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The Serene Seascapes of Hengki Koentjoro

A Parallel Planets piece by Joy Celine Asto
A prevalent element in Hengki Koentjoro's hypnotic photography is water -- mostly calm, sometimes frozen in movement, sometimes in textures or patterns -- which may come as disarming in monochrome to some viewers. I should say I am one of these people, as I am used to (and have a preference for) seeing seascapes and underwater photos in color.

Considering the serene aesthetics of his work, it doesn't come out as a surprise that the Indonesian fine art photographer consistently bags awards and mentions for his excellence in various categories, such as black and white photography, seascapes, and water/underwater photography. He has also participated in many exhibits in and out of Indonesia, including those for Asian Geographic Magazine, Taiwan Photo Fair 2013, and Photokina 2014. All these merits, despite mentioning in his biography that he only minored in the fine art of photography, and describing himself as a "part time practitioner of the art of black and white photography." His choice to shoot Indonesia's landscapes and seascapes in monochrome, however, stems from his belief that it is his "true purpose in life's journey of expression."

Hengki's landscapes and seascapes exude an atmosphere of tranquility that only nature can offer, and, as with anything rendered in monochrome, a certain mood that only the absence of color can induce. Speaking of the presence of water in most of his work, I find it interesting how he makes use of its various forms and qualities to draw attention to his creations. The softness of flowing water captured through long exposures aptly reinforces the imagery of tranquility that he goes after for pieces like "Silence," "Reminiscence," and "Sati." Meanwhile, the gurgling, bubbling, and rippling of water in pieces such as "Ethereal," "Lace," and "Pool Play" make for beautiful abstractions that can only be achieved with underwater photography.

Looking at my own fondness for shooting seascapes, Hengki's work inspires me to explore the creative possibilities and boundaries that come with black and white photography. While I am certainly biased enamored with the dreamy hues I get whenever I photograph beaches using color film, I also find myself challenged by the visual wonders that black and white photographers like Hengki are able to achieve with the absence of color.

Browse through the rest of Hengki Koentjoro's stunning monochromes on his 500px page and Facebook Page.


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