Rendha Rais is a portrait and music photographer from Indonesia. She recently had fun testing out the LomoApparat and shared the results with us. In this interview she also chats with us about the challenge of taking great portraits, and why she is drawn to self portraiture as a way of expressing herself.
Hi Rendha! Please tell us about yourself.
Hi I’m Rendha, a Jakarta based photographer. I’m interested in music and people’s portraits. I enjoy the challenge that comes with framing a shot, choosing the right lighting and angles. I feel like a composer, painting and constructing images using elements such as color or contrast, in order to create a unique image.
How did you get into analogue photography?
I got my first camera when I was in 5th Grade. I saved up to get a Holga. This was around 1995. My first camera is the reason why I like and continue to shoot with film. I really enjoyed the process.
What's it like, living and working in Jakarta? What’s the creative scene like? And would you like to live anywhere else?
I love living in Jakarta — everything moves fast! And the creative industry is also moving forward. Jogja would be the destination when I eventually want to move to another city. I want to spend my later years there.
I read an interview that categorised you as a “subculture photographer”. How do you describe your style?
When it comes to my "category" I never compartmentalize where I belong. Usually someone else labels, not me. However when people want to know what kind of photographer I am, I would say I'm a music and portrait photographer.
The genre of music photography is very male dominated. Do you have any messages of encouragement to other creatives trying to break the mold in this area?
I have been doing this for 15 years and the scene is without a doubt male dominated. Breaking the mold and daring to be different all starts from passion. I’ve always believed in what I do and that men and women deserve the same things. People should be able to access and enjoy equal rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender.
How important is a group of friends or a network you can collaborate with and trust in your line of work?
Very important. That's how I grow and how my insight and intelligence increases. I make friends with anyone. Without friends I wouldn't be who I am today.
Your portraits of people are far from staged. What is the “decisive moment” for you? When and how do you decide to hit the shutter?
Before I take a photo, I usually dig deeper into the person who I am photographing. This can be done by simply spending time talking and getting to know them. A bit of insight into a subject’s likes and habits goes a long way. Not everyone wants and likes to be photographed. It’s a challenge for me.
You feature yourself a lot in your photos. What do you like about photographing yourself?
Apart from being a photographer, I also want to prove that I am comfortable with myself. Not everyone with a plus size body like me is confident. I encourage people to love themselves and not to be afraid to present the beauty right in front of them.
How do you get friends to send you photos of yourself? I have a problem where I know I’ve been shot, but I never receive the photos! It’s awesome, as you mentioned on Instagram, that you have lots of behind the scenes documentation of your process.
Sometimes I have to push them to send! For process photos sometimes I have my assistant take photos behind the scenes, to show followers what I'm working on.
You seem to like taking photos of the same thing at different angles and light. You circle back to the same subjects. Why is that?
I like to repeat things that I like. When it comes to cloud photos, I'm really interested in the sky above the clouds and take photos whenever I have the chance.
Can you tell us a little about your experience shooting with the LomoApparat? What tips do you have for someone using the LomoAppparat for the first time?
I like to play around with color filters, and I find that the images that result look a bit like the Lomo LC-A. Tip #1: don't forget to replace the battery!
What is one thing you have been dying to explore further? Do you have a dream project?
I want to make a photo book about Indonesian musicians. I'd like to present it in the form of a self-portrait photo book and include short stories.
What’s coming up on the horizon for you? Any new projects in the works?
Just now i'm thinking on how to take commercial photos with a Lomography camera – should be fun!
Anything else you would like to add?
Nah, don’t think, just shoot!