Beautiful Maluku

Charlos & Nana by Dre

There are places that overwhelm me with amazement for God’s work and make me feel small in light of His creation - those are places that brings me closer to nature. Then there are places that make me beam with pride and fill me with gratitude - and those are places that bring me closer to the natural landscapes of my country, Indonesia. 

One of those places is the Maluku islands - the original spice islands, a hidden, almost undiscovered gem, with dreamy beaches, spectacular reefs against a backdrop of lush mountains. Where below there water’s surface lies a world so mesmerizing, decorated with world-class coral gardens and the regular - yet rare to the rest of the world - sightings of resident marine species, including the largest fish on earth known as the whale shark. Yes - the underwater world surrounding the Maluku island is breathtakingly beautiful, but I know that (through my photographer eyes), the white sandy beaches have truly captured my heart. 

Charlos is from Maluku. And so, when he suggested that he and Nana head back to his hometown for their pre-wedding session, I supported them without any hesitation. Because more than knowing that it is a beautiful place, I also know that it is a beautiful place that is somewhat undiscovered and that there is a huge chance that we will be able to shoot series of pictures without the crowds in the background. 

I loved being in Maluku. I loved being on the island. I loved feeling overwhelmed by God’s goodness and pride for my country the whole time I was there. And I truly loved how these pictures turned out. The breathtaking natural beauty makes for a beautiful backdrop to this love story. Don’t you think so?

 

Cheers,

 

Dre

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18 Oct 2016

Love Language

Chaintana & Jamekani by Aha

There are many ways to see whether people are in love with each other. Some will gush about how special the object of his affection is; some will talk about how their lives have changed after meeting this special someone; while others don’t need to say anything or do anything, but simply need to just “be” and people can see the undeniable love they have for each other. 

Chaintana and Jamekani are one of those couples. 

Tana is an ex-boyband member who have left the stage to build his own business. Jame is runner-up of Miss Grand Thailand 2013 with unmatched beauty and a great sense of humor. They are the picture perfect couple. But underneath that beautiful exteriors lie beautiful souls with a great personality to match. Having met this Thai couple in Barcelona for the pre-wedding session was an experience I will never forget, although at first (and I’m going to be really honest here) it was a bit challenging since we didn’t speak a common language and it was hard to communicate with each other. 

In between Tana, Jame and I, we have so many opportunities to misunderstand each other. We don’t speak the same language and we don’t really understand each other’s cultural background or how we get on with our everyday. But it didn’t take much for me to see just what good people they are and how in love they were with each other. They didn’t have to lay it out for me in words. They simply needed to show me. I’d look at the way Tana looks at Jame and I know that he’s got it bad for her. It’s as if he’s telling her how much he loves her through his eyes. And to know that they’re good people? I only needed to see just how appreciative they were of my time and my work, how much care they showed me during the two-day photo session and how unbelievably modest they are. Through the weather or any unexpected situations during our session, not once did I hear them complain. Not even when they were tired and I was tired and it took me ages to set up my camera. They didn’t complain. Instead, I remember Tana coming up to me and as he struggled to find the words, complimented me on my work. He said, “Aha, I am tired. But I won’t forget this moment, because this will be the story I can tell my children someday and I want this to be the sweetest story of all.” I am grateful to have met clients who were this appreciative of my efforts and they have encouraged me to give my 1000% best! 

Although at the beginning of the journey, we didn’t quite hit it off because the language barrier was to wide, at the end of it, we were almost like family. It’s clear to see that language can’t get in the way of love that stems from the heart, for love is indeed the universal language. 

Thank you, Tana and Jame. Thank you for trusting me with your pre-wedding portraits and for giving me a sweet memory in Barcelona that I will never forget. The beautiful sunsets and the great food we had there and of course, our friendship, would definitely stay with me for a long time.

 

Khaphunkap!

 

Aha

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14 Oct 2016

Rest

Winston & Evelyn by Donny

Have you ever sat in a quiet beach? A really quiet one - not one that is often referred to as the “must visit” place, or that is filled with tourists in their fancy beach getups; not one that makes you spend a lot of your holiday money on overpriced coconuts and useless souvenirs that you’ll never look at again after you bought it? 

I’m talking about the secluded beaches… pristine, almost undiscovered, that anyone barely visits. 

After months of living in Bali, I finally sat at a secluded beach recently. Alone. Just me, the beach, and a good book. I brought my phone but I wanted to keep it at arms length that day. 

At first, the silence was alarming. I frantically searched for signs of life, for sightings of other people, passersby of any kind - you know, just in case something happened (obviously I had watched too many movies.) A few minutes later, I shifted my focus to the perfect mix of the warm sun on my skin and the cool winds that blew across my face. It turned my fear-ridden train of thoughts into something more peaceful. Eventually, I began to immerse myself in my book and I no longer searched for things around me. And occasionally, I would look up from book to hear the roaring waves and to feel the sand in between my toes. 

For once in a very long time, I felt peaceful and I remember walking into my house that evening, feeling full and content, and telling my wife about how that few hours getaway was the perfect cure for the stresses I had experienced a few days prior. 

We’re so used to being busy - so used to the hustle and the fast-paced lifestyle. (Don’t think that just because we live on the island, we are any different. We hustle just the same - maybe slightly slower, but still, the same kind of busy.) And a retreat from all that isn’t necessarily what we are naturally inclined to do. In fact, unless it’s forced, it is unlikely to happen. Even if we do need it. Even if our bodies scream for it. Even when our souls thirst after it. Our body, mind, and soul longs for a moment of retreat, of rest, of silence, but it’s hard for us to fulfil it, because the silence is alarming and the distance will draw us back. At least that’s what we think.

I used to think that way too. I don’t make resting a habit. I used to think that it was a waste of time. But after that one afternoon at the secluded beach, I know just what I need. 

Rest. Take a moment to just chill. Away from your everyday, away from your busyness, to tune out from the noises of your daily lives, to just commune with yourself, maybe even to be accompanied by nature. I promise you, it will do so much good for your souls. 

Love,

 

Donny

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12 Oct 2016

You are my home

Frederic & Jessica by Jan

Recently, I travelled and photographed a few couples for their pre-wedding portraits in Paris, the city of love, the most romantic city in the world. A place where starry-eyed lovers stroll hand-in-hand along the River Seine or linger in sidewalk cafes speaking French, the “language of love.” It is a city whose beauty strikes us at every corner, with its elegant architecture, iconic monuments, and the subtle combination of art, history and nature, creating the perfect canvas on which love can be conceived and painted into its own masterpiece. Standing above the Eiffel Tower with its glittering lights illuminating the birth of evening, couples share romantic moments, wedding proposals and honeymoons that create memories that will last for an eternity. As I was there, I was really excited to capture every moment.  

While in Paris, I had to go to different places, taking pictures for some couples and then capturing moment on photographs. When I travel, I know that it’s normal to feel tired, exhausted and missing home. But at that moment, I didn’t feel any of that at all. During that time, I understood that a home is different than a house. A house is a place you live, but a home is more than that: it’s a feeling, a sense of belonging, an overwhelming abundance of happiness. And home isn’t a place, but a person.

My recent visit to Paris seemed to be different than the other journeys I had been on, because this time, I wasn’t alone. I was with someone that I called “home” - my partner, my best friend, my wife; someone who was always with me through the journey of our love and will always be. Whenever I’m with her, it always feels like home. She’s the shoulder where I rest my head, the most secure and comfortable place on earth. I know that I’ll never be a stranger and I’ll never be alone, whenever we’re together. That’s my home. She’s my home.

We might be tired and we may even get lost sometimes. But when you’re home… nothing can bring you down. For many, home is a place, but for me, home is where the heart is.

 

Love,

 

Jan

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11 Oct 2016

What is love?

Edwin & Shierla by Ivan

Sometimes it's the simplest question that can be the most difficult to answer. When you ask people a question about love, they offer so many different perspectives. Everyone has different stories, different journeys, different experiences. What people know about love definitely could be different than other by how they understand and describe it.

How about you? What does love mean to you?

Lately, a four-letter-word itself mostly become miss understanding, even lots of misconception and will ended up in unhealthy relationship. Some say “I love him, I can’t live without him”, but the truth is they may in unhealthy relationship. What is true love? It’s that the example of love? It’s when they say “I love you”, or could there be another definition?

People generally enjoy the early stages and initial feelings of liking someone. The desire to talk to and spend time together. The learning all those details about each other. You’ve got butterflies in your stomach. When you start to fall in love, you will see every goodness about them. But when both of you get to know each other and walk to serious relationship, mostly they find it disappointing and choose to end up their relationship because they feel that their spouse is not match to their hopes and expectations. How come? Don’t they start it with love or it is just a simple interest?

Sometimes married couple could be torn apart because they don’t feel sparks in their heart. Or shouldn’t they survive even there’s no love? Is it possible? It could be happening. After read this article, I bet you might be afraid and rethink “How about my spouse and I? Can we survive? What kind of concept that we must have?

Don’t we know that a lot of people choose to give up because they have seen a bad example and think   ”So, it’s okay if I do that too”. Now the thing that you have to do is to love your partner and let your relationship grows. Don’t let your spouse and yourself become stuck on the same level for so long. Make sure you and your spouse is your match from God, because God always want both of you to grows well, in personality, mind, and love. Love your spouse and changes your perspective about true love.

Love is simple. Love will find a challenges, but will never give up and always fight side by side. Love is giving. Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love, once it finds you, is worth every fleeting moment of highs and lows. Love, although it may fade, never gives up on you. Love that leaves is not lost; it will find you again someday, perhaps when you least expect it or maybe when you really want it to. Love means letting yourself go. Love means giving in. Love means taking chances.

 

Love,

Ivan

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07 Oct 2016

Two Doves

Nico & Anita by Adi

Two doves meeting in the sky,
Two loves hand in hand eye to eye,
Two parts of a loving whole,
Two hearts and a single soul.

Two stars shining big and bright,
Two fires bringing warmth and light,
Two songs played in perfect tune,
Two flowers growing into bloom.

Two Doves gliding in the air,
Two loves free without a care,
Two parts of a loving whole,
Two hearts and a single soul.

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06 Oct 2016

Follow Your Heart

Chris & Gabriella by Will

“True love stands the test of time, distance, and absence, making it grow stronger. Difficult times only mean that love’s roots will grow deeper!” 

I don’t believe in love that hasn’t been tested. How can you trust love that hasn’t weathered through anything but the good? How would you know that it will last? How would you know if it’s even love at all and not a mere attraction or blind infatuation? Committing to love that hasn’t been tested yet is like baking a cake with a recipe that hasn’t been tried out yet. You’ll have no idea how it will turn out. 

I am in a long distance relationship. I have been for a few years now. I moved into the city a few years ago to pursue my studies then a career in photography, while my girlfriend stayed in our hometown. Although I’m relieved that we’ll finally end our long distance relationship journey when we marry, I’m glad that we actually did it, because I think loving from a distance is the perfect way to test trust between two persons and the relationship itself. I believe that when love has survived the distance, the absence, the time difference, and other forms of exams, then love is true. 

The test has not been easy on either of us. There were times when even technology couldn’t cure the lonely nights or straighten out a misunderstanding. There were times when our hearts were farther than the distance between us. However, we intentionally pulled ourselves closer before we could ever drift apart and we rooted our hearts into each others’ so that our love can grow deeper. Do I know how the rest of our lives are going to play out in the future? I don’t think anyone can say for certain. However, I’ve gotten a glimpse and I feel pretty good about it. Follow your heart… because when your heart is in it, no amount of distance or time or absence will ever break you. 

Trading stories with Chris and Gabrielle during our trip to Europe was really special. Chris met Gaby when he coached her basketball team back in middle school. They kept in touch and after getting together, a few years later, Gaby continued her studies in London while Chris stayed back in their hometown. They talked about long, winding, and bumpy roads and told me about how they’re so relieved to finally see a light at the end of their long distance relationship tunnel. Soon, they will be together and no distance will ever come between them again. 

Thanks for sharing your stories with me, Chris and Gaby, and congratulations on what’s ahead of you! 

 

Love, 

 

Will

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04 Oct 2016

Spot the dolphin!

Matthew & Olivia by Will

Have you ever seen a dolphin? If you have, you probably know what joyful and intelligent creatures they are. Even in captivity, they are endearing creatures that can bring our hearts closer to them just by watching them play. However, to see them, coincidentally, in the sea… now, that’s a special experience.  Sailors have long believed that dolphins sighting brings them good luck. These marine mammals are believed to be spiritual messengers from the sea. Well, call it a myth because it probably is, but after spotting a dolphin on the Amalfi Coast, I am slowly becoming a believer.  It was unintentional. We didn’t set off wanting to see dolphins. (That’s the reason why I don’t have any pictures of the dolphins. In case you want to scroll down this page, hoping to spot the dolphins, sorry to disappoint.) We were just on a yacht, getting ready to start our shoot, when we saw them. It was a rare moment. Even the captain said so.  We started the photo session with a lot of blunders. Starting with Matthew missing his flight from London to our car getting hit in Positano, just as we were leaving the hotel. Thank God, it wasn’t a serious accident and no one was hurt. However, it was definitely a downer. But seeing those dolphins, just dancing with playfulness and joy, even for a brief moment, I could feel the energy shift. Those few seconds made this trip really memorable.  Please browse through this pre-wedding album of Matthew and Olivia, taken in Paris and the Amalfi Coast of Italy. I hope you enjoy the pictures, even though there aren’t any dolphins in them.  Love,  Will

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22 Sep 2016

God’s hands

Albert & Vienna by Donny

I believe that all photo sessions need one thing in order to be successful: God’s hands.
I can already hear you snickering as you read this. I believe that you can plan all you want and the result can go completely the other way because you won’t have control over everything. However, when you surrender everything in God’s hands and let God take control, you will have peace over whatever result you receive at the end of the day.
I first met Albert and Vienna when Albert was about to propose to Vienna. They hired Sweet Escape to capture their moment and I was the photographer. Since we’ve met before (and I can only assume that they liked their pictures), they arranged for a pre-wedding photo session with a few months later. We had planned for a casual shoot with the best of Bali in the background. We had also hoped for cloudless and sunny sky. However, God obviously had other plans, because it rained hard that day and I was forced to rearrange our planning a couple of times to accommodate the weather. I almost felt slightly discouraged because we didn’t get to have that famous Bali shining rays in any of the pictures, but at the end of the day, I heard an exhale of relief escaping from Vienna. As she caught my eye and said, “Thank God it wasn’t so hot today. I can’t really handle the heat.”
Everything happens for a reason, my friends. And God knows the best. Even in the smallest little details, I believe that it happens within God’s plans for us. The entire shoot that day was a success because God’s hands was in it. I truly believe that.

Love,
Donny

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20 Sep 2016

Love Journey

Peter & Stefanie by Paulus

Every couple has their own unique story to tell. You do too, don’t you?

You can imagine how the story began. From the very first time you met your other half, finding common interests, the time when the sparks and butterfly started to tickle your stomach,the time when you introduce your other half to your parents and they welcome your other half happily, becoming a couple, accepting and respecting differences between you and your partner, perhaps even the taste of long distance relationship and then it comes, your wedding day.

That’s a journey. After all, every couple's journey is unique. The truth is not everybody will understand your journey and they don’t have to because the only thing that matters is you and your soulmate. 

Sometimes, people judge your relationship. “You guys don’t match, not harmonious, not made for each other” they said, but it all depends on how you run the relationship. The journey is a gift. It may be hard, tiring, exhausting and frustrating beyond belief. But at the end of the day, you will understand that every scenario you’ve gone through is about you and your spouse. It’s not about what other people think, their story, or their opinion. It is all about your journey.

Experience it. Be grateful for it.

Taking pre-wedding photos is a way to celebrate your love and share it with the world. Your photos will describe your love for each other in a romantic manner that will match your personalities. The photos can be taken from absolutely anywhere. After all, they are supposed to show your relationship and sum it up in a way words can’t. I’ve seen thousands of pre-wedding photo ideas and they all look amazing in their own unique and creative ways. 

How about your own love story? What if you can tell this love story to your future self 20 years later? Would you feel nostalgic and reminisce that sparkle of love when things are difficult in your marriage?

 

Cheers,

 

Paulus

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16 Sep 2016
All the way to the bottom already?