In the pursuit of archival paper and a healthy work life balance:

a Conversation with Canon Bali

Photography has gone through some major transformations in the last couple of decades. With massive thresholds of technological changes. A purist in photography can probably recall being a wallflower in regards to the film versus digital debate back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. We all knew it was inevitable. Having to leave behind the darkroom and the red light to eventually be familiar with a computer to do our processing.

I am guilty of being one such romantic. Having a particular fondness for my dark room and the process of developing my own photographs. However, even with my own sentimentality, inevitably, time has made me a convert. Frankly though, I am just as sentimental. Despite the evolution to digital, my processing style is still very much a traditionalist when it comes to black and white. Although I do take far more advantage of editing controls in colour post processing.

Instead of the dark room, it is my printer, ink and definitely my paper, that make up all that excitement. Now, what takes the place of the magic of the darkroom, is the power of a great printer, ink and paper to make any photographer giddy.

Setting up our studio was straightforward enough, but we did get into a few hiccups when we started to look at available printers. We were certain we wished to have best quality in house printing possible. Above that, we wanted to make sure our prints were archival standard.

After doing as much research as I could with the availability restrictions that we had, I was very fortunate to be able to access without too much delay, the printer that I ultimately wanted, at this stage of our development. Having decided to source a Canon Printer, I’m extremely fortunate to have the support and service of Mr. Zaki and Cok Agung from the Canon Service Branch in Bali.

The experience was a learning curve for both sides. Having had access to various sources of archival standard paper in Australia, I found things were far from the same in Indonesia. The demand for giclee prints and archival standard art prints were close to non existent. The up side is that Canon already solved one part of the issue with having a printer with archival standard pigment inks. They were very quick to do everything they could and contact their head offices in order to source the archival standard papers that we needed.

So, for that, I am extremely grateful. Just as I’ve written about Delo, our exclusive framer, who is an ongoing partner to Sawidji, I am mentioning here another incredibly important support team. This support team is extremely crucial to our success in our archival standard photographic printing.

I invited Ahmad Zaki, and Cok Agung for a chat about their views and get a little more on their experiences here. It was our way of saying thank you for their support and acknowledging the importance of having great supply partners that mutually support each other.

a Conversation with Canon Bali

Dewi Dian Reich with Ahmad Zaki and Cok Agung of Canon Bali.7

Musings with Mr. Zack

One Sunny Day both Zack and Cok Agung made time to come visit us at our office and Gallery. They were kind to sit with me awhile and talk about their experiences.

Ahmad Zaki, also known as Zack is Branch Manager of Canon Bali (subsidiary of Pt. Datascrip in Indonesia). He has been with Datascrip for 22 years. 15 years in Surabaya and 4 years in Bali until present.

One of the things we talked about was the the length of time Zack has been with the company. He says it is due to the fact that they have a very positive Internal Culture.

Having had some experience with the importance of a good internal culture program I was intrigued and was given the following outline.

According to Zack, they really do prioritise positivity. Outlined in what they call the ‘Catur Sila’ (Four Principles):

  • Succeed Above Success.
  • CARE (Customer Interest, Attentive, Responsive, Enthusiasm)
  • SMILE (Share, Motivate, Improve, Lead, Efficient)
  • CoCoCoCo (Communication, Cooperation, Coordination, Commitment.

As a keen although critical student of positive models, I am just happy to hear when there is so much positivity actually being implemented inside a company. Far too often in my direct experience, it is only served up at face value. Seldom does it survive a true litmus test. However, in this case, we have 22 years long service. As proof of a successful internal culture. Which is perhaps why this company has grown from a small start up to the company it is today. And has survived and thrived for 52 years.

What is the most memorable thing that has happened this year?

For Zack, the most memorable thing he has experienced this year still is his adaptation to Balinese culture. He says he has learned to enjoy his life here in Bali. This made me raise an eyebrow.. I found it surprising at first, but then reflected, perhaps it is not so strange that adaptation may not come with ease to for everyone. Jack is from Sumatra and there is such a thing as culture shock from one Indonesian island to another.

I asked him ‘How has it changed you?’ He says quite frankly ‘ you have to improve yourself every day. I had to adapt because it was a culture shock’. He came from not knowing anything about Balinese culture. His transplant here from Surabaya must have been a jarring one as he had to prior exposure to what life was like in Bali and was completely unprepared.

During his first few months in Bali he would meet with so many people with very different ways of thinking he almost panicked. However, all in all it has become a positive outcome.

What did you learn from the cultural difference? Zack says ‘I learned from that time not to go against the main stream. But to go along with the flow’.

Musings with Cok Agung.

Canon Bali

One of the things that helped Zack deal with his culture shock was having Cok Agung come on board the team at Canon. Cok Agung is the Account Manager there and as he came on board, Jack had a guide to traverse the strange waters of life in Bali.

Cok Agung joined PT. Datascrip two years ago. A bit before that he had some experience in the United States. He worked with Disney Company for seven years, in the hospitality industry.

A lesson he learned through that experience was one of having a good ‘work life balance’.He found it was difficult to do that with the conditions as they were when working at Disney.

There was a time when things would hit a wall and he had to make a definite choice.

He recollects the time when his wife was about due to give birth to their first child. It was during the same time that he received a promotion. After one month of arguing all the time, he recognised the need to make adjustments and choose job or family. 2015,. In the end he returned to Indonesia. Not wasting any time, he started to learn sales and marketing to expand his professional versa

What similarities or contrasts were there between the places you worked?

‘Disney company have the culture value, there is a point of relativity between Disney and Datascrip. Disney also have 4 key basic values, Datascrip also has 4 principles. They actually have a lot in common. It wasn’t hard to transition. In Disney they make all the crew  there like family. So you can improve yourself and gain more knowledge to improve. Disney can make all the staff happy. Datascrip also have that. One thing they both have in common is that they achieve that.

Cok Agung chose to prioritise family over his promotions. Theres definitely a happy ending there too. Their first child is now 7 years old and the second is just 1 year old. And perhaps being back home in Bali and with Canon has made it somewhat achieveable to have a healthier life work balance.

Enjoy a moment and take a look through Sawidji Photography Collection.


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