Bob Matkodak lives in Tembilahan, Indragiri Hilir, Riau, Indonesia who never had any special education on photography. He had a childhood dream of becoming a painter, but it never happened because his parents did not want him to be an artist. As time went by, in his teens, he became interested in seeing photographs, especially black and white. He learned to take pictures in 1990, from his friend's brother. He still remembers how, only for an hour, he was introduced to and taught about ISO, Diaphragm and Shutter Speed. After that, he studied himself. He always loved to photograph people, capture a real moment, not concept photos. He wants to work honestly until the end of life. For him, the eye is the window of the soul.
Tell us about your photography.
I am a professional photographer. Whenever the phone rings, I am on my toes to fulfil my client's desire. It ranges from wedding photography to newborn and even shooting funeral procession. Given a single opportunity, I will not do wedding photography and likes. I will listen to my heart's call, and not run to shoot a funeral. Right now, I have no option to run the family and make a good living for my wife and my son.
What do you like to photograph the most?
I once dreamed of getting an offer to accompany an archaeologist as a photographer. I love to wander, but the dream never came true. I've also been hoping that someday I will become a war photographer; never to be true. Those are the two most powerful wishes that I believe can make me happy. But God wanted something else, and I must obey God's will.
Which gear/camera do you use?
The first digital camera I used in 2006 was Canon EOS 30D with standard lens 18-55 mm. A year later I got Canon EOS 40 D with 17-40 mm lens. Then in 2010 I was lent a Canon Eos 5D Mark II with a Canon lens 70-200 mm by a merciful merchant. Lastly in 2016, I was given a camera by a good friend - a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 85 mm Canon lens. Now I use EOS 5D Mark III and only 2 lenses, 17-40 mm and 85 mm lens.
Tell us more about your views toward modern photography.
About modern photography, I really do not know what to say. To me, black and white photographs can touch my soul more than color photos. I do not understand all terms of modern photography as I said before, that I never had a formal training. I wish I got a chance. I am trying to give my best to what I do and I think the genre of photography I do has been there since the beginning and will stay.
How do you think photography can create impact on the society?
Oh... really very positive. Let me tell you, this day, when I'm writing this, there were visitors from France who have never been to Indonesia before. They got to know about Duanu tribe in Bekawan Village in Indonesia, seeing my photographs. They are now willing to cross almost half the world and to help the poor here. I am grateful to ALLAH. These two generous people will help Duanu community, the children who are not going to school and the needy fishermen also. It's all because of the photos that spoke for these people of my locality. Really, a photo can be meaningful and convey the message without words. You know what she said to me when I talked this afternoon? They will be going to India in February, because they saw a photo, for the same purpose - helping the poor, trying to make those happy who have been helpless.
What is your dream as a photographer?
If you ask me what my dream is, I prayed to GOD that one of my photographs will be remembered all the time, even after I die; that the art never dies, even though the person is gone, because to me the eye is the window of the soul, whereas the soul is something that is timeless.