NESW Photo Book | AZ's Blog
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AZ's Blog | Indonesia Photograher / Mobile Photography  / SE Asia Live, Interview with Jakarta Based Photographer, Ahmad Zamroni.

SE Asia Live, Interview with Jakarta Based Photographer, Ahmad Zamroni.

SE Asia Live
NESW Photo Book Taken Entirely using a Camera Phone: Interview with Jakarta Based Photographer, Ahmad Zamroni.


Tell us about NESW.  What specific theme or idea did you wanted to convey with NESW and what motivated you to pursue it? Explain the significance of the title NESW.

The title North, East, South, West was chosen to represent us: Ahmad Zamroni (Forbes Indonesia Photo Editor), Dita Alangkara (Chief Photographer of AP Indonesia), Yuniadhi Agung (Kompas Daily Photographer) and Mast Irham (Chief Photographer, EPA Indonesia); whom all work as a photojournalist and have a different style in communicating through photography.  The title is also a cardinal sign that symbolizes guidance to those seeking directions.  We aim not to differentiate one another, but rather to compliment each other.  Ultimately, we wanted to show that every photograph is personal which could be created by anyone and anytime freely.


Why did you decide to use a camera phone to take pictures for this project? What were the benefits and limitations that you discovered of using a camera phone?

Having a camera phone is the norm nowadays.  It is a device that we always have in our possession.  It’s different than using my DSLR, photographing using a camera phone gives me a different experience.  It is a unique and it doesn’t feel like shooting an “assignment.”  There’s this carefree and relaxing feeling which is similar when I was introduced with photography for the first time.  The imperfection (in terms of quality and precision) would be similar as to life itself, full of challenges and surprises.  Also with a camera phone we don’t need worry if the photographs are lacking depth of field, grainy, and with poor lightning and inconsistent colours.  However, we learn from the experience that both beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.



How does the use of a camera phone change the experience of taking pictures as compared to shooting with a DSLR?

The interesting phenomenon that occurs with using a camera phone is that we become more articulated when we look at shapes and moments, in a sense that we perceive them more artistically.  We are also able to see a visual aesthetics of an otherwise a very common scene.


What kind of camera phone did you use and your choice of picture editing applications?

I use a inPhone and the Hipstamatic apps mainly because of their simplicity and the similar look of shooting with negative film.


In your opinion, how did mobile photography and the social media change photography and the public reception of images?

The digital era has transformed photography to be more inclusive.  The availability of the camera phone has further reinforces that inclusivity and everyone could become a photographer and a storyteller.  I think this is very important in order to increase the public’s appreciation of the visual imagery. Unfortunately, not all photographers and artists understand or agree with this although they are experts with visual and in story telling.  The social media is one of the best methods to reach the audience at a more personal level.


There are 4 different photographers contributed to this book including yourself. Did each of you focus on a specific theme?  With each photographer shooting different things and with a different style, describe the image selection, sequencing, editing, and design process that took place to create a more cohesive work for the book. 

There are no specific themes.  You could say that each one of us shared stories about own lives, while on and off assignments.  As a result, we needed extra efforts to compile and narrate our experiences into a book.  We had to make some compromises with each other and to ourselves to make the book more unified and whole.  In more than one occasions, some photographs that we liked personally were excluded on purpose in order to maintain the integrity of the narration and the cohesiveness of the book.  Combining ideas from four different photographers was not an easy task as well.  We had a few disagreements regarding the concept, designs and marketing of the book.  Nevertheless, our close relationship with each other helped us in reaching an understanding.


What are some of the challenges that you encountered while shooting and putting the book together?

Photographs having one theme are perhaps easier to compile into a book.  However, since this project is consisted of multiple themes, it required a more intensive effort primarily in sequencing and creating the visual narration of the book.  This is the challenge that we faced and that’s why we needed editors to help us avoid bias and subjectivity.  Also, we want to make this book less personal to be more enjoyable to others.


What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

There’s this African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”


If you have one last frame to take, what would you shoot?

I wish that it would not come to that point.  I hope that I would always have enough frames to photograph because we don’t know which frame would become the most valuable.  But when that happens, I would save that last frame for something so precious until I would get another frame.




Ahmad Zamroni or also known as Roni, is an Indonesian photographer working in Jakarta. He began his career as a photojournalist in 2002 at Kompas Cyber Media before joining a foreign news agency, the Agence France-Presse (AFP). Since mid-2010, he has been working for Forbes Indonesia magazine.







Original Source :

The objective of SE Asia Live is to pool images taken in South East Asia and share them utilizing the social media. One of our primary objectives is to create a visual map of the transformation that is underway in the region. We also focus on images that celebrate diversity and capture the uniqueness and beauty in the monotony and spontaneity of everyday moment. We strive to use our images to educate, engage, inspire, and encourage discussions among our viewers. Ultimately, SE Asia Live aims to act as a source of information that promote understanding, a catalyst to connect both the photographers and the viewers, and a platform to share stories and photography from South East Asia.

Like our page SE Asia Live and follow us on Instagram @seasialive


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