Hengki Koentjoro (visual) and Nouvelle Vague (audio)

Most of the time life is described as a journey, going from one place to another, in space and in time. Alone we walk on our way, with many we walk along, whenever our feet, our destinies, will take us.

Let's start with what will be our soundtrack for this journey. Nouvelle Vague is a French cover band started in 2003 by Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux. The song "Fade to grey" is the 13th track from their second album entitled "Bande a Part" (released in 2006). As you may remember, Fade to Grey was originally the top song of Visage in the early 80s. Collin and Libaux work with various singers, many of them you haven't heard about. Marina Celeste performed the vocal part for "Fade to grey".

Her head in the clouds, a pen or paintbrush in her hand, she has always written and composed her own songs, drawn and hummed her way through life. The death of her father in her early childhood imprinted upon her the precariousness and preciousness of life. The urgency to appreciate the everyday.
- from her official blog, www.marinaceleste.com

The visual part belongs to Hengki Koentjoro. He was born on March 24, 1963, in Semarang, Indonesia. He studied at Brooks Institute of Photography, California, USA, which he graduated in 1991.
    Photography is not just a way of expressing his most inner soul but also creating a window to the world where through his pictures the unseen and the unspoken can be grasped. Driven by the desire to explore the mystical beauty of nature, he develops his sense and sensibility through the elements of fine art photography. His freedom of expression is more reflected in the elaboration and exploration of black and white.
   - from his official website, www.koentjoro.com

The reason I chose this series of ten images is that they, in my opinion, show much of Koentjoro's immense talent for black and white photography and that I wanted to create a theme about life, about our inner struggle to search for answers to fundamental questions.  We start from a busy metropolis (Home), and through "IR Train" and "Journey" we arrive at the "Sacred".

I appreciate the unclear appearance of "IR Train", nothing more is shown than the bare minimum we need to understand we are going to leave, or that someone else is going to arrive.  The man, the shadow, who stands in front of the train is acting like an intermediary, maybe urging us to come with him.

"Journey" has a rather common composition of a road, a rail in this case, heading towards the horizon. I like this photo the most because of a personal thing I went through, symbolic in most ways. I know this has nothing to do with the picture yet this is how we often make decisions and appreciate things, I am talking about past experiences and events. The train, symbolically, works like a link between worlds, for me at least and so my understanding of this apparently simple image (which doesn't even contain a train) holds some very intense feelings. Art, however we may think of it, is definitely personal and great artists know how to give you something (on a spiritual and mental level) without even thinking of you, without knowing you.

"Sacred" starting with this we escape the city and the journey yet we enter a spiritual journey. I am not an expert in water temples but I believe this is part of the Pura Bratan complex in Bali, Indonesia, built in 1663.

With "ocean 233",  Koentjoro achieved a very interesting effect, while that wave looks very menacing the image as a whole is very calm. Someone who is afraid of water might however think otherwise.

"Doing-time", is the direct opposite of "Home", there the city, man's creation, is dominating nature while in this image man contemplates nature. Here we may even be closer to our true home.   However we can also interpret this image through the sense of solitude, of isolation... but one can feel isolated even in the largest of cities.

Look at the pictures and think for yourself why you like them and then share with us your thoughts. What I feel when seeing these may not coincide with what you feel, may not even be what the artist intended.


IR Train





Ocean 143

Ocean 233



Where to find them:

Hengki Koentjoro Nouvelle Vague Marina Celeste
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