Art

The Mystical Element

Empty docks and still waters, mystery people hiding their faces…

Images by Firman Handanda Boedihardjo Interview by: Teo J. Babini

Empty docks and still waters, mystery people hiding their faces, an umbrella acting as an emotional shield… This is the world of Firman Handanda Boedihardjo.

Ancol ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Ancol ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Tell us a little about your photographic journey. Are you a professional photographer or is this a personal passion? What tools and formats do you most enjoy shooting with?
I started shooting in high school (1987) with a Nikon FM2 analog, mostly street photography. After some time I had to stop because it costed too much money to print the photos. In 2008, I started again, with my Nikon d60 and Nikon d90, and have kept at it ever since.

I’m not a professional photographer, I’ve never sold my photos before, but I love sharing all the photos that I’ve taken. It’s just a hobby, but I love to travel around my country (Indonesia) and show the world how beautiful the landscapes are.

Waiting ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Waiting ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Your work is largely in black and white some some sepia tones and the occasional pop of monochromatic color, what motivates this palette?
I do use color sometimes, but I love black and white and monochrome tones more than anything else. I feel black and white emphasizes the object in the frame without any interference from dazzling colors, allowing the audience to focus and better understand the meaning / story of the photo.

Tanjung Kait ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Tanjung Kait ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Another common thread in your work is the use of vignette, what are you trying to achieve with this technique?
I love using vignette because, once again, I want to focus the audience on a particular object and point of view.

Stone Colony ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Stone Colony ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

There is a general eeriness to the environments you capture; overcast skies with fog and super still water reflecting empty boats. What attracts you to these scenes?
It’s a long exposure technique. I always use this technique, because it can make the atmosphere appear more peaceful and calm.

Still Standing ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Still Standing ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

When we do find human subjects in your work, they appear distant and enigmatic. Tell us about the characters you create/capture (the woman in the dress and the hat wearing man in his chair).
When working with a human subject, they become the story or feeling that I want to express. They are stories of great loss and hope, ideas that I want to show my son, who I love more than anything else.

Serangan ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Serangan ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

What is the actual purpose of these elevated water structures featured in many of your photos?
Water for me is the “mystical” element… You will never know how deep it goes. With the long exposure technique, it can appear rather quiet and peaceful.

Pier of Hope  ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Pier of Hope ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Do you find inspiration in the work of other landscape photographers, such as Ansel Adams?
I love all the black & white Landscape photographers, but only Michael Kenna’s work truly inspires my own photography.

Mr P ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Mr P ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

What’s up with the umbrella?
The umbrella in my photos is just a symbol; it protects me from the rain (sadness).

More work can be seen on Instagram @OPA_FIRMAN

Gubug ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Gubug ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Karam ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Karam ©Firman Handanda Boedihardjo

Comments are closed.