I joined a Greenpeace tour flying over Sumatra Island to take pictures of their protest over forest destruction.
Five photographers and a TV cameraman set off early in the morning, while it was still dark, in a new, single-propeller aircraft. No one told me it would be nearly three hours to get to Jambi on a small plane with no toilet. Luckily for me I had an empty bottle as an emergency measure.
This was the first time I’ve taken aerial shots, so I took so many types of pictures. I took every single detail that caught my eye -- forest, reflected light from the sun during sunrise, palm oil plantations, river, sea, houses, everything. When we started to take pictures, all five photographers jostled around one opened window. The wind blew very hard, pushing the glass against my face. After one hour, one of the other photographers gave up, and had to take a rest after throwing up all his breakfast. That made me happy – more room for me to take pictures.
In the afternoon when we flew back to Jakarta, I checked my pictures and the dominant images I had were of deforestation, palm oil plantation and acacia forest for paper. One image stands out to me, a clearing in the tropical rain forest in a heart shape, my heart is broken for the loss of the tropical rain forest.
Acacia forest and palm oil plantations dominated my pictures. So that’s how it remained in my mind: Sumatra had recently become just palm oil plantations and acacia forest.