A MARRIAGE IS A JOURNEY

Okkar & Khine by Ivan

When I took these pictures of Okkar and Khine in London, I couldn’t help but notice how her face lit up every time she looked up at the fiancé. I love watching their chemistry. Their big day is coming up and I imagine that in the midst of all the hassle of wedding planning, this little getaway was complete bliss. I think that a bit of traveling together before the big day should be made a mandatory thing. Not only is it good to distance yourself from the piles of “to-do” before the big day, if you think about it, marriage and travel actually have many things in common. 

Both in marriage and travel, there is a process of ongoing change. Sometimes we need to set the itinerary and stick to the schedule, but sometimes we need to take detours. Along the way we might find something, or we might even lose something. The sight may be very beautiful for a week, but then it could be very boring and even sickening for the next couple of days. 

Travel also has a way of bringing out the real you. Just like in marriage. You cannot hide your worst character yet you can be really good to and for each other. Travel always offers unexpected challenges: a missed flight, a lost wallet, or a frustration of language barrier, to name a few, that provides opportunities that bring out the real you. It’s the same with marriage. Challenges will come knocking at your door every day and there’s no way you can run away from them. Instead, you need to face it head on, hand in hand with your partner. You have to get each other’s backs and compromise on things.

Marriage is a lifelong journey; it’s not the destination. So, instead of wondering when you’ll get there, it’s better to just enjoy the journey. But don’t worry, whenever you feel trapped and bored in the routines of married life, you could always ask your spouse to take some time off together and go travel the world for a little bit of excitement.

Go on a trip somewhere together before you say “I do”. It’s going to do you a lot of good. 


Love, 

Ivan

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24 Feb 2017

#AXIOO15: What AXIOO Means To Andreas Hartanto

Andy & Maggie by Aha

I picked up a wedding magazine for the first time in high school. There was an article about David Soong in it, with a picture of him laying on the side of the Darling Harbour in Sydney. In it, he talked about changing mindsets and bringing about newness to the world of wedding photography. As I read through it, a dream starting to grow inside my heart. I knew right then, that I would want to work with him at AXIOO. 

At that time, the company revolved around David Soong and Ivan Mario. I followed their stories closely. I caught up with updates and I admired their work. Even when I was in college studying design, their work continued to be my inspiration and my desire to work with them never gotten smaller. I kept that dream alive. Until one day, towards the end of my last semester at college, as if by fate, I met Paulus Hyu. AXIOO had gotten bigger and had more photographers on their team, while I had just opened up a humble food stall near the AXIOO office. I met David in person for the very first time at that stall. He came in with some of the AXIOO guys to eat and he always sparked up conversations that led to stimulating and inspiring discussions. My admiration for him and his company grew. And I had begun to pick up my camera after that. 

A few months later, Paulus asked me if I was still interested to help out at AXIOO. That question came into my life like a lightning bolt. OMG! That was like a dream come true. I managed to stay cool, though, and I asked him, “What can I do to help?” 

So I was invited to meet with David a few days after that. In a business setting. Not casually at a food stall. I remember trying to keep my mind around it as I hung on to every word David was saying. He asked me, “Why do you want to work at AXIOO?” And I didn’t waste a second before telling him this story that I had just told you. 

Three years ago, I made the decision to join AXIOO. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life. More than having the chance to meet the personalities that I have been a huge fan of since high school, I got the chance to actually share my life with them. To learn from them. To be inspired by them. To be corrected by them. On a daily basis. I grew inside this company - not just as a photographer, but as a friend and as a human being. My skills are improved, my confidence is built and my character is shaped. 

This is what AXIOO means to me: It is a dream that became a home. 

David once told me, “The best part of photography is the relationship. If your clients become your friend, that will mean the world to us.” Thank you AXIOO for never stopping to inspire the world. Always dream big and act even bigger in the years ahead. Cheers to 15 years of AXIOO!

As we celebrate fifteen years of capturing love and life, we want to invite you to come away with us. We’ve got something special coming up… and we can’t wait to show it to you! #AXIOO15 will open an exhibition at the #BridestoryFair2017 on the 10th-12th of Feb at Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel. Mark your calendars and we hope to see you there!

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09 Feb 2017

True love is the reward

Michael & Febrina by Paulus

 

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. But overcome evil with good. This is the true love”

I really like these words, a words pronounced by priest during one of the many weddings I got to witness. These words still ring true until today. 

We live in a broken world when the love of many will grow cold, a world where people would rather hurt, retaliate and refuse to love or forgive. We know that we’re not supposed to be doing any of those things, but it’s always easier to take the low road, isn’t it? And the sad part is that this even harder to do with the people we love the most. This happens even in marriage.

There are days when we just don’t want to love our spouse. Believe me, I’ve been there. When my wife is in a horribly annoying mood and when she “can’t help but” inflict pain on me, I wish I didn’t have to accept or understand. My first instinct is, of course, to retaliate. I would have nothing of it. I’d take revenge. I’d keep score. Every time she annoys me is the same time I’ll annoy her back. I’d want to hurt her whenever she hurt me. But that’s just the easy way to go, isn’t it? It doesn’t help the situation. In fact, it’s like throwing gasoline on the fire. It just makes it worse.

The reward in marriage lies in honoring the commitment and that is to love your spouse even when it’s hard, because when it’s hard to love them, that’s when they actually need to be loved the most. Be the sunshine on their bad days. Forgive even when it’s hard. Be patient. Even in the heat of the moment you’d think that it’s unfair, know the meaning of true love. Don’t succumb to the flesh and the voice inside your head that tells you to repay wrongdoings with the same. Look for healthy solutions. Instead of meeting evil with equal or greater force, let’s meet evil with a completely different force: with good. Instead of paying back in kind, payback with kindness.

If it’s still hard for you, say a silent prayer for them. And give your heart some time to heal. Remember, the reward lies right there. True love will be your reward. 


Love, 

Paulus

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27 Jan 2017

The Waiting Period

Niko & Febby by Dre | Written by Maya

We’re nearing the end of the first month this year, but I hope it isn’t too late to say wish you a Happy New Year. Hope your year is going swell! So, I’m here filling in for Dre as he’s still enjoying the start of the year (thanks for sharing your space with me, Dre!) and I thought of sharing with you a little musing about “The Waiting Period”. If you think about it, we’re always waiting for something, aren’t we? We stand at the traffic light waiting for the light to turn green. We stand at public toilets waiting for our turn to you know… do our business. We sit at restaurants waiting for our food to arrive. When we think about it, we actually spend a good portion of our lives waiting for something. Those are the small, ordinary things that we’re so used to waiting for, we don’t even mind waiting anymore. But what about the big things? The big promotion? The big breakthrough? And my all time favorite, the long wait for that one special person to come into your life and sweep you off your feet.  Romance is quite possibly the one thing we really mind waiting for. Especially when we’ve waited not for mere minutes or hours, but for days, maybe months, even years for that one special person to come along. We’ve waited so long we’ve almost given up hope and we begin to prepare our hearts for disappointments. “Those fairytale happy-endings were never for me, anyway!” we’d tell ourselves. We’d begin to lament our sad, sad fate and on bad days, we’d even curse it. We try to convince ourselves that we’re wasting our time and try to move on, but find that the dream of finding “the one” keep on resurfacing and it brings us back to what seems like a never-ending waiting period.  Waiting is always hard. Especially when it’s long. It can get tiring and boring and it can bring you down pretty fast. But let me ask you something: what do you do when you’re waiting in the traffic or in the toilet or at the restaurant? You’d probably chat with whoever you’re with or maybe check out your phone (although I sincerely hope that you aren’t doing this when you’re driving!). You’ll connect with whoever you’re with or if you’re alone, you’ll scroll through your social media feed or maybe chat with someone on an app, or maybe you’ll watch your surrounding. You find something to do and you certainly don’t start feeling sorry for yourself just because you have to wait. What you do in the waiting period matters. Your attitude towards your waiting period matters. You aren’t waiting for just anyone; you are waiting for the one! As you wait for that one special person to come into your life, move your focus from being a sad person in waiting into being someone awesome who is absolutely worth waiting for. Meet new people, make new friends, create healthy relationships. Enhance yourself. Discover new things and work on your personal growth. Don’t waste the time you have on meaningless things. Instead, use it wisely, as the chance to get to love yourself and to know exactly what you’re looking for. You know what they say, true love will always find a way. And that one special person will make his way to you when you’re ready and when God says “it’s time”. In the meantime, find things to make your waiting period memorable. And we’ll be praying that this year will be your best year yet. 
 Love, Maya

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25 Jan 2017

A Lasting Relationship

Jodie & Gladys by David

There are two parts of a wedding that I truly love. The first one is the vow. The second is the gratitude speech from the bride and groom to their parents. I am always touched by the exchange of words in between these two segments of a wedding and I constantly feel like I get emotionally carried away. Especially during the part where the bride and groom ask for blessings from their parents. Man oh man, I just can’t keep it together sometimes. 

We’re in a time where everyone is fighting for their independence. Individual achievements is highly acknowledged and personal strengths are commended. We often forget that we are of a collective culture that values extended families. You know, the more the merrier. And we believe that the blessing of parents and family is important and could just be the recipe to a long lasting relationship.

Some tend to forget that when they marry, they are not only marrying one person, but they are marrying the whole family too. Marriage is the coming together of two families. When you marry, you must love not only your spouse, but their parents who birthed, raised, nurtured, even struggled for them. You must give your heart to them and their siblings, their parents, their grandparents - and basically everyone who have contributed into their lives. You aren’t just marrying one lovely person - you are marrying the whole clan.

The union of two families with different backgrounds, habits, traditions, and lifestyle is no simple matter. The key is having enough sincerity and love. You have to understand that their family will be your family as well. You have the responsibility of taking care the two fathers and two mothers, share the love and time to both sides. It is your responsibility as a married couple. No matter how hard is, to creating family harmony is possible and it's very much worth the effort. Don’t ever give up!

As you prepare for your wedding, I encourage you to find it in your hearts to practice loving your future spouses’ family as well as your own. Make those two parts of your wedding truly the most heartfelt moments of the day, because on that special day, nothing would be more important than the promise you make to each other and the blessings you receive from your family. 


Love,

David

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20 Jan 2017

It starts with you

Dhani & Florence by Ivan

“I don’t like his attitude. Why does he always come home late? Doesn’t he care about me or his family?” / “She is annoying. Every time we fight, she always yells in my ear. It makes me sick. She’s Ms. Right who always has to be the winner of every argument. It’s so tiring!”

How many times you found yourself complaining about your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband? How much energy have you wasted by trying to change them? Do you benefit from complaining or saying all those negative words? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Complaining will get us nowhere! Ad you might be forgetting the fact that none of us are perfect. Not your partner. Not your husband. Not your wife. Or even anyone else. We can’t change anyone but ourselves. And every change should start with us. Not only is it impossible to change anyone else, it isn’t healthy either, even if you think that those changes will be the best thing that would have ever happen to them. 

Love is giving, right? So give a positive atmosphere to your relationship. Change your mindset, change your heart, change yourself. 

You can’t ask others to speak softly when you’re always yelling. You can’t force others not to hurt you when all you do is think negatively about them. Stop that and start winning them over. Try doing it without even using your words. Pray for them. Watch how you act around them. Live purely and allow God to work in their lives - and in yours. Don’t wait for them to change, but be the change you want to see. It all starts with you.

Sometimes your circumstances doesn’t change and neither does your partner. But what if God doesn’t change you both because He wants to change you first? Don’t ever give up, change your mindset and be the first to make that change. 


Love,

Ivan 

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16 Jan 2017

Better Than Love At First Sight

Leon & Jess by Aha

I love to travel. But at the same time, I understand the importance of having a home base where I can feel completely at easy and comfortable enough to be free and rest. A home is a place to hide, recover, and to escape from the outside world. And I really found that home in Bali, the place where I live now. It’s a place where I’m able to balance a crowded mind with a quiet atmosphere. However, everything is about to change… for I have moved out from Paradise Island to the Indonesian version of the city that never sleeps, Jakarta. Although this past week have been rather difficult for me, I know that life begins at the end of my comfort zone, and I am actually really excited about starting a new adventure in the city. Life is a progress and we all need to move forward, one step at a time. So, bring it on 2017!

Now let’s talk about Leon and Jess. Actually, the bride was no stranger to me. I knew her from our days working together in AXIOO. There is something special about this girl. You can’t meet her and not love her. She is as beautiful as she is kind and humble. She definitely has a cheerful heart that can fill the room with positive vibes. Every time I met her, she always smiling and that’s enough for me to know know that Jesslyn is a really nice person. Her husband, Leon, is just as nice. He told me a lot about their love stories - how she made him fall in love and how they let it bloom so nicely and beautifully through time. Their story was an inspiring one… and that is why I was so honored when they chose me to shoot their prewedding portraits.

The story between Leon and Jess didn’t started with a love from the first sight at junior high school, but when best friend’s feeling become a lovers. Leon has always been in love with Jess. And he make sure that whenever Jesslyn need something, he will be there for her, even still when they were still “just friends”. He stayed close and never gave up. After about nine years of being “just friends” they finally realized that no matter where they’ve been and who they’ve met, they always came back to each other. See? Love always finds their way if you never stop believing. 

I heard a lot about having consistence and persistence in loving someone, but I’ve never seen it with my own eyes - that is, until I met Leon and Jess. Nine years of friendship only to realize that nothing is better than falling in love with your best friend. That’s better than love at first sight. What could be a more inspiring story than that?

 

Big love for you guys, 

Aha


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10 Jan 2017

See A Little Different

Alfian & Maya by Dre

One of my favorite things to do, every time the year is coming to a close, is to get on the train of thoughts to the things I’ve done. I usually take out albums stored in old hard disks, to see the work that I have done, the places that I have visited, and all the moments I had the privilege to enjoy. That train of thought took me to the pre-wedding album of Alfian and Maya that was taken a while back in Melbourne. 

Truth be told, the art capital of Australia, never made it to my list of favorite cities in the world. Although I loved it’s distinct vibes that is always welcoming and the warmth that embraces everyone who visits, I didn’t find much to explore. Quite honestly, I don’t usually jump around in excitement at the thought of shooting in Melbourne. I have a list already made at the back of my mind of all the iconic locations I will be shooting at - the Brighton beach huts, the grafitti wall, the state library, just to name a few - and I know that I can take pictures on auto-pilot, with my eyes closed, just like *that*. Just like many other photographers before me. Just like what I have done before. 

Can you imagine how boring that would be? Not only would I be bored during the entire trip, I knew I’d be delivering mediocre work just because of it. Luckily, I woke up to this realization quickly. This was not me. And I wouldn’t let boredom cramp my style! So, I got back to work. Before we left for Melbourne, I had already researched the places and I tried to acquaint myself with the locations. I tried to imagine being there to see if I could actually “see” the places from different angles. And when I was actually in the city, I managed to take these pictures of Alfian and Maya that not only made me happy, but hopefully didn’t make this loving couple regret choosing me to capture their story in the city that is so special to them. 

A different angle, that’s all we need. To fight boredom, to get out of a rut, to solve problems, to make breakthroughs, to gain a little perspective… sometimes - maybe, most of the time - all we need is to move a little farther or dig a little deeper or climb a little higher just so we can see the situation we are in from a different angle. The view will be different and most likely be more rewarding. 

My train of thoughts took me to that one particular lesson in life this week. Where has yours taken you?


Love,

Dre

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09 Dec 2016

Matawai Amahu Padda Ndjara Hamu

Kenneth & Caroline by Adi

Sumba, 2016. We were several islands closer to the sun’s nest, and life here is getting closer to surreal. This is an island where Sandalwood ponies roam through hills and graze under dwarf Sandalwood trees. Wooden houses are built without any sort of adhering tools, and school children picnic in the middle of interstates.


I still wonder, though, why would they take a nap, play guitar, and enjoy lunch in the middle of the road? Any logical answer is irrelevant because they would also ride those wild ponies, without saddles, and toddlers would also enjoy miles of afternoon walk in bare feet, alone. I was so worried about the toddler but locals said that it’s simply their way of enjoying life.   


Nothing makes sense here because it’s been unexplored by the Ministry of Tourism, or in the other words, capitalism.  I went to this turquoise beach where fluffy white sand resembling baby powder stretches as far as eyes can see. Its coastline is adorned with ornate seashells and school of fish that are cheerfully jumping against the gentle waves. Yet no commercial entity of any sort was in sight. Sweet dreams are made of this beach. Urban legend has it that Nicholas Saputra once jogged fully naked along this beach. 


This kind of place, is where you want to travel to if you want to learn how beauty doesn’t always have to make sense. 


I understand that I would never be the first in this company to go anywhere for a photo shoot, including to Sumba. But I believe I’m the first to get addicted to Sumba and have been constantly alluring pre-wedding clients to go there. I gave a big hug to Kenneth and Caroline for buying me my first plane ticket to Sumba several months ago, and from now on, please expect more albums taken in this photogenic island. 


Cheers, 

Adi

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08 Dec 2016

Grateful

Benz & Janet by Jan

Can you mention what’s on your gratitude list? A good career, good health, a new car, the birth of a new baby? But, what about your marriage? Are you really thankful for your spouse? For some, the reply will come with a quick nod of affirmation, but for others, the answer is become more difficult. Really difficult. As marriages move past the honeymoon stage, couples go from appreciating and loving every little detail about each other to taking each other for granted. The truth is every good stuff always there, but sometimes all you see are the problems. The blur of marriage life and all of its responsibilities can often make it difficult for you to see the good in your spouse. 

When things getting harder, when the situation seems complicated, when life gets busy, when everything’s changing, no matter what is going on in your marriage life, do not forget to take a step back from it all and reflect on the things that really matter. Take a breath and choose to focus on the goodness of your spouse. Start to write a gratitude list about your spouse. Stop spending your time focusing on their weaknesses, bad habits, mistakes, or flaws and start being grateful. Because there is always, always, always something to be grateful. 

Be grateful if your spouse chooses to trust you in spite of all your faults. Be grateful how they support you to reach your goals, how they’re always there for you, how they still show their kindness even if when you are cranky and annoying. Be grateful they still forgive you all over again. Be grateful when they ask you where you’re going because they care. What a blessing it is to know there's someone who is concerned about your safety. See? When you start being grateful, everything looks easier, right? Stop focusing on the negative.

Being grateful changes everything. Words are powerful tools. They can create, or they can destroy. They can build up, or they can tear down. If you start speaking well of your spouse, you start believing what you say. Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial, into acceptance, chaos into order and confusion into clarity. It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Being thankful changes your attitude and your heart to see every condition, to have a right response and to have a better day. 


Love,

Jan

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06 Dec 2016
All the way to the bottom already?