How far your passion with Mobile Photography has taken you? For me, it has re-ignited my passion for Photography in general, allowed me to publicly exhibit the fruit of that passion many times in many places, put some of my work on mainstream media publication online and offline, and most importantly it has given me a chance to meet and to get to know the most awesome people around the world.

But for these 25 Indonesian Instagramers, it has taken them much further and higher than most of us probably could achieve. Their passion with Instagram has given them the opportunity to meet, face-to-face, with the First Lady AND the President of Indonesia! They also spent a day doing a photo-walk inside the Presidential Palace, shared their passion of photography with the First Lady and had dinner at the place where normally reserved for foreign dignitaries!  Who could imagine?

As the story goes, it turns out that the First Lady, Madam Ani Yudhoyono, is a Photography Geek. She opened her Instagram account back in April this year under username @aniyudhoyono, and have been regularly uploading her shots ever since. Then last month, there was an announcement on her Instagram that she was organising an offline gathering, an Instameet for her Instagram Followers at the Summer Presidential Palace at Bogor (outside capital city Jakarta). The meetup is called Kopdar Istura, or Offline Gathering for the People’s Palace. Followers must register to take part, and only a few will get invited.

At the end there were 25 Instagramers who got chosen to attend, including 3 members of iPhonesia (the biggest Instagram Community in the world). On the morning of July the 5th, the gathering started with a tour around the Palace. The group was shown the painting collection which belongs to Indonesian first president – Soekarno. When the tour finished they were herded to the front entrance of the Palace where the First Lady, where Madam Ani had already waited for them. She greeted each of them and said how happy she was that she could finally meet them after previously just looking at their photos (in Instagram).


Immediately the group set off for a photo-walk around the ground of the palace which is famous to host more than 600 Spotty Deers. Satisfied in taking many photos of the deers and the surrounding, the group were taken to the front part of the Palace across the fountain. Here they got a surprise when suddenly the President himself came out from seemingly nowhere and walked towards to group. The most powerful man in Indonesia greeted the Instagramers who couldn’t believe their luck and immediately took the opportunity to take photo with the couple.

When the photo-walk had finished, the group went inside the Palace and gathered in one room where Madam Yudhoyono then shared a bit of her photos and her passion of Photography. The session continued with each of the Instagramer also sharing one of their favourite photo to the group. This is closed with a group photo with the President and his wife on the stairs of the Palace. At this moment, the President said that he would call this group his first United Instagram Cabinet.

Here are some of the comments shared by the 3 iPhonesian who were lucky enough to get invited, they were Aries Lukman (iPhonesia’s founder), Windhu Pratomo and Dina D Kosasih.

How far your passion has taken you? Let me know in the comment!

Aries Lukman (@AriesLukman)
It has been a great event that helping the public to feel closer to the First Lady. Her passion of Photography, with the help of Instagram, has given an opportunity for the First Lady to get closed to member of Instagram in Indonesia. It’s been a great experience for everybody.

Windhu Pratomo (@windhupratomo)
I was very happy and proud to have an opportunity to meet with Madam Yudhoyono and Mr. President. We were received with open hands and with all the limitations we could still taking photos together and shared a chat with the First Lady.

Dina D Kosasih (@DinaDK)
I was very happy to get invited to join the First Lady for the Photo-walk at the Bogor Palace. Madam Ani Yudhoyono was very enthusiast to meetup with us. She shared her experience when she went along with the President through her photos. She also said that through her photography she learned a lot about the object of that photo itself.


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