Heret Frasthio is one of young, most talented photographers in Indonesia who is able to combine beauty and fashion photography with product photo-shoot. This Moestopo-graduate finds photography curing and challenging. He’s one good living proof demonstrating that photography is not an expensive hobby if one’s willing to try.

In 2006, Heret established his own photography studio, 2hphoto, with Henky Christianto and Indra Dipta. Focusing on commercial photography, his clients ranging widely from Samsung, Garuda Indonesia, Nissan to Levi’s. This 32 year old has received several advertising awards for his excellent works.

How would you define yourself?
Everyone looked at my works could see that I’m a very detailed person. I’ve always went into quite a long process when I’m working, from preparation to the photo session itself. But actually, apart from photography, I’m not that demanding.

What motivates and inspires you?
We have to go back to my first encounter to photography twelve years ago, which was one effective mean to detoxify myself from drugs issue. Photography, introduced by my lecturer, was the best antidote. He didn’t know that I was involved with drugs but he could see that I was very interested on the subject so he often engaged me in informal outside class discussions.
The motivation has changed since I got my first camera, a Nikon FM10. At first I was delighted that photography could drive me positively but now my goal is to give best service for my clients and to make my studio grow.

What do you most enjoy about the work process? And what is the least?
In particular I am most fond of the brainstorming process to combine idealism and commercialism, supported by my general knowledge, through communication to deliver clients’ demands. I love to have mental debate just to convince myself about my concept. This process teaches me to be more responsible with my decisions and choices. I hated it the most when people could not give logical explanation when giving suggestions. I’m a very stubborn person, yeah.

Are there any differences between working for experimental or self-initiated project and commercial project? How do you adapt to those differences?
Well now, with photography becomes my main livelihood, I’ve found it difficult to create a personal project. I’ve been through a point when I felt that I had to create as much as personal projects as possible but now I don’t feel such urge. I just wanted to increase the quality of my service although I still try to project my personal perspective into my works.
It’s not easy for an artist to enter commercial world, a lot of photographers meet difficulties when adapting. Yet I feel that I was just only working for twelve years, I still have tens of years to come so I should find ways to stay passionate so I alternate my times between taking pictures and doing my hobbies, spending times with my classic motorcycle club (Heret owned five classic motorcycles from the Honda CB series and one Vespa).

How do you feel about collaboration?
I cannot do this alone and to work with people with different skills give me another satisfaction.

You have been working as photographer for renowned agencies like Lowe, Ogilvy and major brands such as LA Light etc, can you tell us of how did you start working with them and can you share the experiences?
It’s actually a bit of coincidence. I began my career in 2004 working for magazines taking pictures for fashion spread. At that time not much photographer mixed commercial products shooting with fashion. Then I joined The Loop Indonesia and shared my portfolio there. I grew fast because no competitor existed and The Loop already had big name in advertising world. Just in two years, I got contract from Biore, Plaza Indonesia, Senayan City. Firstly more beauty products got attracted due to my background as fashion photographer.

What is the most important lesson you get?
I get more knowledge about brands and how advertising agency works, why most of them are very strict with their ads concept. I understand that it’s easy to make good photography but it’s hard to create picture that matches with everyone’s expectation.

What are the biggest difficulties you find when working with agencies and/or huge brands and how do you tackle those challenges?
It’s really hard at the beginning but the key is an open mind for discussion and communication. After some time, working continues to be more and more exciting.

How do Indonesia and its culture affect your work?
I feel very grateful to be born and able to work here. Yes, compared to other countries in the region, we have awful ethics and bad discipline but here we’re able to push ourselves and make good works with limited resources. We’re also very lucky because here we get more understandings from clients.

What are you listening to these days?
There is one band but I forgot the name. Basically I have to listen to music to boost my mood when working, any kind of music depends on the photo session’s concept.

Artists or designers you admire? Why?
I admire Anton Ismael, Davy Linggar, Rebecca Deville, Tim Walker and David LaChapelle. I just envy how they could maintain their strong perspective and ideology, and could make a living from that.

How do you see yourself in ten years from now?
My business has running well and I have more time to focus on personal projects. I have at least five great young photographers in my studio, as well as twenty talented digital artists.

Could you draw or describe the view from your working space?
I don’t have a room or table so mostly I just hop from one room to another to chat with my co-workers.

What’s your everyday carry or pocket dump?
One book contained my resolution, five year working plan, concepts and anything, charging cables, MacBook Air and a pair of motorcycle gloves. I gave up driving and now I ride motorcycle every day.

What is the best advice you received that you would like to share with aspiring designers and artists?
Never give up.