First interviewee of our activity operators, Joe Kennedy, professional photographer and long time lover of Bali tells us how he managed to combine and live from his two passions: Photography and Bali.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
My name is Joe Kennedy, I’m from Northern Ireland, UK and since I was a child I have always been interested in photography. I started photographing family, friends and pets. It was all Black & White film in those days. Later, I worked in the oil industry and travelled around the world for 24 years. My job gave me the opportunity to live in various countries including Mexico, Brazil, France, Bulgaria, US, China, Norway and Denmark as well as Indonesia. Besides being very enriching experiences, all those years provided wonderful opportunities to photograph amazing people, places and events such as the Rio de Janeiro World famous carnaval.
After the company I worked for was taken over in 2004 and all the staff were made redundant, I decided to fulfill my passion for photography and start my own business.
For how long have you been in Bali and why did you choose this island?
I became a professional photographer 10 years ago and decided to move to Bali and set up my own business on this marvellous island. I first came to Bali 34 years ago as at that time I was living and working in Jakarta and came to Bali every 4-6 weeks on long weekends and holidays. Of all the places I have lived in so far my two favourites are : Bali and Rio de Janeiro. I preferred Bali because of the Photographic Opportunities, the tradition, the peaceful atmosphere, the culture, the weather (so much better than Europe), friendly people and beaches etc…
How could you describe this amazing place over the years?
When I came here first, Seminyak didn’t exist and Nusa Dua was just mangrove swamps. In 1983 the first major hotel opened at Nusa Dua, The Nusa Dua Beach Hotel as it was then called and now there are more than 50 others. The beach road in Kuta was just a dirt track. Needless to say, the McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Hard Rock Café’s that we are all now so familiar with didn’t exist either.
Many of the International Hotels had yet to appear in Bali. It was a very different island back then. Some people now call it progress but for others the massive development and changes on the island are too much. It’s a struggle at times for the infrastructure of roads, water, electricity and sewage facilities to cope. For me as a Photographer though, Bali still offers amazing photographic opportunities and it is truly a Photographers Paradise.
How could you describe your style?
I like my photographs to look as natural and casual as possible so I am very careful with how much Photoshop I use. I much prefer outdoor natural light to studio set ups. You can’t beat Mother Nature. I love Black & White Photography which is wonderful for showing mood and atmosphere. Portrait Photography is also one of my favourites. For my business I really photograph everything as the customer wants. It could be a villa or hotel shoot today and a beach model shoot the next day or I could be photographing jewellery or food for a client’s brochure. One never knows what the next project will be and this adds to the variety and excitement of the business.
What type of events do you shoot?
I shoot wherever the business takes me. It could be at a Wedding or Pre-Wedding or it might be at a birthday party, School Event or graduation, Photography Tour or a Model Shoot or at a Fashion shoot……anything really.
What are you best places in Bali?
There are so many to choose from. For food, I love two restaurants in Bali: La Lucciola on the beach in Seminyak, where you can found very good steaks, pasta and seafood… and Merah Putih, also in Seminyak. It is a great Indonesian restaurant where you can sample the wonderful food from the various regions of this great archipelago. For simpler occasions I also like Balangan and Geger Beaches where I can combine a photoshoot with some lovely seafood and just sit there relaxing.
How is the market in Bali? And why did you choose the photo tours?
Due to the economic crisis that every country is suffering from, Business can be slow. Customers want quality work but are not always prepared to pay for it and it is difficult at times to meet their demands. Nowadays, everyone with a decent camera can be a photographer but it’s a different matter getting the quality that a client wants and that is what they are paying for. My Photo Tours started when a customer asked me if I did them. I said yes and now over 75 people have been on them. The tours are not bus tours where the customer gets out at various locations to take a photo before moving on to the next stop. They are customized for the client so they get to see the places they want to see as well as learning how to set up their cameras properly and get expert tuition so they get some WONDERFUL photographs. I am happy when my clients have had a great day out and come back for more or recommend the tours to their friends.
Below a few pictures from Joe Kennedy