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A Photographer’s Right : To Have A Great Photo Editor

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As much as you cant choose your parents, for a beginner in photojournalism, you cant choose your photo editor either. Sadly, it’s always the other way around, where they pick you to be in their team — or NOT. And when you get one good photo editor in the early years of your work as a photojournalist, consider yourself lucky.

I am very lucky – well.. was. Mine was great.

Though my first start in photojournalism was in Antara Photo Bureau Agency, the first photo editor that helps me in building my body of work would be in Tempo News Room (the department in TEMPO provides images for its publications, such as newspaper and magazines). He gave me all the dos and donts in a funny yet sometimes harsh way. He treated his photographers all the same. So, am quite lucky to never have any gender issue in my working environment.

His only demand was for us to work the best way that we can, and leave all the fuss in dealing with other editors, to him. Because in newspaper, the one who determines which pictures get published, partly would be in the hands of the editors managing each compartment. He was more like our agent. And he was a good one!

If the pictures we produced that day were terrible, he’d treat them like trash. The idea to maintain very high standards for ourselves, above editors and peers, applied before we gave our work of the day to be reviewed.

In the early weeks of my work, he told me that my pictures don’t have what it takes to even close to the term “good enough”. But he also said, that i have something that my colleagues don’t. I have a better sense of news. But it’s not good enough if i want to be at least, a good enough photojournalist. So i have to work harder, and he made sure that i did.

The way he did it, not always frustrating. He knows how to treat human like humans. He praised every time we deserve it, and made us the joke of the day when we screwed up. It was fair.

But one important factor that made us respect him was the fact that he was – and still – one of the best photographer in Indonesia. To know that your photo editor knows what a good photo actually is, can give you a relief. Knowing that you and your work is in good hand.

He’s charming as a person, but i wont suggest you to look at him. It’s obviously not the look that makes his charm (HAHAHAHAHA.. I cant possibly missed this opportunity!). And his works are cool. He managed to think a step further than others in terms of work. As a photographer and editor altogether.

Yes, i adores him as much as i hate the fact that his ideas are often brilliant and makes me say, “damn, why didn’t i think of that!”. His name is Hariyanto, and he was my photo editor in Tempo News Room for only two years. But it was the best two years ever.. since everything seems to get darker in Tempo ever since he left.. ;p

He is now a photo editor in Media Indonesia, also one of the leading (but still behind Kompas, Jawapos and Tempo.. haha) media industry in Indonesia. He recently won Mochtar Lubis award for his essay pictures, “Miserable Trip in Sidoarjo” about commemorating four years of endless mud flood in eastern part of Java Indonesia. He earned 2500 USD for it. Not bad laa.. Just to keep us in mind that he still have what it takes to be one of the best photographer in Indonesia. One from so many others.

I’d like to take this post as a single opportunity (not sure i want to repeat this kind of appraisal in the future, that would be too much even for him) to thank him, for in a way never believe in me and supporting me all at once. I can only try to be better. Because I have earned the rights to have a great photo editor and i’ll make the best of it to not disappoint him and everything he taught me. 🙂 Terima kasih mas Hary..


Written by nickmatulhuda

August 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm

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