Indonesian photographer Fauzan Ijazah began from humble beginnings but has established himself as one of the country's top storytellers. His work has appeared in many publications, from The New York Times, to the BBC and Guardian, STERN and more.
Here he talks about his first photographic inspirations—
BtF: How did you begin your work in photography? Was there a "decisive moment" when you knew it was a special medium for you, when you felt truly committed to it?
FI: I've always been interested in photography, but the tsunami that devastated my hometown—Banda Aceh, Indonesia—became my decisive moment to pursue a career as a professional photographer.
The horrendous impact of the tsunami moved me to help my communities by telling their story through photographs. The powerful pictures that many journalists produced played a key role in bringing relief and aid from around the world to support Aceh's rehabilitation and reconstruction. So from there, I was inspired to do my part both locally and further afield.
BtF: When you were beginning photography, were there any people, artists, books, films that served as essential inspirations? How about now—any sources of creativity you discovered recently that give you that jolt of "beginner's" passion?
FI: I don't have any particular idols as my inspirations. Rather, the Internet has been a major source for me to draw from. It fills me with ideas of trends, issues, styles which I then use to develop my own direction.
BtF: Henri Cartier-Bresson famously said, "Your first 10,000 shots are your worst." Can you share a humbling moment that happened to you recently with regards to your photography? A moment when you realized, like all of us, that there's always much more to learn?
FI: As a documentary photographer, I travel to many, many different places. Meeting new people, experiencing foreign cultures, facing challenging living conditions...all of these have taught me to be adaptable and to interact, empathize and improvise in any situation in order to create great work.