Portrait Photography

Christoph Schulz's Portrait for NEON

I made portrait of Christoph Schulz for Neon at the beginning of last October. The image was published on November issue of the magazine. 

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Christoph, who founded Care Elite, is a promoter of greener life and plastic-free products. When I met him for the portrait session at the beach in Lombok, he was just finished initiating a beach cleaning excursion involving local population and tourists alike.

 Portrait of Christoph Schulz, Careelite.

Visit his website to know him more.

Client: NEON Magazin
Assigning Editor: Frauke Schnoor

2011: My Year in Review

After more than a month without any posts, this one will be quite long (I'm not so sure whether the content is important or not). It's true that I've been quite busy lately with all the travels, pictures editing, and the writings. But near the end of this year; of our raged year; of our year where we witnessed tsunami in Japan; of our year with disastrous global economic situation which seems leads to nowhere; of our year with massive riot over The Middle East and North Africa; of our years where Ghadaffy and Kim Jong-Il or even Steve Jobs no longer in charge: I feel that I need to reassess myself, what I did and still manage to do this year. So I made a sort of list mixed between my travel, editorial assignment, and any other experiences. Here they are:

1. Moving to Jakarta

As most of you already knew, I based myself in Jakarta since last March. My impression of the city remains the same. It's big, ugly, infested with traffic congestion, which made it extremely boring for staying. However, this is one of the only few better place in Indonesia if I really want to expect more from my photography. So I started commissioned mostly to shoot portraits. As opposed to my earlier thought, this kind of photography is somehow really insightful. It helped me to broaden my view while it also put my communicating skill to the next level. I uploaded some of those works here.

2. Visiting China

I finally visited China, I mean small fraction of it. Being invited by the organizer of Humanity Photo Award, I never thought that I would ever won that Grand Prize. It's also because when I saw the contest's entries, I was looking at some of the best photographs from around the world. So I wasn't expecting much. Basically being in China would be enough. Apart from the ceremonies of the contest, the organizer also arranged the trip for us the winner and nominee. The 4 days trip was somehow frustrating, but now, when I look back, espceally when I'm looking what I am having in my harddrive, it was a relief. There are probably some pictures we couldn't ever made without the help of the organizer.

I then extended my stay to almost a month. I traveled for a while to see if China has something more to offer. My last week in China just got better when my mother finally joined me in Chengdu. We traveled together ever since. One good question crossed my mind: when did the last time you travel with your parents? My answer would be like "ummm, well, I forgot". So the trip with my mother really important to me.  It seems that we're just renewing our bond. One thing that I will be really glad to do over and over again. Sadly my father couldn't join us at that time for a funny reason: he is not yet having a passport. WHAT???!!

3. Glimpse of Europe

2011 is seemed to be my year of travel. Last May I was invited to go to Germany by my friend who were getting married. Who can refuse? Even basically this was planned long time ago. And to be honest I really wasn't sure that I really would ever be in Europe or not until the last few weeks.

The story was after the wedding I extended my stay for three weeks longer. From Wernigerode, where the wedding was held, I traveled to Berlin, passed Warsaw in Poland, and finally boarded the train as far as Kruszyniany, near the Belarus border where I found a old wooden Lipka Tatar mosque. The actual plan was to do a more specific project. But I screwed up my own schedule by the means of screwed up research. The project will remain unfinished until my next visit to Poland. But the travel pieces will be getting published this January.

Moreover, from there, I made my way back to Bialystok where my friend Jedrzej (he's a photojournalist too) made me feel like home in his flat. From there I made my way to Krakow to meet Anna, my friend who also the one who urged me to travel few years back. With her and Olek, her boyfriend, we went to Auschwitz (I posted some photos here). The trip wasn't over yet until I made my stop in Wroclaw where I spent some days with the so kind-hearted Gosia. With some 50GB of photos, this one of my biggest trip. It's fruitful

(Thanks a real lot to Yvonne, Knut, Anna, Gosia, Iga, Halim Shahab, Jedrzej, and Ozgun)

4. Singapore by the Street

For photography, I am a long time admirer of India, or China. But Singapore just never made my finger crossed. Well, I was wrong. Now I have to admit that it has its own charm, just like any other place. Sometimes you just need to be there to take a look at yourself.  At the end of last month, I was assigned to do the coverage about the grand opening of Transformers: The Ride in Universal Studio Singapore. Well, I was never a big fan of these autobots, so better talk no further about that. Then, I was also assigned to do a travel feature about Singapore (will be published early next year). But the topic required me to explore the place deeper since no one will ever want to hear about Orchad Rd again. In this chance, I mostly explore Singapore by walking combining with public transport. This was where I found that the city is so alive with its street scene. Need some good street photos? O.k, I'll look no further.

5. Ignoring a Decent Publication

WTF? I must be crazy. But that's what I did. If you have followed this blog for a while, then you already knew the story. I'm glad that I ignored them. The past few years we are witnessing the declining numbers of good pubcliation for us photographers. The jobs are rare while the amount of us are more abundant. May be they thought because now everyone can get a new camera then everyone can shoot. Buy this body and buy that lens and they can make good photos. I totally have some difficulties to understand why such a decent publication values our work that low.  So that was a big NO. Period.

6. Building a Website

You may say that I am late, and I actually am. I should have built one long ago. For so many reasons photographers need a website, a choice which is not that popular in Indonesia. As far as I know, in other part of the world, like the US and Europe, even a starter in photography have his/her own website to showcase their work. It's an important tool to publicize your works and your vision. I finally made this step last month, at the end of November. I did a quick design, oh sorry, it was modification from a flash portfolio template. I did aired it for two weeks before I decide that I don't like it. The reason is simple: the design. I need a more intuitive and better navigation. Also what's the point of making a website if you are hard to be found. For a starter in WWW world like me, that's absulutely important. Doing the SEO is harder with flash. So, then I made my way back to a more traditional structure without having to sacrifice the look. And it's finished here (you can also click on the picture to get there).

And then there's something that I feel after building a web. It's about quality. When I have my very own website, that's also mean I have to be really careful selecting the photographs. I have to show the best I have. This kind of feeling is totally positive. I bet.

So that's some update for the end of this year. This year might not perfect, but who want to be so perfect anyway. This year was good to me :)

See you again next year and of course HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!

Portrait of a Rebel

Few weeks of silence, that's what happened again to this blog. Yes I was quite busy lately. Last week, I spent 6 days in the southern part of Sulawesi (Celebes) for a special assignment. The reportage along with photographs will be published soon. And then, in the tiring month of Ramadhan, I found myself busy of writing some travel stories. The stories from my last European trip. Let alone this blog, I even don't have time for myself. So here is the last portrait I made and published by TEMPO English Edition. A portrait of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. He was in Jakarta several days before I was leaving for Sulawesi. The shot itself was in a rush. 3 minute available time since he had plane to catch. So I ended up with only 7 pictures in my compact flash. Fortunately, all is usable :)

Anwar Ibrahim TEMPO English

Anwar Ibrahim TEMPO English

Anwar Ibrahim, TEMPO.

Anwar Ibrahim, TEMPO.

That's all for now.

A very short post.

P.S: I personally like the original color better, but somehow it was adjusted for publication.

Interviewing the National Hero

A quick post. An intermezzo from my European travel posts if you really tired of it. Last week, I had a chance to photograph Rudy Hartono, a former world champion badminton player for TEMPO. It was a special interview regarding nowadays Indonesian struggle for its long tradition in this sport. In the last few years, Indonesian reputation in badminton is getting worse and worse. Interviewing Rudy hopefully will give the Indonesian some idea why. And he did it. He eagerly stated his personal point of view.

Talking about Rudy Hartono, he's one of the few national sport heroes of Indonesia. More than a hero, he's a living legend. He won men's singles of All England Badminton Championship as much as 8 times, which 7 consecutively from 1968 to 1974. Making him a record of no one can beat until today. No wonder he is one of the most famous player in the history of sport.

And these days, if you are interested to know, he roles as a successful businessman.

Rudi Hartono, TEMPO.

Rudi Hartono, TEMPO.

You can read the whole interview in TEMPO 5 July 2011 edition.

Rudi Hartono, TEMPO, English

Rudi Hartono, TEMPO, English

Thank you for visiting :)

Ali Topan: Revival

It's time for a little update.  My days in Jakarta are just fine. The job are just perfect for now; taking portraits, do some level of post-processing, captioning, and everything is done. My last assignment for TEMPO was to photograph the preparation of the musical theatre of Ali Topan. If you're an Indonesian at the age of 25 or more and don't know who/what Ali Topan is, then you're simply ou of league :). For any Indonesian below 25 you can ask your parents. Your father should know him, or even struggled to become another Ali Topan in his past. :)

O.k, so now you've known him; the iconic character of Indonesian past scene which marks the late 70s timeline. Although most of you might recognize hime from the mid 90s TV series, the story is based on the novel written by Teguh Esha, a bright star in the world of Indonesian journalism at that time. Some people assume the story is actually based on facts and Teguh Esha personal account. He, which we also paid a visit and interviewed, didn't deny it.

Now, in the form of musical theatre, both Ari Tulang, the famous Indonesian choreographer, and Dian HP, a musician, brought Ali Topan back into view. The key role on the stage is played by Dendy (Mike's Apartment vocalist) as Ali Topan and Kikan (ex-Cokelat vocalist) as Anna, Ali's pair. The performance lasted from 11th to 17th of April 2011 in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta.

My focus for the assignment was about everything behind the scene so I didn't photograph the performance. I travel to Teguh Esha house twice and wait for both Dendy & Kikan in some boring hours just for 3 minute shooting chance. At the end, the photographs are just as good as I imagined. :)

A Brand New Day

The last few weeks have seen me contemplating for a decision; moving to a big city.  O.k let's make it clear. Big cities? I was never a big fan of them. Just to be honest, I never really lived in a big city before, the thing that probably made me never love it. My case now is about Jakarta, the Indonesian capital that jam-packed by millions people, cars, and skyscraper brick walls. I've visited it a lot in the past, but never really get myself into it. However, time passed and opportunity offered. After think about it for a while, I finally decided to move and give it a try. So what am I doing in Jakarta? Shooting pictures for sure. I cannot think of doing something else. For the last few years I've been doing what I like to do and I don't think it's time to give it up, or at least not yet. But there's a slight difference between what I have done before and the thing I am doing now. Commissioned for Tempo, an Indonesian leading news magazine, it's no longer about travel pictures, but more to portrait and photojournalism. I will still shoot travel pictures though, but for now I will try to tackle and do the best to this new challenge. I just feel that there are a lot to learn from this.

Andi Mallarangeng, TEMPO.

Andi Mallarangeng, TEMPO.

Above is my first photo session and publication for Tempo. It's a portrait of Andi Mallarangeng, Indonesian Minister for Sport and Youth Affair. I did it for this week Interview pages which discuss about the conflict between Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and Indonesian Government. The interview are published both in Indonesian and English edition. The latter will be available in the newsstands as far as Europe within few days.

Final words, it's a brand new day and there's always first time for everything. I eagerly will look forward for more :)