When I decided I wanted to become a photographer seven years ago, one of the things photography gave to me was the renewed feeling of excitement. When I got my first assignment, I was nervous as much as I was excited. I couldn’t wait until the morning came to head out and get the job done.
The excitement was there also when I packed for assignments, going to a place where nobody knows me, when I processed my negatives and anxiously looked through them as they dried. I was beaming with smiles when I found one picture in the negatives that made my day – just like a kid having an ice cream with different flavors, everyday.
Over a year ago when I started plans on my first photo book ENCOUNTERS, this same kind of excitement struck me once more. During my teenage years, I always had a book in my hands, not because I read them all the time but it made me look smarter, and I thought girls liked smart guys. When I realized how foolish I was, I started reading them. Long story short, I learned to love books. Experimenting with and looking at my own photographs in the form of a book, and dummies that I made along the way, brings back that kid with the ice cream in me.
So I began looking at my ‘snaps’ pictures. Photographs that were taken during free wandering walks in the city, or things that I happened to see accidentally when I traveled. Photographs that was kindly ‘given’ to me. I think of these photographs as my visual diary, of what I felt when I took those pictures. Since I don’t write journals regularly these pictures serve as a reminder to my life.
The bookmaking process was a learning experience for me, especially the editing part of things. I first started with 100+ photographs, and finally narrowed them down to just 32 pictures that would make the book. It was surely a long road before I was happy with the final selection. The process to me is probably best described like falling in love, then fight! fight, followed by broken hearts, and then the next thing I know, I’m in love all over again.
I think it is almost every photographer’s goal to publish a book. For me the reason for this book, perhaps is to keep that little kid alive inside my heart. I still love ice cream, and I get a feeling that many others do too.
Things that I’ve learned whilst making my first photo book:
- Just like Mr. Jagger said: You can’t always get what you want. There will be always something that went out of your control and you can’t do anything about it. I have learned to accept it, I can’t change it, the best I can do is to minimize it.
- To be more patient with other people and myself. I’m a very impatient person, so this experience is quite good for my patience. I made six dummy books before deciding to finally publish it.
- To find somebody that I trust and respect to edit my works. It hurts when my photographs were taken out during the editing session but at least I know that it’s being done by somebody whose eyes I really trust. I know that my work is in good hands. I am happy with the final selection.
- To prepare to lose money. I know I won’t make a lot of money when I decided to become a photographer. Making photobooks is also the same, a big risk. I am self-funding and publishing my own book so I need to calculate my odds carefully. I know I will lose money, I just don’t want to lose all of it :)
- Learning what to do next after the book is on its way to being published. The ‘next’ question is a never-ending one for me. It is a motivation but also a dark shadow that pressures me to work. During this bookmaking process, I shot less for myself, but at the same time it gave a little bit of space for my eyes to rest and probably do new things after this book done. Hopefully an exciting ‘next’ one. I really can’t wait to walk freely again to photograph.
- The last thing I’ve learnt. There is always a first time for something. I hope I will do the next one better.
Text by Rony Zakaria.
Encounters – A Monograph by Rony Zakaria
Encounters – A Monograph by Rony Zakaria Exhibition and Book Launch takes place 7PM, Friday 15th March 2013 at Galeri Cipta 3, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia. The exhibition opens from 15th to 25th March.
Exhibition and Purchasing details for the book are available here:
Encounters – A Monograph by Rony Zakaria