Rainy Siagian

Brussels, Belgium

Rainy Siagian (1994, BE), is a Belgian based photographer. Her work deeply reflects on life as a natural process of change by constantly researching and exploring in every direction. Inspired by the off-grid and isolation, she aimed to focus on visual storytelling to get as close as possible to her subject.

www.rainysiagian.com / @rainysiagian

What inspired you to create ‘Birdwatching and Silver Sunbeam’ ?

It was simply Iceland itself. I went there for the first time seven months before I started the series. While road tripping across the island with my friends at that time, I felt the urge to make a project there and decided to come back. I still keep returning to Iceland somehow.
As usual, I work around a title when I start a new project. It gives me a kind of direction in what I want to tell with my photographs.

From there, one thing leads to another, and eventually everything falls into place. The title and the work itself develops over time. It grows and changes. The same process happened when I started this body of work. I was staying in Hrísey, a small island that lies out in the middle of the North Fjords.

Many times I found myself wandering around the island after midnight thinking of a title. Soon, I realized that the landscape was the most powerful living thing there. It became unavoidable; with the constantly changing light and panoramic scene that shifted by the second. The land inserted itself into the work and pushed into a leading role.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Indonesia and moved to Belgium at a young age. In both countries, I have lived in the city. Despite this, it has always been nature to which I belong most. In fact, it was (and still is) my childhood dream to live off the beaten path, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls.

How do you connect with your subjects? What aids you in getting what you want out of a photo?

I usually stay in one place for a long period of time, to make a certain connection and to understand my subject. But, at the same time, I also keep a certain distance. It is part of my personality.

This amount of distance is always something that intrigues me, and the medium of photography allows me to move away from this distance. To me it’s all about trying to figure out how to use photography in telling stories. It’s something I’m fascinated with. I only take pictures that I want to see and be moved by, and whatever the subject is, it becomes personal and inward.

When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you?

The essentials only: my camera, a pocket knife, books, and occasionally a voice recorder.

What is the most difficult and the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?

Most of the time, I find myself battling to get out of my comfort zone. Photography helps me move through this. I guess it works a bit like therapy, where you lose your fear by doing something even scarier.

Do you have any projects lined up in the future as a photographer?

Definitely. Without giving too much away yet, I am actually starting a long-term project that
is broader than photography itself, but still related to and informed by it. And, it will also to take place in Iceland (at least for the beginning). Very excited to see how it will all develop.

Where can we find your work online?

www.rainysiagian.com / @rainysiagian