The old saying is that a picture is worth 1000 words, but it’s also true that a picture can raise 1000 questions. That’s certainly the case with Adi Putra’s otherworldly photography. A photographer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles and raised in Indonesia, Adi’s imagery is full of mystery and intrigue, using space and colour to give the landscapes and people she shoots a fascinating and almost alien atmosphere. We spoke to Adi about learning to shoot film, being inspired by sci-fi and following your instinct.
Hi. Tell us a little about yourself - where are you from, where are you based and what do you do outside of photography?
Hi! My name is Adi. I am 26. I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia but now I live in Los Angeles with my two cats.
My internal instinct told me to just pick up a camera, start taking photos and learn how to tell stories through images.
Film feels more organic and there is something magical about the whole process.
When did you begin shooting, what made you start and what has driven you to continue?
I actually started a bit late in my life. I picked up my first camera during freshman year high school. I initially got into photography because I have always dreamed of becoming a filmmaker but I wasn’t sure where to start at that time. My internal instinct told me to just pick up a camera, start taking photos and learn how to tell stories through images. I am still driven by the same fantasy and of course as an artist I always strive to be better at my craft.
What do you shoot on? Is there a story behind your favorite camera?
I shoot mainly on film. The three main cameras I always use are Pentax Spotmatic, Polaroid Land Camera, and a SX 70.
I actually did it the other way around, I learned photography by mainly shooting with a digital camera or my iPhone camera. But at the beginning of last year I just decided to shoot more film and less digital. Film feels more organic and there is something magical about the whole process.
Over what span of time were these photos taken?
I took these photos in the course of the last 2.5 years and most of them were taken around California.
A lot of your photos have a dreamy, otherworldly atmosphere. Is this something you consciously try to achieve?
Ya definitely. I think it is both subconsciously and consciously. I love mysteries and science fiction so maybe subconsciously I always to incorporate that vibe into my works.
I love mysteries and science fiction so maybe subconsciously I always to incorporate that vibe into my work.
You also make films and music videos as well as photography. How do you think the two mediums influence each other and what are the similarities and differences?
I think they are comparable in a way that they both think and speak visually. But they are actually two different games. With films and music videos you have to communicate not just with images, but also with sound, movement, pacing. Besides that, you are also dealing with different equipment, different crew, different budget, etc. I love them both.
How do you think your work is affected by sharing it online?
I think online sharing has a positive effect on my work. As an artist you always want to share your work to as many audiences as possible. People are also often virtually very supportive. So I think its great as long as I can still stay honest to myself.
What do you look for when you’re taking a photo? Are you more concerned with the composition or evoking a certain feeling?
I never really put a lot of thoughts into the technical and other formalistic aspect during shooting. I usually just let my instinct dictate my decision. I prefer the latter.
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out?
I just recently watched The Look of Silence and big shout out to Joshua Oppenheimer for being such an inspiration.