Lighting a subject correctly can be a hard task. Too much light and your images will be over exposed, too little and you will end up with the opposite problem. But if you manage to get the balance just right then you can create a perfect and sometimes magical photograph. A photographer who knows a thing or two about lighting is Rarindra, a photographer from Indonesia who because of his unique approach to lighting has gained recognition across the globe.
"The light is real, it's natural and can be found in my country," said Rarindra.
Born in Jakarta where he now lives with his wife and two children, Rarindra thanks his home for giving him the inspiration and opportunities to take images of romanticised places and perfect children.
"My country is unique, its very diverse. There are over 13,000 islands to explore each with a unique landscape, culture and language."
Many locations are yet to be explored and each time Rarindra ventures out he always finds a new place or object to photograph every time. However, he does have his favourite places and these are the areas that have got so many people talking about his work. Serpong and Banten are two places many of his magical images were taken in and they are locations that have caused somewhat of a controversy. Many photographers and people living there claim the grand rays of light featured in Rarindra's work actually come from and around the great trees.
"You have to get up early to see and feel the light. Beautiful light is my obsession, I always search for this as I feel the objects I photograph will look more special if the light does too."
Every time Rarindra has been asked to give up his secrets to creating light and imagery the way he does his advice for photographers is to visit his beautiful country and take pictures in the places he does.
"People judge and ask for proof to show the rays of light are not fake, I say come visit. There isn't any more proof than that."
He trained at a Polytechnic University in Indonesia, studying graphic art and photography and now he works as both a graphics designer and a photographer, a little more understandable now why many people think his images have a lot of post production work carried out on them. As when your career revolves around editing and adjusting images it has to be easy to apply such great post-production work to an image in no time at all.
"I have never said I don't do any Photoshop. I manage dark/light areas and I use the burn, brushing and mask tools. It's also about knowing how to manage tones, you're the only one who knows this as you know what mood you want to set in your work."
Rarindra doesn't want this to be known as instant art however. He still stands by the fact that you need good raws and you need to know where the light comes from and what it can do for your picture, that way you can create the dream like quality visible in his work.
Comments on websites have suggested some people think his work is over processed and appears to look almost plastic and too unreal to be real. They certainly have a theatrical look to them with a background, foreground and subject all so easily defined. Which some would say make the photographs obviously staged but Rarindra disagrees.
"I don't often plan as I like everything to look natural. I like people to have expression and to gesture in the photographs and by doing so I hope everything looks logical and natural."
Rarindra believes you can produce work like he does, you only have to believe in and love what you to. Inspiration can come from anywhere and knowing your tools and using your imagination can help you create work as creative as his.
His style is described as fairytale, magical and dream like but to Rarindra it's just something that's natural. He photographs nature and his style was created naturally. He sometimes calls it surreal life as he always wants his photographs to look dramatic and impressive but most of the time Rarindra simply gives it no title, it's just what he does.
His dimensional photography with it's unique tones finds influence in paintings by Walter Spies, a Dutch painter who lived in Bali during the 30's and 40's and the film trilogy, Lord of the rings.
"Walter's work showed me how to use light and composition. His work also demonstrated ways to use rural buildings and villages. Artistic cinematography also impresses me and the Lord of the Rings managed light and colour particularly impressively."
His kit bag contains a Canon 400D and 20D and five lenses of which the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 is his favourite but he chooses to venture out with only one DSLR and one lens at a time as he believes the experience is always more enjoyable that way.
"Shoot on one camera, edit the pictures and share your work with the world, it's very easy."
His unique style is appreciated world wide and it has brought him work from many countries across the globe. But many of the contacts wouldn't have been made if it wasn't for the internet. 90% of Rarindra's business comes from the internet and he finds it's a great place to meet friends, fellow photographers and buyers. It's a tool he uses for buying and selling, for networking and sharing his work. It's almost certain without it we wouldn't be talking about him today. His work leaves much to the observers imagination, it's up to us to fill in the blanks. His work has a dream like quality and a sense of mystery about it and for as long as he refuses to give up his secrets his techniques will stay that way too.