As his Instagram bio clearly introduces him, "Coffee, Food, and everything in between 📷", Steven Setiono is gifted. If Photography is his strength, Coffee is his weakness. His photographs not only are artistic and soothing, they communicate well with the audiences.
We had a chance to talk a bit about his creative process and here are a few excerpts from the same:
Hi Steven, tell us how did you get into photography?
Since the day I came across the National Geographic magazine in my junior high school year, I became a huge fan of photography and beautiful images. But I never took it seriously until a few years ago. I bought an old camera and played with it to escape from my daily routine. Since I am a huge food and coffee lover, I became interested in learning more about food photography. Instagram became my chosen platform to share, to get inspired, and to learn and improve my photography.
Phone/Camera or Both? What do you love about them?
Currently I use a Sony A7 Mark II to take most of my shots. I didn't have any specific reason as to why I chose that camera, I guess because I started with a Sony NEX6 and it feels like an upgrade to that camera, and I love the results so far. But for a top shot or a flatlay style, I use my iPhone 6Splus, I love the result of the camera, the only downside is when the subject is too bright, it loses the details.
There is an inspiration behind every art. What inspires you to shoot?
Lovely ambience of a coffee shot usually inspire me the most. Beautifully crafted coffee and food also inspire me. I love to share and send out messages about the place or the food/coffee through my photography.
I guess choosing your subject is one of the major exercises. How do you go ahead with it?
Whenever I visit a cafe, I usually focus on the ambiance, food, coffee, or even the hospitality, figure out what impresses me the most and then pick that as my main subject.
What genre of photography excites you?
To be honest, my favorite genre of photography is Landscape photography. I always enjoy adoring beautifully captured landscapes. But I haven't tried my hands on one yet (Laughs...) Right now my main interest is in Food Photography.
What sort of project drives your creativity? What is your dream project?
Promoting a brand or a place is challenging for me. It is essential to capture and express the essence of the object to the audience. My dream project is travel and make a culinary photo journal in a city or country, from street food to high end restaurant.
As we say, every passion comes with a few hardships. What is the hardest thing about photography?
The hardest thing is when it becomes monotonous and flat, becomes just another routine or obligation. It's like you shoot because there is a need to shoot, not because you feel like to. Usually it is an indicator to take a step back, refresh, find inspiration, and start again.
That makes a lot of sense. So tell me, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
Find your inspiration, your muse, and keep on trying to make a better shot, keep learning. I believe there are people who are born with what I usually say, "the eye", who can view things differently from others, people with high levels of creativity. I'm definitely not one of them, but again, there is nothing in this world that we cannot learn if we put our mind and efforts in. We just need a longer time, but we will be better and better each time.
Well, Indeed. We, at Ryokō follow the same principle.
Yes, I have been a constant follower of Ryokō on Instagram since the early days. I'm inspired by your journey and always loved your products, especially the Cleveland camera bag. I got a chance to see your products in Singapore last month, and my appreciation of your craft is even bigger now. I'm a proud owner of the Jones wallet, and loving it. Just keep on doing what you are doing right now.
And finally, since you are a genuine camera lover, what’s your idea of a perfect camera bag?
Like the ones that you make, (Laughs)... Functional, durable, yet stylish.
You can follow Steven's beautiful Instagram feed here: https://www.instagram.com/mrva