In today’s digital world, an artist or a creator is always lesser known than his work. Images, videos, articles, tweets, posts. It takes simply seconds for these to go “viral”. Digital distribution knows no international borders. Well, maybe North Korea, but you get the point.
A lot of people have come across Hrjoe Photography‘s work- the unique still motion episodes based around the day to day lives of superheroes and their hilarious antics. However, little is known about the man behind these acclaimed works.
So, we have for you Edy Hardjo, chemical engineer turned photographer, who with his expert eye and wacky wit, changed how we imagine superheroes to be when they are not busy saving the world!!
Born in Indonesia, 1973, Edy was married in 2004, and has two sons and a daughter. He currently lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.
BadCon: Thanks for giving us the time Mr Hardjo!
HrJoe: I am happy to be here and answer any questions you may have.
BadCon: Are you aware of how much your work has spread across the globe, even here in India? Did you expect such acclaim/renown?
HrJoe: Yes, I do see that some people share my photos in several Social Media. Honestly, this surprise me because I do this only as hobby not for publication.
BadCon: So many people are appreciating your work, and even being influenced by it and trying to learn from it. Do you have any advice for them?
HrJoe: My photo is more about concept and idea. Just throw any idea that you have in mind, even if it’s a nasty one, you can tone down later when you develop the concept further. My works is usually using 1/6th scale figure, if the accessories are not available, don’t hesitate to use digital processing to fill the gap. I do that a lot, because not all stuff are available.
BadCon: How did you get in to comics? Which is your favorite series? Was there any predominant comic book culture where you grew up?
HrJoe: I love comics since I was a kid, both Marvel and DC. But never follow them seriously because of limited availability in my country and also budget. My favorite series is Identity Crisis from DC.
BadCon: How is the Indonesian comic book scene? Has the culture and the social environment played a part in you coming up with the idea?
HrJoe: I don’t follow any local comic book, so I don’t have any preference.
BadCon: When did you first realize that photography is your true calling?
HrJoe: I start involved in photography since about 3 years ago. But as I mention earlier, this is just a hobby for me. I do this just for fun, although now I also do some commission photo shoot.
BadCon: Did you undertake any professional course to achieve this level of perfection in your craft?
HrJoe: I learn my basic photography lesson from Canon School of Photography, just 2 weeks course. Then I just explore further from internet and books.
BadCon: Do you still maintain your engineering career?
HrJoe: No, now I’m more active in trading and online store.
BadCon: How did you make the transition to being predominantly an action figure photographer?
HrJoe: At the beginning, I just want to take nice picture for my online store product. Since I collect action figures, I use these as model for learning product photo shoot. And since like more of my action figures photos than my other type of photos, I start to explore more into this.
BadCon: How long does it take to complete one shot? Can you explain the steps involved?
HrJoe: It really depends on the complexity of the scene.
I usually start with simple idea in mind, about a small scene that include 1 or 2 character, then try to put more character in the scene to make it more complex.
This include what each character role and pose, and whether it is possible to pose the figure that way because of limited articulation.
After I feel the scene can be created, then I start to pose the real figure. Posing can take 30 minutes to hours, the more character involved, the longer it takes. After posing is done, then I prepare and arrange my photography equipment and shoot the picture. This also can takes lots of time, 30 minutes to hours, because sometimes I must re-arrange the position to get a better composition in the photo, which sometimes I have to change the initial scenario.
Besides posing, lighting arrange net also takes time, sometimes I have to take couple of shots of the same picture with different lighting position to be combined later in digital processing. Finally, time needed for digital processing also depends on the complexity of the scene, sometimes I must create an impossible posing using this graphic manipulation. It can take 2-5 hours.
BadCon: How do you train yourself to have the patience to create each shot?HrJoe: I always want to make my next photo better than the last one. I want people to see that I can maintain and even increase my standard, this challenge me and keep me motivated.
BadCon: Wow! Have you considered using 3D printing?
HrJoe: Currently not, but maybe in the future.
BadCon: Obviously you have quite extraordinary imagination. What would you say has influenced your imagination?
HrJoe: I use my daily experience as source of ideas. I found out that sometimes even a serious thing or moment (if combined with certain act) can be funny.
The recipe is “wrong combination.”. All I do is replace the “usual” thing with the “unusual.”
For example: When I was at barbershop, I suddenly have an idea what if Thor hair was cut, it should be funny to see a Thor without hair, from that basic idea I explore more, and later I think about what if Hulk is the one that cut Thor hair? This angry and brutal character should be funny if pose as a barber who should have fine skill and patience.
Then I got the BARBER photo. (Which Robert Downey Jr seems to have liked!)
BadCon: Did you need to get any kind of permissions from Marvel and DC to use their characters?
HrJoe: No, I don’t think I need one
BadCon: What can we expect the next series to be about?
HrJoe: I am still working on some commercial photo shoot , and also I will be busy with my online store this coming week, so I have not prepare any new “humor” project yet.
BadCon: Many of your photos tell a story that goes deeper than what first “meets the eye”. For example the following image: how does the audience respond to such clever-yet subtle story telling?
HrJoe: This photo is a bit tricky/hard to understand for common people. But for those who knew Marvel characters well, they love this one. But as my audience are mixed, so total rating is not quite as good as my previous photos like “It’s Time” or “Suit Up”. I also have problems when setting up the pose. Although it’s only 3 characters involved, but it’s difficult for me to find the right angle. The challenge is how to make people notice the eyes.
BadCon: Do you see yourself at some point also moving into ‘stop motion animation’ videos?
HrJoe: Currently not, but maybe in the future.
BadCon: Are the posters of the scenes you create available commercially? Can our audience order them online via an affiliated link?
HrJoe: I do some commission photoshoot. Mainly for Red Diorama, they are the best diorama creator from Indonesia, still new, but now they are working closely with Disney (Marvel), you can see some of my works for them on their Facebook Page. Recently I also do a special request scene for a toy company birthday event, but it will be published on July. I sell my photos in poster size, printed in non glossy photo paper, exclusive limited 5 print only/photo, signed and numbered.
BadCon: And finally, How did it feel when Iron man, Sir Robert Downey Jr. himself shared two of your photos? Do you know how he came across your work?
HrJoe: I was really happy and surprised about this. For an artist, the most important thing is his work was acknowledge by many, and in this case it’s very special because the man himself like my works.
BadCon: Thanks a lot for your time and best of luck for your future endeavors !
Folks, if you liked Edy’s work, be sure to follow him on Facebook (Hrjoe Photography), Instagram (@HrJoe_photography) and Twitter (hrjoe_photogrp) to stay up to date with his latest work. He will definitely have something that tickles your fancy, and tells an interesting tale. Also, let us know your favorite picture (if you can pick just one, that is!!). And, what other characters would you guys like to see in his subsequent works.
Authors: Rainmaker and Krussail
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