The Liquid Journey: Fine Art Photography by Hengki Koentjoro

Soar. Children of West Papua © Hengki Koentjoro

Soar. Children of West Papua © Hengki Koentjoro

Hengki Koentjoro was born in March 24, 1963 in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia. For him, photography is not just a way of expressing his most inner soul but also creating a window to the world where through his pictures the unseen and the unspoken can be grasped. Driven by the desire to explore the mystical beauty of nature, he develops his sense and sensibility through the elements of fine art photography. His freedom of expression is more reflected in the elaboration and exploration of black and white.

We had the fantastic opportunity to find out more about mr. Hengki's knowledge, ideas, tips  and inspiration about photography, completed by some of the most fascinating black and white pictures from his portfolio.

Tell us about something about Hengki Koentjoro Photography? Hengki Koentjoro photography is a passion. It is a celebration of images that portray the surreal world of nature around the Indonesian Archipelago. It is a love affair with the oceans. It is a refuge and sanity. It is a life-long journey of expression. It is a place to get lost.

Can you make a brief description on the pictures in this set? I love the element of water; to me water is life as well as a source of artistic inspiration that has guided me thru out my photographic career. I’m constantly awed by the raw power and the tranquility of the Ocean, I tried to capture it’s sheer emotion of it’s character thru images from above an under the sea. Strong contrasts as well as smooth tones are my interpretation of the ocean spirit; a Yin and Yang compliments.

How long have you been shooting fine art and what were some obstacles or difficulties that you encountered? I have been involved in Fine Art photography since 1987 when I traveled to California to study Photography in Santa Barbara, California. I studied motion picture production and graduated in 1991. I went back home afterward and become a freelance cameraman in Jakarta. The love of photography however never cease in me and with the arrival of the digital world, I started to get more serious and spent time more by shooting stills around my day job. Thanks to the magic of Internet everything start to pick up; sharing works with others become easier and the two-way communication started. Photography is a beautiful form of expression and I hope to continue perfecting my skills as far as I'm able to.

Difficulties would be to persuade viewer to accept Black and White photography.

It is a vibrant world we live in so BW photography kind of the other end of the stick. Although things are better now thanks to the emerging master like Michael Keena and Nick Brandt, they successfully educate the viewer of its beauty and help spreading the gospel of Black and White photography.

What’s your creative process like and what do you wish to convey to your audience? My creative process starts with lighting. The light that I’m looking for is a bright and contrast light. I think proper contrast will bring tension as well as harmony; it is an essential ingredient that makes photography speaks with emotion.

I like to take the audience to a surrealist journey in Black and White photography. I believe she is mystical as well as mysterious. It gives more freedom and it evokes stronger emotion. This journey is into the unknown, private and unbounded without walls. It is an escape to serenity and sanity, away from the mundane.

Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography? The huge ocean is a refuge for me. The huge size is stunning and the big-Blue atmosphere just calms you down. I love to see details and study the environment around me, I love to documents event and I find photography can satisfy this needs. I suppose photography is the art of seeing and not just looking. I also believe it must come from the heart or the truth wont surfaces. Helen Keller once said that you have to see from the heart In order to see the beauty of the world.

What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work? One must know the basic; it is this basic that is used to create one personal style later on in the future. To me I always love Ansel Adam’s work. The zone system is a knowledge and discipline to achieve the perfect photograph. With it you can control the tones and achieve a certain mood or nuance that is unique to your personal style. Once the basic is master then the most apparent move is to break the rules and be one with your self.

Can you name some great photographer that inspires you and why? The Three Masters that have influenced me are: Michael Kenna for showing us that art of simplicity, Ansel Adams for his ingenious method called the Zone System and Michael Levin for his artistry of creating the surreal using long exposure technique. Their works have shed some lights and directions; they have carried me thru during the rough times during my life journey of expression.


Dear Hengki Koentjoro, we would like to share our gratitude for all the extra time and effort to shape these ideas and to write them down for this interview. The pictures are amazing, something unique, a great demonstration of professionalism, passion, experience, vision and creativity. We would like to wish you good luck with your current and future work, good light and don't heasitate to contact us when you will launch a new photographic project.