Her Trusted Goal: Claudia Dian on the Art of Backstage Photography – People

Felix Martua (The Jakarta Post)

Jakarta ●
Sat 11 December 2021

2021-12-11
08:13
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People
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For more than five years, photographer Claudia Dian has been trusted to immortalize the heartfelt moments of notable public figures such as Indian, Tulus and Yura Yunita. To find beauty in the unforeseeable, she emphasizes the importance of passion and, above all, of confidence.

A photographer may experience a different kind of sensation when he tries to capture the unfeigned moments of his subjects rather than having them pose in elaborate fashion photoshoots. For Claudia Dian, the high is the element of “as is”. Her five years as a full-fledged backstage and portrait photographer had taught her that there was nothing more exhilarating than having captured candid moments as they really were.

“Photographs are one of the ways to archive history and memory, and I’m more of it,” the 32-year-old told Jakarta Post December 5.

Has she ever felt intimidated by the unpredictable nature of her job? The answer is a categorical no.

“In fact, I like the unpredictable!” she replied with delight.

Fast art

Born in Jakarta, Claudia spent her teenage years in Bandung, then continued her studies in fine arts at the Bandung Institute of Technology. She was introduced to the world of photography when she took a photography course on her campus. She then felt the need to learn more about photography for a very simple reason: She discovered that photos were faster to create than hand drawings.

“I got hooked on photography because I found it instant,” she remarked. “If I tried to draw something, it would take a long time to produce the result. It could take a whole month for me to draw something because at the time my drawings could take up as large a space as they did. ‘a door. But, once I started photography, I discovered that I could create a visual much faster. “

Her latent passion aside, Claudia did not see herself as having the innate aptitude to become a photographer. To perfect her camera skills, she felt that there was no better training than “taking all kinds of pictures as often as possible”. As a college student, she often took her camera to the streets and took pictures of anything she found fascinating, believing that “photography skills are just a matter of habit”.

After graduation, Claudia found a job as an assistant to seasoned fashion photographer Nicoline Patricia Malina in Jakarta. “I found his photos to be different [compared to other fashion photographers] at this moment. Her eyes were different, ”she said. Working as Nicoline’s assistant for a year, she was in awe of how her boss put her photo subjects “in high regard” – instead of assuming a dominant role in her photoshoots, her boss always tried to shine. spirit of “creating something together” with its subjects.

Claudia quickly found various office jobs while keeping photography as a side activity. In 2017, she decided to pursue photography full time. His reason was, again, simple: “I didn’t want to overwrite the data anymore. I wanted to create again.

Hidden camera

As a full-time photographer, Claudia decided not to follow in Nicoline’s footsteps in fashion photography, instead focusing on backstage documentation and portraiture. Her interest in the field was rooted in her experience at college, where she was briefly hired as an unpaid freelance photographer for the Deathrockstar music webzine to photograph Indonesian jazz-pop singer Andien. The singer was so impressed with Claudia’s work that a lasting working partnership between the two quickly blossomed, where the up-and-coming photographer was often asked to capture the behind-the-scenes moments of Indian for her social media. as a freelance writer.

“She was the first to pay for my job,” Claudia said.

Joy in front of the camera: Reza Artamevia (right) is all smiles with Rendy Pandugo pictured by Claudia Dian, in 2018 (Photo courtesy Claudia Dian) (Personal collection / Photo courtesy Claudia Dian)

Her work for Andien quickly caught the interest of fellow jazz-pop singers Eva Celia and Tulus, who eventually became regular clients of Claudia. Once she decided to devote herself to photography full time, her client and subject list expanded to include notable musicians such as Yura Yunita, Rossa and newcomer Dere. She has also had the opportunity to do portraits for other public figures such as actress Marsha Timothy, actress-singer Tatjana Saphira and director Kamila Andini.

Learning from her experience so far, Claudia summed up the easiest path to becoming a behind-the-scenes photographer: “You take pictures for [social media], you tag the subjects of the photos, and you continue. Therefore, if any of these subjects are ever looking for a photographer, at least you are at the forefront of their concerns. “

In each of her adventures as a behind-the-scenes photographer, Claudia always seeks a crucial visual: “the other sides of the subjects that even the subjects themselves have never recognized before”. Because of this, she recognized that there was always a possibility that her photos would end up polarizing her clients and subjects. That being said, she is not afraid of possible criticism.

“I consider the review to be ordinary. If someone says that the photo I took was not flattering, I agree with that,” she said.

Claudia takes a slightly different approach when it comes to taking portraits of her subject, her ultimate goal being to capture the “soul” of her subjects and reflect it in the photos. “When my subjects look at the photos, I want them to be proud of them,” she joked.

Delicate trust

Unlike fashion photoshoots which require detailed instructions from the photographer, to crystallize the most authentic moments of her subjects, Claudia believes that it is essential to keep a respectable distance between herself and her subjects. “Looking back, I feel like my subjects have always appreciated my low-key approach,” she said.

This particular approach earned him much-needed confidence from his subjects, especially when it came to moments that might be too sensitive to be captured by a camera.

“For example, if the subject is actually a smoker, even if he doesn’t smoke in public, he trusts me not to take a picture of him smoking. Another example is when the subject is breastfeeding her baby. photo, “she added.

Lenswoman: Photographer Claudia Dian was trusted to capture behind-the-scenes moments of notable musicians such as Andien, Tulus and Yura Yunita (Photo courtesy of Claudia Dian)Lenswoman: Photographer Claudia Dian was trusted to capture behind-the-scenes moments of notable musicians such as Andien, Tulus and Yura Yunita (Photo courtesy of Claudia Dian) (Personal Collection / Photo courtesy of by Claudia Dian)

Claudia pointed out that there is a stark difference between a backstage photographer and the paparazzi. Unlike the latter, she has no interest in violating the privacy of her subjects. “I much prefer to give my subjects their space so that they are as free as they want. I prefer my subjects to be themselves in front of me without worrying about the photos I take.”

In addition to confidentiality, Claudia always takes mental notes on “how not to be bored” as she often has to follow the same subject for months on end, a task that could end up being monotonous for a photographer. She likened this particular challenge to being in a “playground”, believing that although the subject matter is unchanged, the following photos can still offer a lot of variety given that “the venue may be different, the treatment of the event may be different and the subject’s mood may be different “.

Faced with the delicate challenges of her job, Claudia finally realized that the art of photography was not as instantaneous as it had seemed when she was younger. Communication has proven to be as valuable as a digital camera. “You have to communicate with management. You have to communicate with anyone. You even have to communicate with security!” she added.

Ultimately, Claudia thinks she’s done a good job once she knows her photos can “bring up the sensations. Once you look at the photos, you can feel something. Joy or even something. sadness”.

A woman’s eye

Claudia’s list of photographers consists of “senior” women such as Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti and batik and textile designer Obin. Speaking of distinguished women, she couldn’t help but notice the dearth of female photographers in Indonesia, the cause of which was not so difficult to decipher.

“Photography mainly works in the field, so maybe there are some ‘barriers.’ Not all women have the privilege of going into this field,” she theorized. While her parents have supported her career as a photographer, there are still times when they hope their daughter “spends more time at home and doesn’t travel as much”.

As Claudia is about to enter her sixth year as a full-time photographer, she believed that in order to carve out a career as she has done so far, two mental qualities were required: confidence and the determination.

“You don’t have to follow anyone’s style. Be yourself with the work you create, then be confident in what you create. As for the rest? You just have to work hard.”

For Claudia Dian’s portfolio, check out her Instagram @claudianrh and @_bycld


Stewart C. Hartline