“Deja Vu” by Hengki Lee, a photography enthusiast based out of Indonesia. (Composer Pro w/Double Glass Optic)

Hengki Lee is an award winning photographer from Indonesia. His black and white photography displays a unique style with dramatic distortion in his subject matters. His profession is trading but Hengki found a love for photography in 2009. You can socialize with Hengki on his Facebook page, updated with new photos daily or visit his website for more info and imagery.

Background

I’m a self-taught visual artist and photography enthusiast from Jakarta, Indonesia. I have been creating artwork with my camera since 2009 after browsing some beautiful candid wedding photographs that peaked my interest in photography. I bought my first DSLR in 2009 but wasn’t sure what I wanted to take photos of. 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 the genre. That is now the genre I capture.

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Top Left – “The Boy From Nowhere” (Composer Pro w/Zone Plate/Pinhole Optic), Top Right – “Equinox” (Composer Pro w/Single Glass Optic), Bottom – “Clandestine” (Composer Pro w/Edge 80 Optic).

How do you create your dreamy, ethereal images? How did you arrive at this style of photography?

I love to read and write poetry, and I want to express that kind of obsession in the work I create with my camera. Choosing silhouettes and unfocused photography allows me to create kind of an undefined story, since the details in the frame are unclear except for the subject’s gesture and composition. It’s a symbolic way to tell a story, just like poetry. This type of photography lets the audience’s mind guess what the story is behind my work or the image allows them to create their own story. Lensbaby lenses allow me to capture these types of images. I often use the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Single Glass Optic or Pinhole/Zone Plate. When using the Single Glass Optic, I usually set the aperture to f/2.8 in order to achieve smooth dreamy effect but sometimes I combine several photos into one image like in “Equinox” to create unrealistic and dreamy artwork.

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“Gasoline” (Composer Pro w/Single Glass Optic)

Do you think that black and white images help add emotion and curiosity to photos? Why do you prefer black and white photographs?

Yes, they appear simple and have no color distractions. In my eyes, black and white images often evoke loneliness and mysterious feelings. Since we see in color, black and white images are a medium for our mind or imagination to enter an unfamiliar dimension. Monochromatic images have a nostalgic, surreal and curious impact.

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Hengki’s favorite Lensbaby image he has taken, “Melancholia”. (Composer Pro w/Single Glass Optic)

What’s your favorite image that you’ve created with one of our lenses, why, and how did you conceptualize it?

My favorite image is ‘Melancholia’ because 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 (similar to the Sweet 50). The sky looked dramatic and the wind was blowing so I set my aperture to f/2.8 and told my subject to look down and appear sad. I bent my Lensbaby upward, letting the grass on the ground blur and blend with my subject’s lower body. After the shoot, I edited the photograph to appear a bit more dramatic and I titled it ‘Melancholia’ to portray sadness and loneliness.

 

What advice would you give to photographers just starting out?

Keep exploring your obsessions, fantasies and visions. By doing so, you will get a strong and unique character in your work. Cameras and lenses are only a medium; your imagination and vision will define the result. Don’t limit your creativity by sticking with the rules of photography. Make something surprising or try something new. Don’t be discouraged if many dislike your work — just keep trying. And the most important thing: respect others and their work! Your attitude validates your work!

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