Stephen H. Grant (Author)
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Praise for Former Points of View

 

 

“Grant covers a good deal of my favorite subject: the indigenous people of Indonesia in their original environment, going about their business. Their costumes, as well as their tools of the trade, are now slowly making their way into museums and collections worldwide. That is progress! The value of Former Points of View is that it captured "progress," although some people might not have been in favor of such progress."––Leo Haks, specialist in Indonesian photography

"Overall, Former Points of View provided me with an understanding of what life must have been like in colonial Indonesia.  I have a better grasp on Indonesia's development and why it is such a blend of old and new, East and West.  The book helped fill a gap in my knowledge, and learning from postcards and anecdotes was much more fun than using a stodgy old textbook!"––Karen Gunderson, community organizer

“The most important part of this book is the introduction by the author, Stephen Grant.  It is here that he opens our eyes to the real value of postcards.  With time, the function of postcards changes from being a tool for conveying news to becoming an historical document.  This particular book was published within the context of celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Indonesia's Proclamation of Independence.  The aim of the book was not to remind us of the sensitive colonial period but more to open up a window for young people to look at the past, an era they have not experienced for themselves.”––Mulyawan Karim, journalist

Former Points of View, Stephen Grant's new book on postcards from pre-Independence Indonesia, contains a selection of postcards from the author's collection.  The postcard images cleverly relate to passages excerpted from over 30 books or periodicals written about Indonesia before the arrival of the Japanese in 1942.  Grant had to meticulously research passages for each postcard and then pick the most appropriate quotation.  The inclusion of the excerpts adds an idyllic nuance to the pictoral images in this charming volume.”––Amir Sidharta, book critic

“In 1914, I came from Holland to South Sumatra, where my parents had been living since the 1890s.  I eventually took over my father's rice and coffee export business.  I married a Dutch lady from Bandung.  The wedding took place in Bone, South Sulawesi.  To my utter delight, I found all of these places represented in this postcard album.  What I especially admire and appreciate is the great sensitivity with which Stephen Grant treats the past, whether it be the colonial or the indigenous situation.  I spent a whole day with the book, plunged back into tine, and into my early memories.”––Wim Kissing, retiree in Ubud, Bali

“Stephen Grant's Former Points of View will have multiple appeal to readers.  For picture postcard collectors, Grant's book further demonstrates how effectively and intimately postcards can capture the spirit of an era now long gone.  For the non-collector with an interest in history, Former Points of View takes an important place among a still very limited number of works that provide a window into life in Indonesia in the first half of the twentieth century.  For the visitor to the bustling and dynamic Indonesian Republic, this book will help answer the questions of what came before the modern era and what influences helped shape the Indonesia of today.”
––Scott Merrillees, author of Batavia in 19th Century Photographs

“Stephen Grant travels far beyond stereotypical postcard images of turquoise waters and bikini-clad bathing beauties in this book.  The images range from the highly formal and stylised to others which are beautiful, haunting, stunningly unusual or just plain odd in their depiction of Indonesian life from the late 1800s to 1942.  Grant’s book is an illuminating and fascinating visual journey down memory lane.”
––GARUDA In-Flight Magazine

“While my father was a physician in the Dutch Colonial Service in 1891, I was born in Mojokerto, south of Surabaya.  I left Java for Holland at the age of eight, ninety-eight years ago, never to return.  When I looked through Former Points of View, I relived a part of my childhood.  Of course, I could not relate much to the buildings and to the industrial development, but I was happy to find the mountains, rivers, and natural scenery that had struck me as a child.  The book is so nicely designed!  Postcards are a great tourist attraction: I have bought and sent them all of of my life.  This rich book has also served the purpose of sparking my great-grandchildren––who live in the United States––to inquire about our family’s genealogy.”
––Johanna van Gelder

On the same theme, the reader may also consult:
Marcel Bonneff & Stephen Grant, « Bons Baisers de Batavia » Cartes postales des Indes Néerlandaises.” ARCHIPEL 47, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, Paris, 1994, pp. 53-85.

 

 

 

 
©2008 Stephen H. Grant.
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