Thursday, May 8, 2008

(Blog Review) Billitone: A Photography Enthusiast's Spiritual Maturity

Written by: Eki Qushay Akhwan

There’s one blog on photography that I’ve been watching and visiting every now and then. It belongs to a friend. I got to know him through his works at (FN) (Indonesia’s most popular photo website) back in 2004. We’ve only met once and only for a few hours on my one-day visit to Singapore in September 2005. His name’s Andri Irawan.

The first thing that truck me about his pictures was that they were so well composed and executed that I think they were among the few best pictures at FN. The pictures were landscapes (not the kind of pictures I do well myself, but always admire others'). They were of Bangka and Belitung islands. The pristine and beautiful beaches. On a few fleeting cyber “conversations” that we exchanged from comments we made about each other’s pictures, I learned that he was from Belitung (Andri, correct me on this if I’m wrong); hence, the name of his blog ( It's a fitting choice! And a beautifully sounding name that’s easy to remember!

He’d had another blog, of course. Ricohgrd or something, which I never did know he had until he introduced Billitone. Never mind about the other blog. It’s Billitone that matters. Unlike any other personal photo web logs that I have seen, Billitone is not only an expression of a photo enthusiast's personal voices and show case for his works. More than that, I see in it intelligence and intellectual and spiritual maturity that could only be the results of a long trail of his exploration of photography (and of life!).

His photos that got us introduced to each other in the first place have evolved in style and subject matter. He no longer takes landscapes, as far as I know. His pictures now are so candid, lucid, almost without the stringent geometrical lines of composition I used to find in his landscapes. But candid-ness and lucidity and the apparent absence of geometrical lines should not have us believe that he has digressed into and joined the ranks of the undisciplined, ignorant, and careless hordes of photography enthusiasts. On the contrary, his lucidity shows that he has finally been able to free himself from the rigidity of procedures, the mechanical way of seeing and taking pictures; for now – despite the geometrically “chaotic” look of his pictures – the subjects are alive and thick with the spirituality and emotion that define LIFE!. This, I believe, can only be the tell tale signs of spiritually-and-intellectually guided maturity gained though a very rich and enriching life experiences.

I love Billitone not only for the pictures it displays. The visuals might look superficial and fleeting to the undiscerning eyes; but the words would have us anchor those images to the deeper reality of visual representation and interpretation. Without verbosity, these words provide a pathway that links the outward appearance (“the window”) to the substance (“the house” and whoever lives in it). Just look at the blog description: “THERE IS MORE TO SEE THAN MEETS THE EYES”. A very catchy hint indeed! And it keeps its promise: you’ll see more of (the wealth of human's inner) life than just the mere keep of appearances.

Here are some of my favorite lines:

There I was on the street again, with a voracious appetite for the usual and unusual, to take ordinary photographs. I have nothing to give meaning to the world yet, to feel myself involved in what I frame through the viewfinder.

And this:

It is my understanding that everything has a purpose, that's why everyone of us is on our own path.

You are sure going to find a lot more of this stuff in the blog. Candid and humble as these words may sound (I have nothing …, it is my understanding …), accompanied with the “right” images, they could tickle your senses - at the very least -; or could even get you carried away to a level of experience higher than the ordinary if you happen to be travelling on the same wave length.

If you are a restless soul always seeking that plane higher than meets your eyes in your photographic exploration, this is the blog to go and visit every now and then. It's going to open your eyes and get you inspired!

1 comment:

billitone said...

Your mention about my early days of taking photos made me look back to those days. Unfortunately I have only left with small size files due to hard disk crash.

This one is always been my favorite.

I am dying to do it again.

Maturity is coming from understanding and I am in the lookout for it.

Thank you for your kind words. I will take them as reminder to do better.

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