It's been a while since Bayu Wira Handyan came back to the regency of Purworejo, a province found in the southern part of Central Java, Indonesia. The place is no tourist destination where five-star hotels and premium tour guides are available, but for those seeking the raw beauty of nature, Purworejo might just be the place to be. For Bayu, this is also home. Returning from the northern coastal city of Semarang, here's Bayu, revealing all that is special with this place in dreamy monochrome.
Hi Bayu, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Firstly, when did you start with photography, particularly film photography?
I started getting to know photography since the second grade of junior high school. I was constant and routine to use a film camera because at that time only film camera that reachable by my financial ability. At the time, the price of films and lab processing in my city is still very affordable for a student. Just for information, the price of one roll of Kodak Colorplus only Rp. 14.000 ($ 1) while the cost of lab processing is Rp. 18.000 ($ 1,3). So maybe the reason why I started photography with film photography because I do not have enough money to buy a digital camera at the time.
You have a very sentimental aesthetic in black and white. May we know why you prefer shooting in black and white?
Black and white for me can turn on the imagination. Through black and white, I want to liberate people who see my images to paint it with the colors they want..
The province of Purworejo, your hometown, serves as your muse. What is particular about this place that makes you create art from it?
Purworejo is my root and I want to archive this city visually. I also want to give tribute to the city where I was born and matured through the photos that I created.
As a photographer, what do you value most in an image?
Honesty and personal closeness between the object and the photographer—these are very important because that is the only thing that makes our images different from other people's images. I think It is nearly impossible for two people to have the same point of view, opinions, and contexts to be expressed.
You shoot images to keep memories. Any particular memory of a place, person or thing that you wanted to photograph in Purworejo but could not anymore?
Perhaps the memories of my adolescence. I lost a lot of my adolescence memories because of my ignorance to record and archive it. If only I had the awareness to record small things since I was a teenager, it would be very nice.
Given the chance, if you can spend a whole day with a creative figure or an inspiring character, who would it be and what would you two be doing?
Maybe I will choose a writer rather than a photographer. I choose to spend a day with Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Maybe we can do some chitchat while enjoying a variety of local cigarettes from various regions in Indonesia. I can ask for advice on how to live life as well as possible. I will also ask about the meaning of life for him. After that, we would spend the day burning the garbages, like his hobby.
What's an ordinary day for Bayu Wira Handyan?
Nothing special. Just eat, sleep, and repeat.
What do you usually do during your downtime? Any on-going project, or other plans you're keen to work on?
Currently, I am still trying to finish my thesis. I will also continue to take pictures of everything in Purworejo.