Hengki Koentjoro, Photographer

 I had the wonderful privilege of interviewing photographer extraordinaire, Hengki Koentjoro,

whose photography has been a never ending source of inspiration for me.Hengki stayed in California for a couple of years and was born 55 years ago in Indonesia, in Semarang, Central Java. He returned to Jakarta, Indonesia in 1991 where he now resides.

He remembers getting his first camera for his 11th birthday, a Kodak Pocket and in those days used film that took roughly a month to develop. He had to wait in anticipation for the photos to come back from Singapore as there were no local laboratories at the time. When they did finally arrive, the excitement was overwhelming and something he would never forget.

I asked him who he admired in the photographic arena and other areas of the arts;

'The great Ansel Adams was my idol; I never thought that black and white photography can be so beautiful. Later I would go to the US to study his trademark Zone System at Brooks Institute of photography where I earned a Bachelor of Art degree in video/motion picture and minor in fine art photography'

Hengki agrees with Elliot Erwitt that said photography is an art of observation; it has little to do with the thing you see and everything to do with how you see them.

For him photography is an expression that should evoke emotion. 'This emotion is the mirror of your character and soul and they should be present on everything you photograph'.

The style of photography is atmospheric photography; it is a photo that exposes mood and nuance of a specific location.

Most of his photography deals with minimalism; it is an inspiration that comes from the Japanese art form called Haiku. In minimalism, less is more and photography is in his system most of the time, depending on the situation. He feels that it is a calling of the heart and therefore happens automatically and spontaneous.

The place where he takes his photos are not that important, it is the spirit that can come anywhere and anytime without giving notice and as long as he stays mindful and can take advantage of the situation and capture what is there at that moment.

Hengki is greatly inspired by Mother Nature and more especially the ocean, she rarely disappoints. Ansel Adams and Michael Kenna are the two idols that he looks up to.

I asked him what message he would you like to convey with his photography and what message he would have for aspiring photographers.

'One must have an idol to pave the way, it's like a blue print so one can't get astray and wonder to the wrong directions. Know your camera inside out; one must not think too much of the technique and concentrate more on the aesthetic part. Break the rules and always ask "what if" because improvisation is the mother of creation and every artist in every discipline must have the ability to do so; boredom is the enemy of the creative mind'

'DO NOT STOP whatever happens. Be true to yourself because you know yourself better than anybody else'

When Hengki is not taking awe inspiring photos, he loves to scuba dive and swim. Sport interests him as it replenishes your body and balances your sanity!

What a stunning philosophy to have!

Thank you for your time, we wish you well and keep on taking the magnificent photos you do to inspire, that we can feast our eyes on your wonderful souls' calling!


See Hengki Koentjoro gallery


Visit Hengki Koentjoro's official website