ANDRA ALODITA: Telling stories through photographs
While the majority usually channels their ideas, thoughts and emotions through writing, aspiring photographer Andra Alodita is one-of-a-kind, expressing herself through pictures.
The 25-year-old told The Jakarta Post in a recent interview that when she was young she found it hard to express herself and communicate with others. It was as if she was living in her own world, she said.
But that changed after young Andra discovered the camera.
“I was so excited … [the pictures] became sort of a diary blog that served as a reminder for me. When others opened their diaries to remember important dates [in their lives], I opened my photo folders,” Andra said.
What started as a youthful fad turned into something serious as Andra discovered that photography was her passion: something she could not live without.
Her strong inclination toward the art was the main thing that finally encouraged her to make photography her profession despite doubts of her parents and family.
“When I wanted to become a freelance photographer my parents asked if I could make a living from the profession as they were only familiar with office jobs. But I decided not to listen to them and continue with my career choice,” the visual communication design major at Universitas Pelita Harapan remembered of her parents’ questions in 2010 when she decided to get serious about photography.
Two years later, Andra told her father and mother that she had made the right decision. The woman has become a promising new talent in the world of photography in Indonesia, with critics lauding her for a feminine touch that has offered a fresh perspective in a field usually dominated by men. Major fashion magazines in the country like Clara, Elle, Marie Claire and Maxim have hired and published her work.
Andra also has a reputation for specializing in backstage fashion photography. She is renowned for her ability to capture interesting details and freeze beautiful moments amid behind-the-scenes activities.
“I see photos as a medium for expression, not only as work. I don’t think about jobs anymore, because what matters to me is that I want to tell stories to others with my photos,” Andra said.
She began her career as a backstage photographer in early 2010, working for top local designer Biyan Wanaatmadja. That successful job landed her many more backstage requests, the latest was her involvement in Singapore Fashion Week 2011.
All that success, however, did not happen overnight. She revealed that her success has been the result of years of struggle — which she said also involved spiritual contemplation — before she decided to become a professional.
But challenges still remain, mostly from senior photographers who discredit and undermine her works because she is young, a woman and attractive.
Andra is undoubtedly pretty. Her perfect face and fair skin make her stand out among the photographer crowd. The woman also seems to have good fashion sense.
When asked if she ever thought of becoming a model, she answered with a giggle, “No. I don’t think I would enjoy being a model, being ordered around. It is better to order [the models].”
Responding to statements that she is just a pretty face behind the lens, Andra said she ignores such comments.
“I just think, the higher the tree, the stronger the wind,” she said, referencing a common axiom.
Not many know that apart from her feminine style and soft nature, Andra can be as stern and tough as any man when she is behind the camera. She described herself as someone who cannot stop moving while at work.
Andra also applies what she called a systematic approach when it comes to work. She even has a board to guide clients so when shooting starts no questions emerge to disrupt the process.
She apparently also uses certain A-to-Z guidelines in her life. She said she had planned in detail the years ahead, along with the goal to go international in the next five years.
“Before getting into photography, I feel like I spent my years for nothing. Now, I don’t want to waste my time,” said the woman who was once the assistant for top fashion photographer Nicoline Patricia Malina.
Yet, it appears she is open to some modifications in her life plan, as she is preparing to marry her beau in June.
The lady said she planned to stop “spinning” for awhile after she gets pregnant.
But what she means by “stop” is not completely cutting off all activity but instead letting herself explore other things.
“I have made a list of what I am going to do during that nine months of pregnancy,” she said of her plans, which include maternity photography and publishing a book.
Andra said her book would discuss happiness in the form of writing and photos.
“Most photographers’ ambition is to have a solo exhibition. Mine is quite peculiar, I want to write a book on the subject of happiness,” she said.
Once again, with the statement, Andra proves she is an exceptional young photographer who chooses to express herself with pictures.