Tell us about the location in the photos.
Indonesia is by far one of the most diverse and incredible places on Earth. You could spend a year moving across the various islands exploring the jungle, taking in the culture, island hopping, trekking and diving. I’ve been lucky enough to scratch the surface on a couple trips. Most places in Asia are part of a well beaten path of backpackers and other travelers. Java is different. We brought our tent and camped for most of our trip. You can set up camp anywhere without having to pay a penny.
Java isn’t for the faint of heart. We took public busses, trains, boats, and even motorcycle taxis to every destination. Some of those bus rides lasted over 18 hours over bowling ball sized potholes, full of the local people, live chickens, and other animals. They let on musicians at every stop who perform for the passengers for change and were dropped off at the next bus stop. If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, you can hop on a tourist bus with a bunch of other western visitors with air conditioning and heat and it stops at nicer hotels but you’re going to miss that cultural experience you get with the locals and it’s a lot pricier. Keeping it cheap pays off.
The highlights of my trip were Kawah Ijen and waking at 4am to hike to a lake of fire nestled in a crater spewing sulphur into the air and watching miners carry more than a hundred lbs of sulphur back down the mountain, Mt Bromo where I camped overlooking a lunar landscape of volcanic ash and smoke and Ujung Kulon a coastal jungle, where I spent my nights sipping coconut juice camped on the beach, and my days hiking through the jungle.
If you have time, pop over to the island of Lombok and hike Mt Rinjani. It looks amazing.
How did you get started in photography?
I moved abroad for more than four years and taught English. I bought a camera with my first paycheck. I became obsessed and documented all of the trips I took around Asia.
Does anything in particular influence your photography style?
Films and TV are huge influences. Bladerunner, Badlands, Top Of The Lake, There Will Be Blood, and Royal Tenenbaums are huge influences. Some photographers I follow are Luke Byrne, Reuben Wu, Ryan McGinley, Ryan Kenny, David Boyson Cooper, Ana Cabaleiro, Neil Krug, Stephen Shore, Jeff Luker and Magdalena Wosinska.
What photography gear do you use?
Canon 5D Mkii
Some cheap Polaroid cameras
Are there any products you swear by?
I’ve used my iPhone to navigate my way around some insanely remote places. My friends at Mission Workshop make a mean backpack. I use my Arkiv everywhere I go.
What is your dream adventure photography location?
There are so many. I’d love to really explore Antarctica more than anything. I spent a year in South Korea. I always wanted to visit North Korea but Americans were banned while I was there and tensions were running high. Mongolia is a place I’ve wanted to go for years, Pakistan, and Maybe do a Nile trip all the way down Africa. I’m barely scratching the surface.
Name Matt Lief Anderson
Location Chicago, IL
Featured In Issue Eight - December 2014
Gear & Equipment Cameras: Mamiya RZ67, Canon 5D Mkii, Contax G2, Yashica t5, iPhone 5, Canon F-1, cheap Polaroid cameras
Websites Website, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook
Chosen By Tommy Wooh