Biography: 19th Century Javanese photographer Kassian Cephas

Biography: 19th Century Javanese photographer Kassian Cephas


Kassian Cephas (1845 – 1912) was a Javanese photographer of the court of the Yogyakarta Sultanate. He was the first indigenous person from Indonesia to become a professional photographer and was trained at the request of Sultan Hamengkubuwana VI (r. 1855–1877). After becoming a court photographer in as early 1871, he began working on portrait photography for members of the royal family, as well as documentary work for the Dutch Archaeological Union. Cephas was recognized for his contributions to preserving Java’s cultural heritage through membership in the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and an honorary gold medal of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Cephas and his wife Dina Rakijah raised four children.

Cephas’ studio was located on the second floor of the building where he and his wife lived in Yogyakarta’s Lodji Ketjil Wetan area, now known as Major Suryotomo Street. His photography business was not the only one established in the area during this time period. Aside from portrait photography, Cephas also produced many works on buildings and ancient monuments. This included photographs of the Taman Sari Water Castle (1884) for the Royal Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences.

Shiva Temple with on the stairs, photographer Kassian Céphas, Prambanan, circa 1895

Shiva Temple with on the stairs, photographer Kassian Céphas, Prambanan, circa 1895

The photographer Kassian Céphas on the beach in front of the pasanggrahan (hotel for government officals) of Mancingan near Parangtritis, Kretek, Bantul, 1897

The photographer Kassian Céphas on the beach in front of the pasanggrahan (hotel for government officals) of Mancingan near Parangtritis, Kretek, Bantul, 1897

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Streetscape, presumably at Yogyakarta, 1895

Streetscape, presumably at Yogyakarta, 1895, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Young woman massaged by a child in Java, 1901

Young woman massaged by a child in Java, 1901, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889

Tjandi Prambanan, 1889, Photographer Kassian Cephas

 Street at Yogyakarta, circa 1890

Street at Yogyakarta, circa 1890, Photographer Kassian Cephas

1889-1890, Photographer Kassian

1889-1890, Photographer Kassian Cephas

An heirloom of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, circa 1895

An heirloom of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, circa 1895, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Javanese woman, circa 1900

Javanese woman, circa 1900, Photographer Kassian Cephas

The crown prince of Yogyakarta, circa 1919

The crown prince of Yogyakarta, circa 1919, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Young Javanese woman in the photo studio of Céphas at Yogyakarta, circa 1900

Young Javanese woman in the photo studio of Céphas at Yogyakarta, circa 1900, Photographer Kassian Cephas

A dancer at Yogyakarta, circa 1900

A dancer at Yogyakarta, circa 1900, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Carpenters, presumably at Yogyakarta, circa 1880

Carpenters, presumably at Yogyakarta, circa 1880, Photographer Kassian Cephas

A weaver, presumably at Yogyakarta, circa 1880

A weaver, presumably at Yogyakarta, circa 1880, Photographer Kassian Cephas

Beksan Bondoboyodans at Yogyakarta, circa 1895

Beksan Bondoboyodans at Yogyakarta, circa 1895, Photographer Kassian Cephas


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