Meaningful Nothings - Revisited

In between sending emails, contacting people, and making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I came across - and decided to revisit - my old mini project, Meaningful Nothings. The idea of combining prosaic poetry and photographs have always been close to my heart. I realized, however, that I did not capture the essence of the combination in my last rendition of Meaningful Nothings. I decided, then, to redo the whole thing; this time rethinking the use of text, specifically its purpose and relevance within the image. Instead of putting the text side by side with the image, I decided to incorporate the text within the image, and play around with the formatting to reflect the feel of the prose. 

A little background about the items; they are pieces of memories I collected over my lifetime alongside various ticket stubs, receipts, and random maps I found on the street. The items I picked to show in the series are those that have the deepest stories - stories that are both mine and not mine to tell. Playing with the text's format has been easier on some proses more so than others, and I ended up having to rewrite some of them here and there. I found the way 'untouched' in the Twinings image truly fit the way I wanted the prose to flow at the end - slow enduring, and somewhat playful. 

There are more images under way, containing some more memories, but I suppose it won't be so easy or obvious as the first two, but we'll see where this project will go. I realize I'm not the best writer in the world, especially with prosaic poetry, but I decided to keep doing it anyway. Email me with thoughts or whatnot about the story, or let me know whatever you think about it. 

This year, something entirely different; a brother's marriage

_DSF5425Only last march I went back to Indonesia to attend my sister's marriage, and yet here I am again, attending a brother's; this one, however is a brother from another mother (and father too). Liman, as we like to call him among many other, less appropriate names to call him from, had been our sworn brother - a practice common in asian countries, mind you - for at least 8 years. A brotherhood (to be more precise, a siblinghood) of 8 people, we knew each other from series of both fortunate and unfortunate events, and had a series of traditions we uphold. Long story short, we know each other very well, and treasure ourselves quite a lot. Yesterday, the 2-day long wedding ceremony took place; today, he is officially a married man. Three Cheers for a brother in love, and an extra one for going where no one of us had gone before.

I had the fortune of documenting some behind the scenes, and here they are. This is for my brother, Leeman (another name we call him amongst the more appropriate ones), and to my other brothers and sisters.

_DSF5455

_DSF5506

_DSF5580

_DSF5602

_DSF5596

_DSF5619

And here's a portrait for you, dear brother,

_DSF5484

Meaningful Nothings

Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with words as much as images, and the idea of somehow combining the two had always been close to my heart. Also close to my heart, is my own stories; ones that plays over and over in my mind - loudly, softly, or otherwise. In short, Meaningful Nothings is a mini-series trying to combine my love for words, images, and stories (that of my own, in this case). Meaningful Nothings is also an experiment; an attempt for me to try different things in exploring my work. _DSF4469

_DSF4473

_DSF4480

_DSF4476-2

Feel free to drop me a message/comment on thoughts!

Cheers!

Meranti - an ongoing/upcoming project

Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on a project in various places. It's currently ongoing, but you can see a short trailer below! http://instagram.com/p/rm8cy4BH8p/?modal=true

On a related note; the instagram account above is one i use solely for projects/work, seeing as my personal account is now mixed with random stuff - feel free to follow! There will be future projects in it.

Tons of things are in the works, and will hopefully get to the blog once it comes out; for now, enjoy the instagram updates!

Cheers, Adi

Natural Surveillance

title gradient-4A month later, a website was born. Over the last month I have been working on a project in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS) about natural surveillance. In keeping with the surveillance heavy nature of the recent conversations, I decided to take a more relaxed perspective on the subject matter. I also decided to explore using websites in order to present a photographic/multimedia work in order to make the experience (a little) more interactive. Check out the website by clicking in the image above!

Cheers, Adi

Film? Film.

Untitled-1

For my upcoming project, I have decided to switch into using film. I love digital photography, and I am still using it, but at the same time I'm trying to push my boundaries with film; seeing as I have never actually use it for a project before. I choose to use a medium format camera, and a Kodak Portra 400 for the film, because once you go for film, might as well go big (not 5x4, however, that's a little bit too much). I did a quick test with the camera to make sure it was working and thankfully it still is. Edinburgh, here I come.

They Who Dance

Last month, I was able to visit the city of Ubud, Bali, in search for stories to cover. What I found was an interesting dichotomy between art preservation and means of living. I wished I had more time to work on the story, instead I had to return before long. I visited one of the performance space, Ubud Palace, to see if I could get access to the behind the scene of one of Bali's most famous dances; tari Barong. The show was on almost every day in the Ubud Palace; that night was Sadha Budaya Dance studio's turn, who kindly allowed me access to behind the backstage. _MG_8180

_MG_8499

_MG_8450

_MG_8323

_MG_8463

Buskers

cover3 After a long, arduous steps, I have finally published my most recent project that took a bit of time to make - Buskers. Buskers tells the story of the art of street musical performance, and the people behind it (click on the image or here to go to the project). It is an ongoing project, but I had to share the first part because it felt so close to my heart, and perhaps because it's a personal message to a friend.

It is not everyday that we meet people who inspires us, and I blame fate to have allowed me to have met such an inspiring figure, B - the man behind the first part of the busker project. I truly hoped that my work - to a certain point - captured the essence of the man, for my words could never have. I have never met a man more open to strangers, both through music and rconversations, as B. Warm as a kindling fire to anyone who approaches him, I had wondered how B's past had affected him. I, of course, am in no place to understand the links between his story and his present, and can only gaze in wonders.

In the end, this post is a message to B - it has been a great pleasure in meeting you. It has been a great learning process, and I did learn a lot from you. I truly hope that whatever you are doing will be fruitful, and that you never stop being a source of warmth in the cold of winter, nor the comfort of rain in the draught of summer.

Cheers, Adi

And so it was

Following a couple of hours of plane ride was three days of marriage ceremonies - my sister's of course; not mine. Having been married already in the states, my parents longed to see her married in our hometown Makassar, in front of our grandmothers, and inside the church we had been going to for long. That time arrived yesterday. The procession was complex as it was long, with one formalities followed by another, long hours in the humid air of the typical townhouse, and sometimes inexplicable activities, and yet the couple marched through. With all the camera around, almost dictating every single move, it was hard to get a glimpse of truth in the whole situation, but perhaps, just perhaps, I managed to obtain some - a small window in which nothing matters but love. _MG_7763

_MG_7782

_MG_7786

At the end, perhaps there's more to marriage than the photos, and that photographers should strive to capture real moments instead of creating them. Also perhaps, is that I know nothing about weddings, and am just being a bitter old man. All those bitterness dissolved down the sink when I then realize that regardless of what the people put them through, it was their moment, as a couple, in a home where she lived in. Moments of truth will arise when it felt the need to, wherever they are, whenever it is. Love needed made, and so it was.

Another three cheers for a sweet marriage. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah.

_MG_7842

Iphone photojournalism? why not!

I have never been a big opponent of Iphone (or ANY SMARTPHONE) photography - I love using it when I don't have my camera with me, and I had always thought that it takes good picture; for instagram at least. Whenever I could, however, I would prefer my DSLR - faster focusing, better dynamic range, and... now that you mention it, I don't know what else. Indeed, one day, a mob of workers in protests appeared in front of my eye when I didn't have my camera with me. I took out my Iphone, and started shooting. IMG_2210

IMG_2195

IMG_2321

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) the Iphone (or again, ANY SMARTPHONES) allowed me to get really close. The tiny, non threatening size allowed people to be more comfortable with me putting a piece of thin box before their faces. I might look funny running around pointing my cellphone at people's faces, but at least I got great photos from such tiny contender (it's smaller then a Leica!)

So, Iphone photojournalism? Why not indeed.

The Model

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been working alongside a couple of friend of mine on a campaign project. The project involves a certain company and a certain matter, but I am in no place to disclose any information yet, so I'll keep it at that. I approached the shoots with a documentary photographer's perspective, and had came across many models - some better than others. The recent shoot managed to introduce me to a great model and a great shoot. Following are a couple of pictures from the pre-shoot. _MG_6714

_MG_6727

_MG_6740

_MG_6747

_MG_6752

_MG_6707

I am hoping to be able to post the actual result of the project, but that will be a little later. For now, more work to be done.

Cheers~

Within the Walls of the Prayer - an Ongoing Work

I crept my way on the wooden floors towards the room, stopping silently by the door. Beyond the wooden frames, lit by the morning sunlight filtering through the window were the sounds of chanting. Earlier in the day, a woman came to give offering to Buddha through the monks. Other than the sounds of the chants, the room was completely silent as the sunlight shifted and gave way to rain clouds - soon water started to trickle down the temple roofs. Buddhist temple 1 (2)

Buddhist temple 1 (3)

"Within the walls of the Prayer" is an ongoing work, stemming from the interest in the confined space upon which faith and culture blooms. In the big cities like london, where culture and religion are largely a private matter, it found itself confined in the physical walls of stones and steel. It is in those space, however, another wall was erected, a wall of prayers. Growing within the walls of the prayers were faith and culture, bloomed, and flowered into a microcosm of its own - a completely different universe from those outside of the walls. This work attempts to take a peek into those microcosms, and make sense of its place in the largely cold city of London.

Hindu temple (13)

Hindu temple (11)

Hindu temple (20)

I managed to visit three different places of worship; a Hare Krishna (ISKCON) temple, Buddhapadipa Temple, and the East London Mosque - all of which contained not only the most pleasant people I had met in London, but also a solemn air unlike those outside. Teachings were told, some in english, others in their own native language, or both, and prayers were said to their own faith and for some reason, the warmth provided by each institution had always contrasted the cold rainy weather of London streets.

mosque (1)

mosque (12)

mosque (11)

I long to continue working with the people in each institutions, and perhaps along with others to continue this work. Having always been interested in faith and culture, I long to understand more of each faith.

Studio Shoot with Andrea and Petalie

I had the honor to work along a great photographer and a great model last Tuesday; Andrea and Petalie. The two of us - Andrea and I - decided to put LCC's studio to good use. Andrea managed to invite a great model who stood, sat, and pose around for a three long hours. Thank you, Petalie. Along with Petalie, Andera himself became a model for my shoot - the results of which I was rather happy with. This would be the first time I ever work with such wonderful studio light (graduating from a 'speedlight on a tripod stand' strobe) - and more than one at that. _MG_0455

_MG_0473

_MG_0506

With Petalie, I decided to go black and white; the theme being longing and waiting - for some reason. Petalie was being very helpful with the amount of poses she suggested.

_MG_3686

_MG_3694

And finally one where I wanted to accentuate her gorgeous looks.

_MG_0588

At the end of the day, it was a lot of learning done in a couple of hours; not to mention great pics. Again, Thank you to Andrea and Petalie for your time, help, and participation!

Cheers!

Craftmen of London Pt.2 - The bicycle

bike and fish-36The morning sun crept slowly, coloring the cold blue morning a trace of yellow. I made my way towards the spot indicated by my Google maps, a red pointy dot pointing towards a Goulton road in the Hackney borough of London. Looking around for signs, I noticed the residential area surrounding me - no signs of a shop, much less a workshop. My map led me to a cast iron fence guarding a compound of a couple apartment units; a little search revealed a buzzer on top of a red brick wall, marked 'unit 2, Kennedy city bikes'. Within minutes, I was walking inside an apartment, revealing a workshop with giant windows by the side; tires and tools by the walls; and a bicycle in the middle of the room - much like a trophy. James, a tall, gruff man wearing a work apron, greeted me, offered some tea, and started working on the unfinished bicycle chassis.

bike and fish-67

bike and fish-61

Started as a hobby, James had been making bicycles for a couple of years. "I wanted to travel cheaper, so I decided to make a bicycle," He said, stopping for a while to drink his tea; "It ended up not being that much cheaper," he said before continuing his work. Soon after, he quit his job to open Kennedy City bicycles, and started hand building bicycles for sale. James worked almost two hours straight, almost never once moved his eyes from the bicycle - except for a couple sips of tea.

bike and fish-256

bike and fish-183

The Bicycle he was working on was a teal chassis with a honey leather seats; simple, classic, and lovely. At the end of the two hour long process, he declared the bicycle to be done, stood back, and marvel at his work. The sunlight poured through the windows giving the bicycle a yellowish tint, and for once, I have never wanted to ride a bicycle as much as I did then. James shook my hand, and informed me that they are moving to a new - better - workshop. As I walked outside the workshop towards the cast iron gates, I wondered if James, the work that he does, and the kinds similar to his, are the rising modern counter-attack towards industrialization. Young artisans, producing hand crafted, high quality masterpieces; if it truly is the way of the future, I am behind it all the way.

bike and fish-189

Craftmen of London Pt. I - Leicaman

Project1-Leica (393 of 618)"You are lucky to be able to see a Leica being dismantled," the man said as we descended a flight of stair into a dark workshop. Scattered around the room was shelves of Nikon SLRs, Leica boxes, and pieces of Leica bodies. Ever since I picked up my M3, I had always been a big fan of the camera (I care not about the battles between brands - I love Nikon, I use Canon, and adore Leica, Mamiya, Zeiss, and everything else), so when I was allowed to peek - and document - the process of repairing a classic Leica M2, I was filled with glee. "Come here and take a look," the man said as he sat down and put his assignment - an M2 - on the desk; he had shifted some boxes around him just enough to make space for me to stand. "Now let's see here...," He mumbled a little as he lowered his magnifying visor; after which, he began to work. What followed was almost two hours of concentration as he slowly, carefully, and tactfully disassembled the camera. Screw by screw, part by part, the Leica began to look less like the famed sleek minimalist body that it had been known for, and more like a piece of random machinery. Project1-Leica (217 of 618)

Project1-Leica (221 of 618)

The work was not fast - one does not go fast when dealing with a camera older than I am - but it was thorough. Along with the repairs, the man also changed the leather ("Vulcanite - I don't know why Leica used this trash; it's very poisonous," as he put it), and did some maintenance with the lens, a 50mm collapsible Summicron.

Project1-Leica (342 of 618)

Project1-Leica (556 of 618)

"Done! Another happy customer," The man said as he marveled upon the finished camera; it looked brand new by then. As he walked us upstairs back into the shop, I wondered how many Leitz Cameras and lenses had this man worked on? how many times had he thought to himself, "another happy customer"? and as he walked outside, and tried to shoot with the leica, feel the tiny whisper of a click from the fabric leaf shutter, how many times had he tested a camera by shooting it outside the shop? The number, however many it is, will grow, perhaps past the hundreds. It was an otherworldly experience, seeing a man fixing a piece of wonderful mechanical engineering like a Leica, with such finesse, and such pride.

Project1-Leica (615 of 618)

Project1-Leica (150 of 618)

Full Manual

The plastic bag rustled as I put it on top of the wooden table; I reached inside,grabbing some sandwich and a bottled water. I had just arrived early at the campus, we were supposed to meet at 10; it was 9.50. Eating the first couple of bites, I noticed a man running towards the large campus glass windows, and looked inside before smiling a large smile at me - he soon joined me at the table. The man was Andrea, one of the many who joined the group of people pursuing the path of photojournalism in my college._MG_0738 Later that day, we spent close to six hours huddling in the darkness for our first portfolio presentation - it was then when I truly realized how high the bar is for the class. 32 people in the class presented, all of which had wonderful works, many of which were very well thought and organized. "Full manual," paul, the magnum photographer - course director said, giving us our first assignment. "35 mm lens, 400 iso, full manual, and pay attention to everything in your frame," he continued. So i did.

The next couple of images were all in full manual (except for one picture - I was holding a giant book, and could not use my hand to focus, so I set to autofocus) iso 400, manual exposure. The only difference is that I was using a 50mm instead of 35, since it's the only prime I have.

_MG_0726

_MG_0730

_MG_0731

_MG_0732

_MG_0753

_MG_0758