Indonesian ‘Hobbyist’ Photographer Creates Breathtaking Black and White Photos

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Hengki Koentjoro is a fine art photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Born in Semarang, Central Java, his love affair with photography began when his parents gave him a Kodak pocket camera as a birthday present when he turned 11 years old.

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After graduating from California’s Brooks Institute of Photography with a major in film/video production and minor in Black & White photography, Hengki returned to Indonesia and settled in Jakarta. There, he works as a videographer and video editor. His video work mostly consists of corporate profiles, TV commercials, and nature documentaries.

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Although Hengki claims photography is just a serious hobby that he indulges in his spare time, his images have won countless awards worldwide. It’s easy to understand why.

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Hengki’s preference for black and white photography is influenced by his admiration for the work of Ansel Adams. In his own words, Hengki says of Adams, “His ability to control the tonality to create moods and atmosphere captivated me and my passion started from there and I never looked back”.

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Practicing Ansel Adam’s Zone System, before shooting, Hengki tries to envision his subjects in black and white. He believes this helps in choosing the proper subject matter, composing the photo, and forecasting how the resulting image will look.

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The ability to play around with tones allows Henki to create atmospheric photos that beautifully balance a combination of composition, texture, shapes and lines.

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“Photography can never be separated from the aspects of making the common things unusual, welcoming the unexpected, indulging and embracing ourselves with the joy of photography”. Hengki Koentjoro

Lake Lido

Prashant Panjiar – Veteran Photojournalist in India

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A self-taught independent photojournalist, Prashant Panjiar is one of India’s best-known photographers.

The students play on the hill adjoining the Gurukul.

Based in New Delhi, Prashant specializes in reportage – editorial and documentary photography. A veteran in his field, he also works as a consulting editor, curator, and educator.

A fisherman with his catch, Veerampattinam, Pondicherry.

Actively involved in guiding young photographers in India, Prashant is one of the three senior photographers who select and mentor young documentary photographers for National Foundation of India’s fellowship program. He is also a co-founder of the Delhi Photo Festival, and the Nazar Foundation.

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Born in 1957, Prashant is a post-graduate in Political Science from Pune University, India. During his university days, he developed his photographic skills working on photographic projects that focused on peasant movements and other social issues.

A farmer plows his field before the start of the sowing season.

From 1984 through 2001, Prashant worked for several major Indian magazines as a photographer and eventually editor. Since 2001, he has devoted himself to being a full-time independent photographer specializing in editorial and documentary photography. Prashant’s work is regularly published in leading magazines both in India and abroad.

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Travel Photography Spots in Shanghai

Electric Dreams III

Similar to other major Asian cities, Shanghai has some great locations for visitors to photograph. Whether you’re looking for modernity, or tradition, Shanghai has something for you.

Lujiazui Skyline

The Bund (along the waterfront of Huangpu River) is a great spot to take photos of Shanghai’s iconic skyline. The skyline is at its best at night with dazzling neon lights and lit cruise ships reflected in the river.

Around Old Town Shanghai

A fun place to visit is Shanghai Old Town. Very touristy, but the traditional buildings and markets combine to make a fun photo walk. (Just to the northeast of the old town is the splendid Yu Garden, whose landscaping and traditional structures offer some more subjects to photograph).

Shanghai Film Park

A unique photo opportunity is a visit to Shanghai Film Park. This is one of China’s largest active outdoor movie studios, with impressively open access. — you can walk around (and shoot) sets of old Shanghai, and if you’re lucky you’ll also see some actual actors scurrying about.

Qibao Ancient Town / Shanghai

If you have time, eighteen kilometers from Shanghai city center you’ll find Qibao, a typical China water town. Qibao is a wonderful place to take photos of ‘old China’. The old town is composed of two canals crossed by three stone bridges. These are surrounded by old stone-paved streets connected with many side lanes.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Canon and Nikon Collaboration Produced Japan’s First Camera

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The origins of Canon date back to the founding of its predecessor, Seiki Kogaku Kenkyusho (Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory) in 1933. At the time, German Leica and Contax cameras dominated the market – although they were quite expensive. But when Goro Yoshida disassembled one, he was shocked to find it was constructed of relatively simple parts made of inexpensive materials such as brass, aluminum, iron and rubber.

Together with his entrepreneur brother-in-law Saburo Uchida, and Takeo Maeda, Yoshida founded the company to develop an alternative to the Leica – a 35mm rangefinder camera that people actually could afford.

Kwanon prototype

In 1934, Yoshida’s prototype camera was ready – a 35 mm focal-plane-shutter camera. The prototype was named the ‘Kwanon’, the name of the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The camera’s lens was called ‘Kasyapa’, named after Mahakasyapa – a disciple of Buddha.

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At this time, the company adopted a logo for the camera. The logo included the word ‘Kwanon’ together with an image depicting the thousand-armed Kwanon and flames.

In 1935, while Precision Optical went about planning how to produce their cameras in quantities to bring them to market, the decision was made to change the Kwanon name to ‘Canon’.

Nippon Kogaku Kogyo logo (1939-1949)

At this early stage in the company’s history, Precision Optical lacked the resources and facilities to produce an entire camera on their own, so they turned to another Japanese company for help. The company they selected was Nippon Kogaku Kogyo (Japan Optical Industries), an established optical manufacturer that had been in business since 1917. (Nippon Kogaku later became today’s Nikon Corporation).

Nippon Kogaku agreed to build and provide Seiki Kogaku with the rangefinder mechanism, focus mount, and the all-important lenses needed for their new camera. The lens was a Nikkor 5cm f/3.5.

Hanza Canon

With this technical support, Precision Optical’s first production model camera – the ‘Hansa Canon’ – went on sale in 1936.

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Nippon Kogaku’s contribution to the Hanza Canon can be seen on the camera itself. Early models are clearly marked “Nippon Kogaku” on the bottom of the focusing helical. And of course, the name ‘Nikkor’ can be seen on the lens. (Nikkor lenses continued to be used in Canon cameras until 1948, when Canon began using their own lenses – which were sold under the ‘Serenar’ brand name).

Canon Serenar 5cm 50mm f2 lens

So, with the help of Nippon Kogaku Kogyo (Nikon), Precision Optical (Canon) had succeeded in launching Japan’s first 35 mm focal-plane-shutter camera.

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Although the Hansa Canon didn’t introduce any revolutionary features, it is credited with putting a Japanese camera in the same league as Leica – quite a coup for the company that would later become Canon.

The Hansa Canon also kick-started Nippon Kogaku on the road to becoming Nikon. Although they had produced camera lenses in small numbers before, the Hanza Canon marked Nippon Kogaku’s entry into the mass production of camera lenses – which eventually led to their entrance into camera manufacturing.

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The collaboration between Seiki Kogaku Kenkyusho and Nippon Kogaku Kogyo marked the beginning of Japan’s camera industry.

 

Contemporary Japanese Photographer’s Saturated Colors Create A Distinctive Style

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Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa first trained as a graphic designer, before turning to photography.

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In addition to achieving success through her commercial work in fashion and advertising, Ninagawa has also won numerous awards for her art photography which explores themes of Japanese youth culture, the dark side of eroticism, and the effects of light on color.

Woman in red dress

Ninagawa is best known for her vibrant and brightly colored photographs of flowers, goldfish, and landscapes.

Praying Mantis on flower

Further expanding her creative repertoire, Ninagawa directed her first full-length film in 2007 (Sakuran), followed by a music video for the popular group AKB48, and a film adaption of Helter Skelter (the Japanese manga).

Open field with trees

It’s always a pleasure to see a talented creative person who continues to explore different medium.

Where to shoot in Kuala Lumpur

KL Night scene

Visitors to KL (Kuala Lumpur) will find that the city has several places that are of interest to photographers – ranging from towering skyscrapers and colonial architecture, to lush greenery and stunning religious structures.

Petronas Towers at Night 2

Arguably the most photographed locale in Kuala Lumpur, shots of the iconic 88-story Petronas Twin Towers are a must. In particular, photos of the towers at night are guaranteed to be worth the effort. And, if you want to take breath-taking photos of the city, take the elevator up to the double-decked Skybridge, situated on the 41st and 42nd floors.

Flower stall in "little India" or Brickfields of Kuala Lumpur

If you’re in the mood for color, Little India in Brickfields is an ideal location to shoot. This bustling street is lined with pastel-hued buildings, filled with stalls and shops selling traditional Indian goods such as saris, flower garlands, spices, and more.

Busy food street = happy

For photos of KL’s local’s, a visit to Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang in the evening is worth considering. Packed with hawker stalls and seafood restaurants, you’ll find throngs of locals sitting outside enjoying local foods under bright fluorescent restaurant signs and red Chinese lanterns.

Bird Park KL

A visit to Kuala Lumpur’s Bird Park gives you a chance to get some great shots of tropical birds. The 21-acre aviary contains over 200 different species, giving you a wide variety to photograph.

Mosque - Kuala Lumpur "Masjid Jamek"

No visit to KL would be complete without shots of Masjid Jamek, the city’s oldest mosque. While the red and white mosque is picturesque on it’s own during the day, silhouettes of the minarets and domes against the dawn sky can result in some dramatic photos.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Maitree Siriboon – Thai Village Boy Becomes Acclaimed Artist

Portrait of Maitree Siriboon

Maitree Siriboon was born iand raised in a rural village in Ubon Ratchathani, Isan, (in the north-eastern region of Thailand). At age 15, he Around 10 years ago he moved to Bangkok to study art, first at the College of Fine Art and later at Silpakorn University where he received his Bachelors in Fine Art.

Buffalo Boy with Flowers

The multi-talented Thai artist works in various media – mosaic collages, installations, performances, and most recently, photography.

Mosaic Buffalo

Maitree incorporates much of his childhood landscape into his art, where one can view a colorful scheme of trees, farmers, rice paddies, and water buffalo.

Buffalo Boy with Laptop

According to Maitree, “I’m an Isarn Boy who dreams of making art that heals the world both naturally and spiritually. My home, Ubon Rathchantani, gave me life as a child.”

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The 30-year-old has a wonderful collection of photography and mosaic pieces that pay tribute to water buffalo – appropriately entitled “Buffalo’s Heart”.

Panda buffalo

In recent times, a common insult in Thai is to call someone ‘kwai’ _ a ‘buffalo’. The term is used to describe someone who is less educated, difficult to teach, foolish, or stupid.

Maitree Siriboon in staw pile with water buffalo

Maitree is not amused by the term, as he believes that the buffalo, through its hard work that helped build Thailand into a rice-farming nation, was a key component to building Thailand into the modern nation it is today. Through his work, the artist hopes to restore the dignity of the lovely kwai.

Maitree Siriboon lying on water buffalo

Maitree is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bangkok Bank Art Award, and the Silpakorn Pradit Award. His art has been featured in an array of publications, such as The Nation, Elle, Contemporary Magazine, and Art Asia Pacific.