Visual Authorship and Intentionality

Denty Piawai Nastitie
5 min readJun 1, 2020

There are two things that usually makes me interested in the work photography. Firstly, it is related to the theme of the work. Secondly, it is related to the genre. My first interest in photography all started when I read National Geographic magazines and travel books — back in my childhood time. This encouraged me to learned photography and write travel features. As time went by, I understand that travel photography is not only about to the landscape images, but also people and culture. As a journalist, documentary images and hard-news became something that I generally see in my daily basis. Below are some pictures that I made a reference. :)

Photograph by Kevin Frayer

A visual perspective on Rohingya children who are affected by mass migration in Bangladesh is presented in the picture. A photo about a boy who cries when he rides on a truck that distributes logistic is not only informative but also full of emotions. Technically, the picture is also very interesting because our eyes are directly go to the boy and look at his tears.

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz

In this comparatively simple portrait, Leibovitz relies on intimacy for effect. Her aim was to immortalise John and Yoko’s deep love for one another. Within hours of taking this photograph John Lennon was shot dead. It became a memorial to Lennon and a symbol of the vulnerability of human passion. Every time talk about portrait photography, Leibovitz’s picture always comes to my mind because it shows intimacy, characters depth, and natural interaction. Looking thic picture makes the audiences somehow can understand John’s feelings and thinkings.

Photograph by Julian Sihombing

Julian Sihombing’s picture is a part of important history in Indonesiae. It was taken during students protest in 1998. The picture shows an image of Trisakti student who was lying in a clash between officers and students. Once the image was published in the front page of Kompas newspaper, it made students had more eagerness to voice Indonesia’s reform. Towards this photograph, Sihombing told us that photography is not only taking pictures, but also it needs experiences and practices so that photographers are able to see a decisive moment when they are working in the field.

Photograph by Steve McCurry

Photographer Steve McCurry is best known for his evocative use of colour. He document both human struggles and joy. This picture is about Padaung women, who wear rings around their necks.

Photograph by Paul Reiffer

This picture was taken in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. This picture is one of National Geographic’s Greatest Landscapes. This picture drives people to go to NZ to capture the tree and see the lake transitions color from winter to spring.

Photograph by Cameron Spencer

The fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, giving a smile while he once again storms ahead his opponents at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This picture become one of the most influental images of 2016 from the field of sports photography. The picture itself became a permanent part of the popular culture in its own way. I had experience in covering sports and I felt the challenge of shooting in the limited space. Therefore, to take a unique photo that is different from other photojournalist is such an achievement!

Photograph by Sunny Bhope | Avery Jackson | Fang Wang

This story appears in the January 2017 of National Geographic Geographic magazine. I saw this photo while doing research on gender identity. This photo makes ordinary people understand the issue better. I believe NG did a lot of research to be able to get an interesting subject of pictures.

Photograph by Robin Hammond

National Geographic has published an issue exploring the subject of race in the April 2018 edition. The Race Issue, features a pair of black and white fraternal twin sisters from the United Kingdom, Marcia and Millie Biggs, on the cover. The Race Issue discussed the latest research, powerful anecdotes and unparalleled visual storytelling to explore the human journey through the lens of labels that define, separate and unite us. I am impressed with this edition because it makes me reflect the environment in which I grew up — which then also always be the basis for me to take pictures or write.

Photography by Aji Styawan

A resident of Demak district in central Java makes his way through the inundated streets of his village. Aji Styawan won Getty Images Visual Photography Grant. His story captured the impact of rising sea levels in Indonesia and the resilience with which communities have responded.

Photograph by Nilufer Demir

Alan Kurdi is one of a million people who fled Syria because of the conflict that happened his home country. Alan Kurdi and his family were about to leave for Canada when the rubber boat he was on sank. He, his older brother and mother, drowned and became part of thousands of other refugees who died in the eastern Mediterranean. This photo is included in the 100 most influential photos in the world mentioned by Time magazine.