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Capturing the Humanity of Moments with Joshua Buana

In conversation with photographer Joshua Alpha Buana, whose clicks are an ultimate getaway to the world of photography; a perfect blend of cultures, emotions, and creativity.

Photography can be a complex process, but with a powerful vision, one can seize the heart and gist of any image!

We had the privilege to interview Joshua Buana, who is a graphic designer by profession and a photographer by passion. Read through our conversation as we talk about the power of photographs, the art of clicking the right image, and the pressing need for patience and practice to ace the skill.

Seizing the Fleeting Moments

Joshua Buana found the ladder to his creative expression through photography. He told Brown, “Everyone needs a hobby, and I found the love for expressing my aesthetic sense through the medium of photography.” Buana has been capturing human interest and street photographs since 2014. He loves to tell stories through his photographs and usually wanders around to find interesting people to frame them in his artistic clicks. Buana observes the culture and environment of his subjects and implements them as the backdrop for the story that he’s trying to convey.

“Capturing the true spirit of people is not easy.”says Joshua Buana

In order to take powerful images, a photographer needs to establish a strong connection. Smiling is such a universal language, Joshua explains – “Every click with strangers or new people could bring new challenges, especially on the streets. Some people are comfortable in front of a camera, while some just take a little time to open up. You need to get closer, as well as have conversations, to get a strong click.” 

Image Source: Portrait of a sadhu praying by the river Ganga in Varanasi, India, photographed by Joshua Buana

He further added that the centre of attention should be the subject, but with enough environmental context, that tells further about your subject and their life. The shutterbug explained that the most common mistake photographers make is that they are not really close enough to their subjects as they should be. For all the photography newbies reading this interview, you’ll want to note this point down!

Unifying Frontiers Through Art

Joshua’s Instagram is a catalogue of breathtaking clicks. From the sadhus of Varanasi, India to portraits of local workers picking and drying red chillies on a field in Magwe, Myanmar; he loves to capture people and their cultures.

In order to capture breathtaking images, Joshua has had to travel a lot. He usually reads about the history of the interesting places he desires to explore – “Reading its local heritage and stories, researching about festivals, celebrations, and cultural events is a must.” Travel photography, being one of his current favourites, he added – “Travel photography offers so many possibilities to express creativity and a sheer variety of ways to capture an image.”

Image Source: A sadhu in Varanasi, India, photographed by Joshua Buana

We asked him if there was a specific reason he gravitated towards these places in particular. He explained how these countries are heavenly with a wild and magnificent atmosphere. “Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, in particular, have ancient histories, old architecture, rich traditions and cultures, and I really feel that these aspects make them a perfect travel photography destination.”

“I love to articulate the harmony between humanity, cultures and architecture.”says Joshua Buana

The photographer has been to India several times since 2014 and wishes to explore the southern part of the country, with places like Kerala and Tamil Nadu being at the top of his to-visit list. He told Brown that he wishes to explore the rich and colourful traditions, cultures, and ancient temples of the South.

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Being a graphic designer by profession, Joshua blends the principles of design with his photographs. According to him, elements like light, shadow, contrast, balance, and the rule of thirds can normally be used together to create excellent photographs.

Joshua uses a 28mm lens for environmental portraits and street photography, and a 50mm lens for close-up portraits. The Leica Q and Leica M240 are his go-to cameras. Though he has also worked with Canon 5D, Fujifilm X-Series, the Olympus OM-D and so on, the magnificent quality and simplicity of the Leica system is something he looks up to!

Image Source: Vietnamese women weaving fishing nets in Phan Rang city of Vietnam, photographed by Joshua Buana

Social media is a powerful tool to showcase one’s talents and Joshua couldn’t agree more. We asked him if the platforms have proven to be favourable in sharing his photographs and getting extensive exposure. In line with that, he told us how social media helps him portray his artwork to the world. “Good content needs to be visible and social media has been a useful asset in showcasing and spreading the message I wish to put out.”

Buana believes that images have the potential to transform lives by generating a positive impact in the world and how remarkable it is that a single image can inspire and change someone’s views. The photographer tries to show people the emotions and spirits in his photographs, and how he himself perceives the world through his artwork.

“Photography is an amazing way to see the world around you, and express yourself.”says Joshua Buana

Joshua ended the interview with a valuable piece of advice for aspiring photographers – “With anything that’s new to you, you’ll need to show utmost patience. It’s true that some people will have a natural eye for photography, but the fact that they won’t succeed without patience and practice is also very true.”

Here’s some of Joshua’s best works, an ultimate visual experience that will make you fall in love with the art of photography:

Image: A young monk walking through the corridors of Hsinbyume Pagoda, Mingun in Myanmar, captured by Joshua Buana
Image: The young monks of Myanmar, Old Bagan and Yangon, captured by Joshua Buana
Image: Thousands of Muslims gather in prayers on the train at Bishwa Ijtema festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh, captured by Joshua Buana
Image: The Sadhus of Varanasi, captured by Joshua Buana
Image: A young monk worshipping Lord Buddha, Myanmar, captured by Joshua Buana
Image: The sadhus of Varanasi, captured by Joshua Buana

As Dorothea Lange says, “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

Art needs to provoke feelings and thoughts within us. It needs to question our beliefs. Joshua Buana’s work rightly ticks all the boxes! A glimpse of the unknown reality; an escape into the world where pictures speak for themselves; a moment that we can revive and cherish, even if it’s for the 100th time!

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Written By

I love to bring out extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Also, have a knack for sarcasm and a sucker for travel and food big time!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Visual Cult Magazine

    October 1, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Awesome read! Love seeing the work captured by Joshua.

    -Edward Leon

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