Photography of Tomi Saputra from Indonesia

About : My name is Tomi. I was born in year 1990 in a small village called Lintau, located in West Sumatra province, Indonesia. I am currently living in Bandung, Indonesia.

During primary school, I was so obsessed to read plenty of things, as I kept imagining by visualizing the text that I read, then fantasize various things while chuckled in awe, looking at the text as if it was some sort of magic that could hypnotize in such a way. While I realize that the things mentioned, I finally wished to become a writer.

However, things get altered after I moved to my first year of middle school, like all teenagers in general. On one weekend, I decided to stay at one of my friend’s house. As I walked down the house, I found out that he had collection of photos. They were documentary photos taken by him documenting the activity of Karang Taruna Youth Academy in my hometown. There was attraction between the photos and myself, which I could not figure out how. Then, I took a close look at each of the photos, staring for a long period of time, thinking as if there was some magic that grabbed me right into the photos. What was this? I did not understand a thing back then.

I’ve had enough time brooding over and looking for an answer to why it is when I looked through a certain photo, there a part deep inside my heart that brought an emotional side of me in such a way. Normally, when it comes to reading, it took a process of visualization at the beginning and came to a conclusion of understanding what the writer is trying to affirm. However, when I looked at those photos from the time, it did not involve visualization step because it is already in a form of visual, which straight away gave me direction. As a result, I did not find a proper answer at the time.

After the incident, I had never thought about being more serious to photography. It was all because in 2002, it required film roll to take photos, not cheap indeed, and pocket camera called Tustel was only used in a certain condition, which was during an official ceremony or a moment that needed to be captured in a form of visual archive. Then, in 2005-2006, celular phone with OS Symbian was featured with a VGA camera. Therefore, by the time, I was given a chance to capture moments in a form of digital file.

In 2009, I moved to Bandung in order to go for further education. I received an education of Design, Communication and Visual at UNIKOM Bandung. However, for some reason, I did not manage to finish the course. And at this very moment, I was willing to focus more onto photography without having to limit myself by choosing a specific genre. Finally, I found out that I was interested in black & white and street photography, urban landscape, etc. Recently, I tend to devote my whole attention to photo work that tends to be expressive by giving a deeper mood, the feeling when I attempt to write a certain poem.

Statement  etc. : While writing, it took me quite a while to make up words, while writing poems or even short article. It is different to photography; I only think of an idea of a story, while the execution will occur slowly, even though I occasionally find a hard time applying ideas in many different stories.

The activity of writing and photographing have some similarities. One of them is that the author tries to express his emotion to their work, so the reader can feel the emotional side of the work of art.

Oftentimes on the process of taking photos, I could forget a number of things: pressure on the career side, financial problem and others that normally cause depression. All I ever know at that moment was to press that shutter button and gain beautiful shots. The eye, brain and heart could cooperate further in order to observe until the process of selection. There was this feeling of happiness that cannot be untold. And finally, there is satisfaction that cannot be expressed because the production is in printed form.

Photography in my opinion is like visual diary and memory of how I see the world; whether it is the beauty according to my perspective or just moments that I believe is appealing to be captured. Poems can present ambiguous commentary, and are not given explicitly by the author, likewise with the work of photographs that I am willing to serve.

Sometimes, it is quite difficult for me to deliver a message through text medium, and photography in fact is the most suitable one for me, although writing poems is still interesting. But for now, all I could ever think of is photography for being the best medium for my work of art.

My Project(s) : Currently, I already published 4 photozines by using self-publish: The END Room, A-Z, Wishful and The Audiences. On every project that I made, I often express my anxiety on life, musing on my condition or general problems with all the complexities of life. It feels too naive, but this is how I interpret with things.

Influence and favorite stuff : I could not deny the fact that the best photographers are in Magnum Photo. Fictional books, surrealistic work of art, film, music, and others do impact mostly on my work. There were sufferings, pain and lost that gave me the power to keep on growing and thriving in the process of inventing a certain work of art.

Tomi Saputra : Website | Instagram | Flickr