Photographer Spotlight Monday: Elizabeth Wirija


PSMName: Elizabeth ‘Eli’ Wirija

Where are you from: Born and raised in Indonesia
Current Area of Residence: New York
Instagram: @yungwolftown
TOAN: Do you have a focus on one specific area of photography, i.e.: fashion, landscape, portraiture, events, etc? If so, which?
Elizabeth Wirija: I have no focus, I think great photographers are adaptable. Put me in any situation and I’ll make the best work that I can possibly create. I try not to limit myself because I believe all limitations generally are self-imposed. However, I’ve done landscapes, portraitures, concerts, journalistic approaches, and street wear in terms of fashion. I enjoy switching lanes often because it forces me to advance in every focus instead of remaining comfortable in a specific niche.
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What are your thoughts on saturation in the photography industry due to social media?
EW: It’s great that kids are finding their passion in photography instead of doing dumb shit that is not creative in any shape or form. More people are starting to unleash and understand the meaning of visual creation. Social media started a generation of visual storytellers. I, however, do not condone following a social cue of hype just because it’s the cool thing to do. At the end of the day, it’s all about intention. I don’t see the saturation as competition, because to stand out- you need to be yourself and even though that sounds simple- it seems to be the hardest thing to do. Everyone is just an embodiment of someone else. There is sort of a natural selection in terms of who makes it and who doesn’t, it’s the ones that are unafraid to show how they see the world.
TOAN: Because of its origin and some specific knowledge of settings, numbers and so forth, do you consider photography an art, science, or skill/talent?
EW: Photography is what you want it to be. Being well-versed in the technicals is just the foundation, after that- it’s an individual’s creative license. It is simply a form of expression. I have a love/hate relationship with the word talent, on one hand, I understand what people mean when they use it as a compliment but on the other, it devalues the time & hard work put into the craft to achieve a level of excellence. I was taught that to be great, you need to hustle and practice everyday. Photography is all of the above.
TOAN: How did you decide on photography as something to commit your time to?
EW: I think for me it was just the pure fun of exploring the world and capturing moments. After I realize that I was loving the process of creating photographs, I decided to spend more time on it. There wasn’t one exact trigger moment but just a compilation of enjoying life and showing it through my pictures.
TOAN: What do you imagine to be doing with photography in 6 months? 5 years?
EW: In 6 months, I want to be better than I am right now. Ultimately, I would like to work with big brands to execute projects because they believe in my vision. Another one is to travel the world and take photographs of the places I go and people I meet.