Among of countless Instagram feeds laden with VSCO Cam and the over-stylized pictures, there’s always some users with their own distinct charms that makes us instantly hit the follow button, endlessly scrolling, and spending a nice few minutes to like every single photos in our screen. Surabaya born and Jakarta based Amanda Kusai is one of them. This young visual artist’s Instagram feeds is nothing but visual feast for the eyes with her signature sense of clean simplicity, subtle twist, irony, and a touch of plants here and there. Recently, she was participating on special project with hashtag #GeographyofYouth where she interviewing and taking photos of the millennial kids.
Hi Amanda, how are you? Where are you right now and what were you doing before answering this email?
Hello! I am better than ever, thank you! Right now I’m sitting in my new empty room that’s been mistakenly painted purple and pink instead of white. Before this color tragedy I was underwater swimming like a human dolphin with all the other exotic fishes and saw the most wonderful array of colors reflected and refracted from the corals and sunlight, but then I woke up.
Could you tell me a bit of yourself and your occupation?
In short, people know me by Amanda Kusai instead of Amanda Sutiono. Kusai was a name of a pink swirly poo looking toy I liked and was given, not long after, I retrieved the name thanks to a lovely bunch of people I call my best friends. Well at least it’s a pretty catchy name (I once burst out laughing when a company I applied work for, addressed me as Kusai when I clearly wrote my formal name on my CV and cover letter). I moved quite a lot in the 20 or so years that I’ve lived it’s always exciting but I dream to settle down one day. I am self employed with my best buddy Axel Oswith, we partnered up to run a creative culture hub called The Taable, specializing in art direction + photography, we’ve only just started less than a year ago so wish us luck!
To be completely honest I don’t really classify myself as being too serious, I believe it’s important to be flexible but stubborn in what you believe in. I grew up getting used to photography as a medium to express, explore and to document like a visual diary, and photography has been one of the tool to realize these ideas into actual visual forms that I can share with others to enjoy. Throughout high school I took business and art as my majors and now I already graduated.
What kind of camera you usually use?
I like going light so I just use my iPhone it does the job simply and seamlessly, unless of course it’s for work I use a full-frame DSLR so that I can have more control over post-production. Leisurely, I use my film cameras, the canon ae1 and rolleiflex.
Geography of youth is an art project (founded by Alan and Morrigan) exploring the millennial generation and how we can relate to each other as youths around the world. I actually have no idea why they pick me but one day I got an email request to be one of the contributors for this project, I’m just grateful for this chance to contribute along with other photographers from Kenya, England, South Korea and Turkey (I have not personally met them). I am also especially grateful that my friend Axel Oswith is supporting me with this project.
Is there any certain quality you looking for from the subject of your photos?
Quirkiness and personality.
What does its mean for yourself to be the part of the millennial?
I believe being a part of the millennial generation is a step of transition from old customs to new; we are the generation that believes in no limitation to our dreams in search for the best.
What else you’re doing beside photography?
Surviving life in general and helping my mother with her floral business.
Next or other projects?
Planning to formally launch our company: The Taable by the end of this year, and perhaps a visual project that has something to do with moving images.
Follow her on Instagram: @amandakusai