Indonesian Native Masters the Art of Black and White Photography

Hengki Koentjaro, born in Indonesia, pursued his fine-art degree in California. Hengki has found his niche in black and white photography. He pulls his inspiration from other photographers whom he admires, and encourages himself to break the rules every once in a while.

“It is classic and evokes stronger emotions than colour.” When asked why he prefers to work in black and white, Hengki told us.

Hengki’s work is truly unique, and emotion provoking. From Indonesia to California and back to Indonesia, he captures the beauty in every adventure he takes.

Read more from our conversation with Hengki.

THE PLUS: Throughout the years, what do you think has been your biggest change in style?

Hengki Koentjro: Evolution in technique is necessary for photographers but not necessarily a clear vision. The vision is oriented toward the beauty of nature, and I think Mother nature still has so much to offer. In terms of technique I concentrate more on luminosity.

Contrast is important, but not paramount. Luminosity can create a completely new atmosphere in photography, especially when you can control the strength of light thus giving the ability to control the effect of the sun.

TP: What about black and white photography intrigues you the most?

I find Black and While is pliable; it is easier to create atmospheric photography and create many moods. It is classic and evokes stronger emotions than colour. It is easier to create mystic and mystery in a scenes as well.

TP: People, Places, or Things?

I went to the Old City of Jerusalem last year. The approach that I tried was inspired by the style of the genre “street photography”. Since I’m less familiar with this type of photography, I did not have any preparation other than documenting sacred moments whenever possible. I started by standing at a certain place and I tried to capture the human activity and interaction within that area.

TP: Where do you find most of your inspiration?

I find my inspiration through many photographers that I encounter on the internet. Sometimes I observe and borrow certain style elements from their photos and funnel them into my own creation.

TP: After living in California and returning to Indonesia, do you have a preference of the scenery you photograph?

I’ve found that good photograph moments can be found anywhere around you. Each location is special, and the only way to find out is to start the journey.

TP: Any creative tips to share?

I try to break the rules once in a while; just do everything differently. A fresh approach is always great, especially if you’re experiencing a creative block. One last thing… do not forget to look behind you because 30% of the great photography moments are the ones we’ve missed behind us.