Re-Discovering The Artistic of a Photographer
Introspection of a Moody Photographer, a conversation with ManButur Suantara.
What is it that I am loooking for in art? Particularly, within my own photography. People know me within colour landscape and commercial photography genres. I am most active in these areas of photography because that is where I make my living. So it is only natural that this is what I am associated with.
But I often find myself asking, is that what I really want to do? Am I happy doing what I do? what is it that I am looking for personally from photography and where will I be in the end. What will I become?
Lessons From Photography
Looking back on how I fell in love with photogrpahy, I try to understand what made me love it as much as I do. It is simple. I feel happy looking at something beautiful. A good panorama, a good view, a good image is sometihng I enjoy. As a result I learned about composition, balance and subjects that I am drawn to. It is an exercise of self observation as well.
I think back to when I was learning photography. From technical theory to on-site experience, documenting events and people. In this field of practice, you learn to recognise key moments. We become very sharp at identifying moments that are important and significant. There is unconscious filtering and editing that happens. This is part of a photographer’s skill. We are the ones who choose the significance.
The Spirit of Legong Series is a beautiful example of ManButur Suantara capturing of rhythm and timing.
Photography and Patience
Another skill, perhaps a virtue that we learn is patience. In 1999 I began to learn landscape photography. I continued to study other genres aside from black and white. I explored macro photography and architecture as well.
You learn patience in studying landscapes. You learn patience in wedding photography too. Certainly, you need patience in wildlife photography. Patience is a consequence of my learning photography.
These are parts photography that I fell in love with. It has taught me many things.
In ManButurs’ Wildlife photography, patience plays a big part in capturing these preistine and perfect monments of birds in flight and in their natural habitat.
Understanding Art and Photography
Though I learned many things, learning about art in photography was not so easy.
I learned more about the art in photography from a different perspective when I met Dian Dewi. Working together and through collaborations and conversations. Equipped with my experience from the many travels and journeys I have taken with many mentors in the field. Step by step I try to learn and develop my knowledge and skill. There are things that I still find difficult to understand in its entirety.
I learn from many sources and from many different people. Sometimes the information is also unclear, you have to deal with this ambiguity and make up your own mind.
There were many conversations in Sawidji. By being involved in many projects oftenit is a project that is outside of my skill set. Yet still within art. I became involved in a lot of areas of art that I was not previously privy to. This opened up perspectives, considerably wider. This knowledge from all these other areas of art is something that comes back and adds dimension to my photography.
What have I achieved for myself personally in my perspective of art?
My idealism, my ego, and what I truly want from a photograph are essentially something that I like. I don’t care if people like it or not. There are images I have taken years before, perhaps because of the additional exposure and all the new things I learned. I get an idea now and I have a new vision for its reinterpretation. Some of my images take a long time to become their final version. It sits perhaps within my subconscious for a long time. I am admittedly a moody person, so editing my work is something that does not happen without some conflict and effort.
Learning through Other Art Disciplines
Being involved in Sawidji and our projects, seeing and meeting artists and hearing how they think and how they go through their process. How they perceive life and present issues makes my vision mind wilder.
There are unique things that we experience here, and the way we approach collaborations. Where multi disciplines are brought together as one artistic piece. I have not found this anywhere else in this way, this type of environment and this spirit of collaboration and integration.
What is a commercial photography and what is a fine art photography?
This is a question that actually should not need asking, but yet here we are and not every phtographer will know the answer.
We have many interesting discussions about this. Simply, it is purpose and function that separate the two. Photography that serves a commercial purpose is commercial photography. Fine Art Photography is a work of art that happens to be using the tools of the photographer. It is a tool purely for creative expression.
In Sawidji, I learn more about the subtle difference and the big ones, because I am exposed to many artists. This is the world of art. This is not about photography, this is about art and photography is a part of that.
Melodious Urban by ManButur Suantara. Exhibited in World Without Sound Anthology
Do you think it has improved your photography?
It has widened my knowledge about photography. And in practice, tt has helped me not to fear to try something new. Out of focus, blurry, non conventional use of the camera. It has opened unlimited creativity. Also taught me deeper concept development and how to articulate my ideas and help it mature. In fine arts, you don’t just need a basics in photography, the scope is wider. It has unlocked my perception and given me much more freedom. I no longer feel restricted or bound by the perception of the commercial function. This is certainly something that gives a sense of satisfaction.
About ManButur Suantara, more about the artist.
Explore Mineral Matters, Nature’s beautiful architecture in black and white.
The World in Black and White