With an Instagram feed brimming with quirk and color, it's not surprising to learn that Indonesian fashion photographer Haqi Cahya (@haqeeu) is deeply influenced by K-pop. With just 2 years of experience Haqi has fashion campaigns, international collaborations, and two solo exhibits already under his belt. In this special interview Haqi takes us through his creative process and how it was like to shoot his dream Korean model, Kim Kibum.
Interview Cessi Treñas, Photos Haqi Cahya
Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your name and hometown?
Haqi: Hello, I’m Haqi Cahya (@haqeeu), a 22-year-old-boy who lives in Jakarta, Indonesia, but regularly visits Seoul. I’m the youngest child in my family.
What were the highlights of your 2015?
Haqi: There is a lot that happened in 2015. I usually wrap up with an article and start telling stories of my favorite moments every hundred posts I make on my Instagram account. As far as I remember, what left an impression in my heart was doing a photo shoot with my model crush, Kim Kibum (@kibumee) from YG KPlus, and finally getting a chance to snap a fashion spread for my favorite magazine, NYLON. Could you imagine that?
As a kid, what did you want to become after growing up? Has pursuing a career in fashion photography always been your goal?
Haqi: I’ve always loved taking snapshots of my surroundings. I borrowed my sister’s pocket digital camera and wandered around inside and outside my house to take pictures of literally everything that could be interesting to a 10-year-old boy. But, I really never planned to take photography as seriously as I do now.
What is your fondest memory of photography?
Haqi: Meeting new people. I’m always excited to meet new professionals, creatives, and models as I walk from one shoot to another. It feels so exciting to make new friends!
How did you come up with a distinct creative direction for your work?
Haqi: Actually, I loved drawing and painting before I started taking photographs.When I was still into drawing, all of my artworks were bright, happy, and playful like everyone says. I just simply do and create what I love from my bucket of imagination, and what I love is a piece of art that consists of bright and happy colors!
Is Kpop also one of your influences?
Haqi: Yes! Korean music videos are the best when it comes to colorful and quirky set designs and concepts. Their albums always come out with great photoshoot concepts! I really love how they burst out colors without overdoing it. They always make images that are simple, clean, but still smashing.
What makes a good photograph?
Haqi: A strong concept, art direction, determination, quirky imagination, and plenty of time—I guess those are what makes a good photograph. An expensive camera and years of theory without practice won’t promise you a good result.
Do you have any pre-photoshoot rituals?
Haqi: Since I have too many things on my mind, I always draw what kind of pose I’d like the models to do, and list down all the props. I often forget the pose I really want to produce. Drawing the pose as reference is a lot easier and faster than to search for it on the internet.
Tell us more about the Fruit Series, your editorial collaboration with model Kim Kibum and Tiara. What was it like working with a model from a large-scale agency?
Haqi: I went to Seoul last time for a business trip to snap a fashion campaign for an Indonesian apparel brand, and Tiara, who is currently studying in Daegu, was appointed as the muse of the campaign. I’ve always wanted to shoot a Korean model because they have a cheerful charm and overwhelming charisma, especially male models because of their playfulness. I can’t find any playful male models in Indonesia! Kim Kibum is a nice guy; he’s so tall and has a deep, husky voice. He is also good at posing. The first time he arrived on set, he greeted and bowed to everyone. Although his English is not very fluent, he really tried to understand what I was trying to say by using body language. It was a funny moment on set.
Who would you want to collaborate with in the future?
Haqi: Munsoo Kwon seems to catch my attention with his eye-catching runway collections. I’d really love to collaborate with him and the models he usually takes to the runway like Jang Kiyong, Park Hyeongseop, Nam Joo Hyuk, and Kim Taehwan!