30 Jan Not Your Average Postcard | Curious Details of Southeast Asia captured by Tao Farren-Hefer
Trust photographer Tao Farren-Hefer to turn visa troubles into art. While shooting and editing on contract in Bangkok, Thailand last year, Tao had to leave the country once a month in order to renew his visa. These monthly missions turned out to be blessings in disguise when Tao decided to pack his camera. He captured moments of his travels in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, and what started out as an unplanned project, resulted in a successful series of images.
Tao, a surfer and lover of the ocean, is inspired by and often photographs this favourite place of his. Last year, Tao produced compelling film photographs of Cape Town’s beaches and surrounds in an exclusive photo essay for Between 10and5. The ocean naturally features in his latest work, but images of people, peculiar details and the overlapping of urban and natural environments also form part of this curious collection.
Even with their bright colours and exotic setting, Tao’s images do not in the least resemble idealized post cards or holiday snapshots. His often-unconventional point of view takes us on the back roads of these idyllic destinations and shows us some genuine (and sometimes even dystopic) scenes.
Tao, who shoots predominantly in film, had the following to say about his process:
I find most photographers are obsessed with gear and it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking a lot of gear and over-analysing every possible shot, so I decided to challenge myself, only taking along a 35mm film camera, a 50mm lens and several rolls of film. Not having as many options as usual, I was allowed to enjoy my surroundings, experiencing the travel more thoroughly.
Tao graduated from AFDA in 2013 with the Best Cinematography award. With his filmmaking and photography background, his future plans include heading up the film and photography department at Solar Station Design (a creative design company that focuses on the international action sports industry), starting a personal documentary project and squeezing in collaborations and other freelance work in the fashion industry.