Photography made me appreciate life.

Alfred Tanuwidjaja
3 min readDec 8, 2020


What documentary-styled photography taught me.

“I learned all about life with a ball at my feet” — Ronaldinho

I learned all about life with my camera.
Doing what you love will make you a better person if you are aware of it.

Being a documentary-styled photographer taught me about appreciating the little things in life. Sometimes, we are too caught up chasing goals and money and we tend to leave out certain aspects of our lives which matters. If you pay close attention to your surroundings, you will start to see the stories the people. Live and learn from one another, always.

A photo I took in London

Here is a picture I took in London 2 years back and titled, “Tech-NO-logy.”
Sometimes, we glued ourselves to our mobile devices and we forget about the things that happen around us. In today’s day and age, the digital world is so influential that even little kids have Instagram or Facebook accounts of their own. I grew up in the 80s and back then, the best “digital” product that I owned was a pager. There weren’t many digital distractions — we played with sticks and stones, soccer with empty bottles and cans, writing love letters and folding them into paper planes… we look at the world with our eyes wide open. Sadly, this is becoming a rare sight.

Here is a photo I took in Santorini 2 years back titled, “Transatlanticism.”
In case you are wondering, Transatlanticism is song written and performed by the band, Death Cab for Cutie. As told by Ben Gibbard, the singer and songwriter of the band, “ The incomprehensible emotional gap between two lovers separated by comprehensible distances.” Whenever I look at this picture of mine, the feeling of missing someone far away hits me.
I have had long-distance relationships before… and sometimes, I stare out of my bedroom the window blankly, with hopes of her miraculously appearing before me. Man… I can still feel it in my bones.

A photo I took In Taipei

Here is another picture I took and titled, “Distractions.” I was walking the streets of Taipei with my client and we both decided to explore a night market. The place was filled with pop-up stores, food carts and very interesting hand-made crafts. I put my camera aside and started to indulge myself in everything that was happening around me. There was a family standing in front of me busy taking selfies. I saw this little boy being tugged around fiercely by his dad. I went closer and took the picture — I was sad. Everyone was so focused on taking Instagram stories, selfies and videos… no one was paying attention to the stores. We should all learn something from this little dude.

Today, I help my clients to tell their stories visually — I mostly document and capture the stories behind families and businesses. With this motion in play, I have learnt a lot from them. Stories are the ones which will move us… in turn, make you a better person.

With a camera in my hand… I learned all about my life.



Alfred Tanuwidjaja

Sharing my stories as a filmmaker and a musician