By likemindblog

jJOE-IMG_4592_pspt home

JOE SAMPOUW, a most charming young man better known as JOE ROCK  on Facebook.  Joe  is Indonesian,  born in Makassar, South Celeles.  He lives in Jakarta and works as a jingle maker.  “I started my photography journey about 20 years back. I had won a local student photo competition back then…:-)  Then I studied psychology at the University of Indonesia, and completely forgot about photography.

I started my digital photography endeavor again back in 2008 with a point and shoot camera. And bought my first DSLR in 2009.  Now  every Monday, I guide high school students extracurricular activities: Photography, in a Budi Luhur high school.   I consider my self as a ‘facebook photographer’.

This being said, when you see this brilliant artist’s work, I have no doubt you will agree that he is much more than a “facebook photographer” as he so humbly puts it!

Joe, welcome and thank you so much for participating in this project with me.  Your work isJOE IMG_0391 incredible and I feel honoured to share your article and your genius with all.  I sincerely appreciate you answering the following questions:

No. 1) What is art to art to and for you generally and personally? And more specifically the art of photography in your case?

 Art is a mind effort.  Let me put it this way: I have around 100 man made items on my desk right now, (yes it’s a mess…) and not a single item that is without a touch of an aesthetics taste. Every mind who had to work with the designs intended to communicate something, such as a feeling of ‘nice to see’ and ‘beauty’ or other feelings, to make it more suitable and/or acceptable.

So, TO me, art is a human mind effort to touch and get connected to other people’s mind. Sort of a communication effort on a subconscious level.  And, FOR me, art is a set of guidance. My guide in working as a studio musician/ music director and as a photo enthusiast.  It does sound a little bit weird; how can ‘a mind effort’ be my ‘guide’…?  ‘An effort’ will put things into perspective, because the result can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to others.

JOE IMG_3328-1I have to accept the fact that it is ‘an effort’, because it is a pretty damn hard to touch all minds the way I intended it to be touched… it is impossible to make ‘everybody accepting my work as a beautiful piece of work’ every time…

In my worst case scenario, realizing that it is ‘an effort’ that makes me able to say: “Ok, no problem… I’ll touch you next time…”  And that is good for my psychological well being…:-)

 No. 2) What inspires you?

 In general, mostly past experiences… not necessarily mine alone. Also other’s experiences that I happened to have recorded in mind.  Every story; happy, sad, fun, funny, weird… Music and movies included.  It all represented as a certain ‘feel’ in my mind.

 So, every time I’m standing with my camera at any place, my mind’s eye tries to find scenes that fit to those many ‘feel’.  And it’s such a joyous feeling when I find one scene that fits…

No. 3) When you are creating, or maybe I should say composing, where does it take you? Where does your mind travel?

When taking pictures, I believe, a matching process happens between somethings inside meJOE IMG_4106_pspt (the feel, the sense, the taste, etc.) and things outside (the story, the moment, the variety of objects, the lighting, the ambiance, etc.)   So, it’s a personal quest to me.

I worked in the music field for quite sometimes. And, in a significant degree, it is an ‘audience oriented’ field of work.  So when doing photos, some part of me is trying to communicate with the ‘viewer’. I keep  thinking of the viewer’s acceptance of the photo. It’s always nice to imagine great acceptance…:-)

 Another part of my mind is working on the ‘technical’ aspect of the photo that can support that certain ‘feel’; where the light source is, presuming the next move of the subject, where to put the object inside the frame, what is the proper speed and aperture, if the focusing is ‘right’, should I use the flash, should this be in BW, will  photoshop  be needed on this shot, etc…   So I don’t thing my mind travels far at this stage.

In post processing, sometimes, only sometimes, my mind travels further into the surrealistic realm, or dives deep into a certain specific mood, to find levels that fit for the result photo.   

No. 4) Why did you choose photography versus another form of art?

JOE IMG_9428_psptI love to start any work with imagining related things… In photography, I often imagine the final results… and the response of the viewer… doing some self communication.

 I also love graphical beauty in a wider sense… And that is my aim in every photo that I released.  I am a ‘technical’ guy… I like working with the ‘exact’… and photography is a technical rich activity.  And I believe that I need to work alone, sometimes… A time for myself…:-)  To be able to do all these things all together, is priceless…:-)  And that’s why I do photography.

No. 5) Would you say the art of photography and health are related and if so, how?

I never thought of it that way, but I’d like to believe it is so.  It’s just like music. Many research shows that music helps; and just like any form of art.  The keywords are ‘to feel good’.  Seeing a subjectively good photo can make us feel good.  Let our imagination free at some level. Put a smile on our faces. Do some make believe mind games.

And more, if a photograph touches the mind, not just our sense of sight, many positive things can happen psychologically. 

No. 6) Do you identify with your subject, and if so, on what level?JOE IMG_8732

On some shots, I believe this is playing an important role.  Starting with finding the scene, comprehending the story, to taking the picture, all through to the post processing, until I get the ’emotionally fit’ final results.  Mostly empathy, but sometimes sympathy. Some subjects literally made me laugh… some even made me cry.

No. 7) Under what conditions do you do your best work?

I have to evaluate my photos and my photo activities to answer this.  Let me give you a brief broader description on my photography works.  I never leave home without my camera. I shoot anything, anywhere, at any time possible.  Then I transfer all the photo files to my computer, while picking my favourite photos.  Afterward, is the post-processing. At this stage I work introvertly until I reach something that can emphasize some aspects of the photo. If after some times I still cannot ‘find’ what I’m looking for, I leave the photo. It can be months till I give it another try.

And I came to the conclusion that the condition is often when I am under a lot of pressure. When my mind focuses on a problem, I tend to forget anything else. And maybe working on photos balances my mind back to ‘normal’…:-)

JOE IMG_7168No. 8) Does photography help you connect with your higher self, whatever that is for you?

One thing for sure is that photography helps me to know myself better. After looking at all of my personal favourite photos, which all of the objects/subjects are outside of me, I’m able to identify things inside of me, like feelings, moods, emotional states, aesthetical taste, and some personal preferences.

No. 9) How do you feel about creativity in the public school system?

In Indonesia, the concept is already there, but the implementation is not a very successful story.  Generally speaking, I believe that a creative person is nurtured mostly outside the school. 

No. 10) In your opinion, what could be a simple solution to improve creativity in the public school system?

This maybe sound weird, but just do not score learning achievements till the 4th grade.  TheJOE IMG_5754_pspt scoring system is basically a comparison tools between a children to his/her peers. Each child is unique. What parents and teachers need to do is recognize basic general potentials, and nurture them.

Change homework with creative play and  fun individual assignments that ignite curiosity and problem solving of daily problems.  I fully realize that there is no single effort that can lead to a major change in better public education. Bu let just start with that, and progressive adjustment will follow…

No. 11) Through your form of art, what are you hoping to convey (teach, show, inspire) to the onlooker?

I want the onlooker to be able to relate first. I want them to see a decent two dimensional image.  Then, I want them to see the inner ‘beauty’ that I see, the way I see it…   

I never intended to inspire or teach something. But if they get inspired, or maybe can learn one or two things from my photo, it is a super bonus for me.

JOE IMG_2536_3_hhJoe, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us in this most enlightening article.  I has been a realy pleasure doing this with you and until our paths cross again, my friend, I wish you well in all your undertakings.  Be blessed!


You are cordially invited to visit Joe’s link below and see more of his extraordinary work.  Your comments are sincerely appreciated, thank you and enjoy!

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Filed in: ART • Saturday, September 3rd, 2011


Great eye…great pictures…your article was interesting opening new thoughts and ways of looking at photography…. Thank you..Cecelia


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours