Puji Faisal Nawawi is a photographer based out of Garut, Indonesia. He is only 20 years old though he has been doing tremendous amount of great works. His works will inspire you to dream, will give you the courage to love, and will push you to imagine in different ways.
The following is an interview with Puji Faisal Nawawi where he discusses his photography techniques, working process, and inspiration. The interview has been edited for brevity.
Niaz: Thank you, Faisal, for taking the time to join us at eTalks. It has been great watching your amazing works on Instagram. For the people who don’t know about you, can you start with telling us a little bit about yourself?
Faisal: I was born on February 16, 1995 to a very modest family, but that doesn’t mean I had modest dreams. I am from Garut, Indonesia, a small city with millions of stories and experiences. My parents worked as farmers who managed their own rice fields and I have four brothers. Through modesty of life I started to make my dreams come true and I built those dreams.
Niaz: How did you get started with photography? Did you go to school to study photography?
Faisal: I have been very independent from around the time I started school. I didn’t have experience playing with the other kids because I spent a lot of my time working in an internet cafe. I didn’t go to school to study photography. I sought out learning without having a special course or without going to school; instead I learned from many ways and sources, especially people’s experiences, books, internet, etc.
Niaz: What type of cameras do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens set-up?
Faisal: I just have Canon EOS 600D and 135mm f/2 lens. My favorite lens is 85mm f/1.2. This is an outstanding lens. I rent this sometimes.
Niaz: What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?
Faisal: I use natural light and reflectors.
Niaz: It appears as though there is a tremendous amount of work behind every single one of your images. From selecting the model to picking the location to applying make-up to making the composition to shooting to retouching…. it’s definitely a lot of work. Could you tell us about the whole process of finding an idea to making it into an amazing art?
Faisal: There’s no special idea or model audition. Actually, everything happens spontaneously. However, I tend to set up a model whose character is really strong and charismatic as an object. Since the strength of the concept of the photo is related to the place, I rarely make a complete concept; as long as there is a good place with a background that’s appropriate with what I need, I don’t have to think too much about taking photographs.
Niaz: You are very skilled in terms of using post-processing software. Your final output is very impressive. Tell us about the software and tools you use for post-processing.
Faisal: I don’t have a special software for editing or retouching my works. I only use Adobe Photoshop CS 6 edition and a pen mouse (Wacom). Everything depends on the object in the photo; if the object is good because of the very sharp focus of the photo, my work needs little editing. I am so sure those combination of works will create good results.
Niaz: How long did it take you to become a master of using this software? Are you self-taught?
Faisal: I love to learn everything related to my work wholeheartedly. I take good lessons from other people’s experiences and my own way of learning.
Niaz: Your Instagram feed is stunning. You have also created an amazing community. When did you join Instagram? Why have you chosen Instagram as a platform for sharing your art?
Faisal: I have been using Instagram for two years to share photographs and experiences. The platform makes it easy to share with people I know as well as strangers. It is also great for promotion, because my works can be seen by many well- known brand owners directly. Besides, Instagram is the right place to learn new things, especially about photography.
Niaz: How long did it take you to create your own community on Instagram?
Faisal: One year, more or less.
Niaz: What tips would you share for building a community on Instagram?
Faisal: There are no special tricks or strategies; the most important thing is if I stay true to myself and give my best, certainly people will accept me and give positive responses.
Niaz: What are your favorite hashtags?
Faisal: #2instagoodportraitlove #instagood #ftwotw …There you will find the works of extraordinary people from various parts of the world.
Niaz: Who are some of your most favorite Instagrammers?
Niaz: Where do you draw inspiration?
Faisal: Books, films, other photos, etc.
Niaz: What is the one most important lesson that you have learned since you started taking photographs?
Faisal: Have a peaceful mind and soul; that’s the most important thing.
Niaz: What does photography mean to you now?
Faisal: I think the world of photography is my railway to start my future, and I am the train on it. God willing, if the railway is available and stretches for miles away, it depends on me to build and shape the train so it can keep running on that railway and arrive at the destination.
Niaz: If you were advising a young photographer today, what would your words of wisdom be?
Faisal: Life is not about the seeking-process, but rather the creation-process. Thus, create yourself and be yourself, be unique, never try to imitate other people’s work, and create your own style!!
Niaz: Where do people find you to know more about you and your works? (Website, Facebook, Twitter …..)
Niaz: Any last comment?
Faisal: Always remember and thank God’s grace in your life. Never try to account for things that you do not have. That’s it, thanks.
Niaz: Faisal, thank you so much for sharing with us your incredible ideas and works. We are wishing you very good luck for all of your upcoming great endeavors.
Faisal: You are welcome. I appreciate you doing this interview. Hopefully you are doing great. Good luck to you too.
Editor’s Note: You can follow Faisal on Instagram at @pfaisaln . The interview has been conducted by Niaz. He is the founder and curator of eTalks. You can follow him on Instagram at @neohumanity. And I am Ava Madigan at @lavatl
_ _ _ _ ___ _ _ _ _
01. Dominic Liam on Capturing the Shadows
02. Sloppystick on Photographing Abandoned Buildings
03. Debra Harder on The Art of Photography
04. Hugh MacLeod on Creativity and Art
05. Daria Khoroshavina: The Art of Metaphoric Photography
06. Cole Thompson on The Ultimate Photography Manifesto
07. Jeff Haden on Pursuing Excellence
08. Barry Schwartz on Wisdom and Happiness
09. Gautam Mukunda on Leadership
10. Shaka Senghor on Writing My Wrongs