Photographer of the week: Hengki Lee

This week we will immerse ourselves in the extraordinary work of Hengki Lee. His poetic and powerful visual style captivates the viewer like few others. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview. You will find more photos in the end of the article.


Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I am a self taught visual artist and photographer enthusiast from Jakarta, Indonesia. I bought my first DSLR in 2009 but wasn’t sure what I wanted to take photos of. Then I started taking some conceptual still life shots with a very simple lighting method, but was inspired by artistic moody shots from several good photographers online, and got interested in and doing the genre until now

I do trading for a living, photography is one of my hobbies beside sports and music.

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Everyone has ups and downs in their lives, and so do I. Whenever I feel sad or lonely, I tend to express those feelings by writing poetry. I’m also a person who often reflect on life, and in this life there are things that I really value. Among them are: genuine friendship, sincerity and unconditional love (the love I received from my mother). Those are the subjects that I try to expose and strongly influence my work. And as you can see, I often portray friendship, parental love, loneliness and contemplation in my work. 

What first attracted you to photography?
The power of moment and story and also the aesthetic aspect of it.

Describe your overall photographic vision.
“The beauty of being different” is my vision in making an artwork, as I portray them not in the mainstream way.

Why are you so drawn by photography?
Because great photographs provoke my mind, curiosity and fantasy. And for me photography is a medium to express my feelings, thoughts and obsessions.

What is more important to you, the story behind an image or the technical perfection?
The story behind an image. For me technical perfection is a good thing, but it only can provoke my eyes. An image with a unique and surprising story, surely provokes my mind. 

What is your most important advice to a beginner in photography and how do you get started?Just be yourself, appreciate your own work and be proud of it. Keep exploring your obsessions, fantasies and visions. By doing so, you will get a strong and unique character in your work. Don’t be discouraged if many dislike your work, just keep trying.

Don’t limit your creativity by sticking with the rules of photography. Make something surprising or explore something new. And the most important thing: respect others and their work because one who respects others, respects himself!

Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography? 
Adreas Kauppi, Hengki Koentjoro and Angela Bacon Kidwell. All of them create strong, emotional work, beautiful in composition. I really love how they express their thoughts and emotions through their work, so strong and mysterious. And those kind of impressions have affected how I approach my own work.

Is there is any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?

By Andreas Kauppi.

This image is so beautiful. I love how Andreas play with silhouette and the cloth which was hanging on the wall, as if there was a dialogue between them. This kind of image really provokes my mind to imagine the story behind it and also inspires me to explore my creativity in creating a story in an artwork.

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?
To win more and more International Photographic competitions and to sell many fine art prints worldwide. I wish one day I could hold a solo exhibition in my country and abroad, and launch my portfolio in a book.

Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?


It’s very unique and has a strong emotional impact. I shot the image in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia using the Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Double Glass Optic.

Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
For me is so special and a place for me to sharpen my skill in photography and visual art. There are so many things that I can learn from this wonderful community, I hope will become bigger and keep improving in the future. 



Join Our Insider List

By joining you agree to our terms and privacy

Next page