It is always a real pleasure for all of us to view the splendid imagery of Gunarto. This great artist has a wonderful ability to photograph such varied subject matter and make them all into works of art. Discover more about the man behind his images. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
My name is Gunarto Gunawan, in photography I am also known as Gunarto Song. I was born in Cilacap, Central Java in 1976. I self-taught photography in 2011 and was helped by a friend who had been in photography earlier. I own several retail outlets for glasses; that is my daytime job.
How have your history and life experiences affected your work and what first attracted you to photography?
A friend of mine ( Mr. Herry Sobiran) invited me to try photography and with the support of my wife I left my previous hobby (bowling) which I had been doing for 10 years That’s when I started my new pastime: photography.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
At the beginning, I was motivated by Indonesian photographers whose artworks are known internationally. Then I started joining domestic and international photographic communities, one of them is 1x.com. It opened my eyes and I got the ambition to have the same level of photos. At first, my motivation was to get my photos published and have the appreciation of the photographic community and I was very proud when I got appreciation from 1x, since it’s not that easy to take photos that can be accepted at 1x.
I used to imagine when I joined 1x to get 100 published photos, and now after almost 5 years of struggles I have only 3 more left to accomplish this goal and I am sure to reach it.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
For me photography is a part of my life where I can immortalize beauty, magnificence and pictures of life. I try to have a dream, and with this dream I have the motivation to create and to take photos from all over the world.
Why are you so drawn by Landscape, Nature and Macro photography?
When I started Photography, I concentrated for almost 2 years exploring macro photography in which I found the beauty of the macro world which can’t be seen with the naked eye.
At the end I felt it’s not going to get me anywhere, then I tried in the fields of landscape and travel where I felt I won’t be bored and can impove myself. It also challenges me, makes me glad, peaceful with appreciation to be able to see the beauty of nature, human lifes, different cultures, as well as seeing sad things that sometimes moved me and made me sad. Since then I fixed my attention on travel photography covering landscape, humans and nature.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
For me the three aspects – mood, story and technical perfection – are related to each other in creating good and perfect pictures. A good state of mind, a story behind the scene and technical perfection will produce magnificent photographs.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Most of the time I do a brief location survey, on the internet and see the reference of previous photos about certain areas I intend to visit, whether the location is accesible or not and whether there is accomodation available. From there I decide if the place is worth visiting. With this in mind I need to prioritize because my time is limited because I also have to spend time on work and family. On every trip, I never target specific results but only maximise the available time to explore a certain site.
What gear do you use?
From the start of learning photography, I had set my heart on Canon. I used to have 5D mark II and now I use 5D markIII and 5D SR, the prize from a 2016 international photo competiton. Also all the lenses I use are Canon lenses from wide, tele, and macro.
What software do you use to process your images?
As a matter of fact, I always try to create a photo with good and perfect camera technics, which 95% Photos that I shoot will be “one shot one kill”. With this, its easier for me to do post processing in photoshop, less time consuming since I don’t prefer to spend too much time editing photos in photoshop.
Can you tell us something more about your workflow?
Photos taken must be maximum quality in the camera, then I do post processing at RAW file through ACR, like adjusting exposure, WB, shadow, highlight, clarity, and other necessary things, then into Photoshop to finish up a few things such as level, curve, sometimes also using NIK software.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Landscape, Nature or Macro photography and how do you get started?
My advice is, in order to have a good and perfect shot, even in macro, landscape, and nature or other photography, we need to go after every moment, not waiting for the moment. It takes plenty of practice and also looking at other people’s creations. Since I did all of those the results have been satisfying.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I like all genres in photography, for me photo is not just about one genre. Since I like doing all photo genres, I won’t be getting bored. In that case, when looking at a photo what I see first is the result, then I see the person who took it. For me anyone can create a superb photo, even people who just started. So up till now I have no favorite photographer.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?
One name that is my source of inspiration is Daniel Kordan
. By looking at his photos, I had dreams of going to beautiful places, where I believe Daniel went and it probably took great efforts and sacrifice. That for me is just a dream and goal for the future.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I like to imagine and have dreams of one day going to Africa, South America and certain places in China.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
This is my first published photo in 1x. Thank you 1x.com!
Winner of “New Eyes”. The third international travel photography competition.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
For me 1x is one of the best photo communities in the world where I can learn a lot and get inspiration from other 1x photograher colleagues. I hope 1x will progress and innovate ever more in the photography world community.
At this moment, I would like to thank my team mates, Narsis Photography, Jenny Tan and Charles Amaya who supported me and accompanied me on my photo trips.