Jim Allen Abel was born in 1975 in Ujung Pandang, formerly Makassar, on Sulawesi Island. In 2002 he and a group of fellow students from the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta founded the Mes 56 collective, named after the former air force barracks they set up in. The members’ aim is to subvert the conventions which, in Indonesia, reduce the photographer to a tukang portret – a “portrait coolie” – who exists just to fulfil commissions. Since graduating in 2005 Jim has been revitalising the classical portrait in the course of his travels with rock groups touring in Indonesia. Now well known locally and abroad, he is also the coordinator of the online photo magazine kantorberita.mes56.com.