Wirawan Sanjaya, a wedding and commercial photographer from Jakarta & Semarang City, Indonesia, may be 13 hours away from our every day in the states, but his images seem to speak universal thoughts in a completely different way. He’s built a career on wedding photography for eight years now; yet his landscapes as well as his family as the subject are just as captivating—full of quiet emotion. His wit and humor are quickly uncovered here, and we love that his affection for film and his equipment is a relationship all its own. Clearly our friend Wi2 is all about this work. He’s created www.is-amare.com together with his friend and film-enthusiast and is married to his high school sweetheart with two photogenic kids. We’ll be hearing from him all week on @indiefilmlab.
IFL – How did photography become a part of your life?
WS – I’m totally stupid at drawing or painting. I don’t even know how to draw a chicken, something that a 5-year-old kid could do. That’s why I love taking photos. It’s easy—just click the shutter and that’s all. I started shooting in high school, but only on a point and shoot camera. After I graduated in 2005 I went to China to learn Chinese language, but I ended up shooting landscape, street and human interest every day. From that day on photography has been part of my life.
IFL – What/who/where gets you inspired?
WS – I was so lucky that I was born in Indonesia—a country with a very beautiful landscapes, with diversity, culture and customs. Indonesia is always inspiring my work. I also collect photography books and from these I also learn a lot of things. Many photographers inspire my work—Henri Cartier Bresson, Paolo Roversi, Mary Ellen Mark, Deborah Turberville, Annie Leibovitz, Lillian Bassman and many more.
IFL – Why Film?
WS – Film is imperfect, just like human nature, which makes it beautiful. 1) The Process. I simply fall in love with the process of shooting film. From the moment the film is loaded, up to the moment when we see the pictures for the first time, the sensation is just irreplaceable. 2) The Look. People always talk about the “film look.” The best way to achieve that is shooting film. Simple. 3) The Camera. Your camera is more than just an equipment, it is also a statement about who you are. Walking around with an analogue camera hanging around you is badass—enough said.
IFL – What’s your favorite film stock?
WS – I wish I could only shot Portra 800, but its too expensive. Sad face.
IFL – If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
WS – Tennis player, rockstar or a lawyer.
IFL – Do you have a favorite location or city/country to shoot?
WS – Yep, for sure! My country Indonesia. The east part of Indonesia is HEAVEN.
IFL – Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
WS – The hardest part shooting film is to defeat yourself. If you could defeat yourself, have confidence and know what you do, then everything is going well.
IFL – Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured?
WS – I love my work, so it’s always exciting when I’m shooting. I don’t have a favorite images that I’ve captured. Every single session has its own.
IFL – Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
WS – Choosing a camera is like finding a girlfriend, so I like to stay with 1 or 2 cameras. This is in my bag:
1. Pentax 67 + 105 f2.4
2. Mamiya 7 + 65 f4
3. Leica m4p + Sonnar 50 f1.5 + Ultron 28 f2
IFL – Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
WS – Yes, I travel a lot! When I’m home I play with my kids!
What makes you feel awesome?
Music,weather and good food is a perfect combination.
Favorite thing about your current home/town:
My hometown is famous for street food. You have to try the street food here when you come to SEMARANG.
Food you love :
I love Indonesian FOOD. Ha!
Favorite music :
I love slow rock music. 1990 songs have more soul, not like current music.
Do your kids/family think photography is cool or nerdy?
They always think their father was badass.
How do you play/have fun outside of photography?
I play tennis.