Interview
William Setiawan
June 2, 2015
writer: Agata Mayer
Agata Mayer: What does an Indonesian fashion photographer & filmmaker do in Europe? William Setiawan: Follow my urge to be creative; I need to be out of my comfort zone. I flew to the Netherlands as the gate of Europe to learn and create challenging works. It comes along with spreading my works internationally. A.M. How would you describe the contemporary flux of Wageningen city, where you currently live? W.S. Wageningen is a small city compare to Jakarta, where I came from in Indonesia. Although being small, it is very international since most of countries are packed in here. Cultural diversity inspires me everyday. A.M. Do you see your future here? W.S. Europe’s culture and point of view are different than in Indonesia, which interest me the most. Being welcomed and challenged here, I see potential to grow myself here. For sure there are goals in Europe that I want to achieve. A.M. Do you travel to your home country a lot? W.S. Starting up something new abroad takes time and has been my focus so far. Therefore, it’s been almost 3 years living in the Netherlands without any chance to go back to Indonesia. Without any doubt, this year I will go there to catch up what I left. A.M. Do you agree with the opinion that your fashion stories are influenced by Indonesia? W.S. Fashion and commercial photography has been my work field in Indonesia. On top of that, I spent time travel in Asia and Australia to find new inspiration. Coming from this background, I have a different mixed style that influenced my works. A.M. William, what does an Indonesian fashion photographer & filmmaker do in Cracow, Poland? W.S. Invited by the committee of Cracow Fashion Week 2015 to be in awarding ceremony of the International Fashion Photography Competition, I flew to Cracow. It has been a great experience to be a part of this event, with the bonus of capturing the beauty of Cracow. A.M. How did this city treat you? Any magical moments, worth capturing? W.S. Everything was great, starting from polite people until delicious local food. What strikes me the most are historical places, like Auschwitz, that opened my eyes. A.M. How did you start making movies? W.S. I learned photography and film making in “Kelas Pagi”, one of the photography schools in Jakarta. My first shooting was a video music clip for one of the more famous bands in Indonesia. I got an offer from a company that I had worked with and I gave it a try. After that, I shot more video clips and TV commercials together with my former photography teacher. A.M. You film and edit your own movies, or do you team up with others? W.S. It depends on the project and the deadline. A.M. Which do you like better – editorials or advertising? W.S. I like to do both. Editorial has always been my passion, but advertising is good for living. A.M. Who inspires you? W.S. I get inspired by people, things, and talent around me. I admire the Indonesian photographer Anton Ismael and also Bruno Aveillan and Camilla Åkrans.
A.M. A month ago over 96 promising and talented international photographers were beaten by you. How does that feel? W.S. I’m feeling so blessed and very honored to receive that award. Additionally, I am very happy for the interesting people this gives me the possibility to meet. A.M. Any new projects on the horizon? W.S. Yes indeed, I plan to shoot more editorials and films in the Netherlands. A.M. You have said you like beautiful and unique photos that make you happy. What makes you happy now? W.S. I really like mixed media. You can freely express anything there. It brings something more than just a beautiful photo. That is exactly what makes me happy now. Freedom to create. A.M. Thank you.