio backdrops is especially telling, establishing known locations and illustrating the self-conscious way many of these images were staged. The contrast between the intimate, engaging portrait photographs and the much less personal, almost documentary ‘types’ also shows the artist’s ability to vary his visual language and stylistic mode in response to his intended audience.