Island hopping with Jan Khür

Features July 1, 2015

The one comment I hear a lot when I daydream about my next trip or am about to embark on a new adventure is: “I would love to travel too but I don’t have the money to do so.” Although I agree that travelling in a conventional way costs bucketloads of money, there are other ways of getting to see the world which require less cash. There are even ways for us starving artsy types to travel, we just have to get a little more creative. One of these creative ways is signing up for a scholarship program and this is exactly what Jan Khür is doing at the moment in Indonesia. Being nosy little shits, we asked him to tell us all about it.

“Darmasiswa is an international scholarship program founded by the Indonesian government for people all over the world. In over fifty universities across the country you’re invited to join Bahasa classes (to learn about the Indonesian language) but also photography, dance or traditional music classes. With financial support covering most of living expenses such rent, food and and basic needs, I was able to head to Indonesia and join the program. The program stretches over a one year period and you’re provided with a visa free of charge as well.”
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“I started this program about eight months ago and I believe it’s one of the best decisions I ever took in my life. Becoming a student gave me different perspective than I would have gotten as a tourist. It enabled me to get to know the locals and make friends for life.”
Indonesia is an enormous country with overwhelming beautiful nature and warm hearted people always happy having a chat with you or taking a selfie with complimentary selfie stick haha.”

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“In between semesters I wandered across other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Laos and Vietnam but coming back to Indonesia made me realize how much this country has to offer to an explorer. Most of the places are still waiting to be discovered and you hardly meet any fellow travelers. Amazing hikes, temples, sand dunes, volcanoes, hot springs, local culture and beaches, islands, animals, snorkeling, surfing, food and partying. Indonesia has it all in over 18.000 islands waiting to be hopped.”
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Jan is a photographer from the Czech Republic where he’s finishing his master studies in photography. He lived in Norway for two years where he worked as an intern and photo assistant for Massimo Leardini just before heading out on his adventure in Indonesia.
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“I am big fan of analog photography and I am constantly working on my diary’s which I eventually publish as books when I feel the time is right or trough my blog. Working with Massimo has been a great experience, involving a lot of hours in the darkroom and brainstorming about his new publications. I am often thinking what am I gonna do for living, it’s not easy to not give up on your dreams sometimes, even when it is only for a little time. There is a reality to deal with. I take pictures in my spare time, when I am not working in bars. That way I try to keep my photography unique and pure in order not to fall into the commercial scene and be eaten by it.”
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Jan’s love for photo books as a way of presenting work and as a collector’s item make him dream about starting a creative space where people can come and bind their books; print and scan their photos in the darkroom and eventually present themselves in a small gallery. He would like to combine this with a publishing house supporting emerging photographers (and we think that is an excellent dream to pursue Jan).

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Related photographers and personal inspirations to Jan: Ramon Haindl (DE), Chad Moore (US) and Filip Beránek, Milan Bureš or Vendula Knopová from the Czech Republic.

The Darmasiswa Scholarship
Official page // Facebook

Jan Khür
Blog // Facebook

Article by Jan Khür & Rebecca Rijsdijk. All photographs by Jan.

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