Berlin-based photographer Chris Abatzis shares a pre-corona photo essay from his archive that transports us to the luscious green landscapes and misty horizons of Bali and Lombok.
On the recommendation of close friends, Chris Abatzis travelled to Bali, Lombok, and some smaller surrounding islands for the first time in May 2018. “I wanted to go there to surf and experience solitude for the first time in my life,” says the Berlin-based photographer, adding that he was also aesthetically attracted to the area’s palm trees and luscious green, brown, and blue landscapes.
During the trip, Abatzis aimed to stay away from other people as much as possible, avoiding crowds of tourists and preferring to explore the islands by himself on a scooter. But he, and his camera lens, couldn’t help but be attracted to the “simplicity of life” and “the hospitable and charming nature,” of the locals he met along the way.
“I love going with the flow and taking chances when they come along.”
Ranging from fellow travellers to local fishermen, surfboard shapers to women transporting “impressive amounts” of palm leaves on their heads, the people that populate the Abatzis’ images are all caught mid-motion, going about their daily lives amidst their idyllic surroundings. Taken on drones, a GOpro, and a small fuji camera—“everything was light and compact, I try to avoid heavy gear as much as possible,”—the series has a spontaneous documentary feel. “Whenever I travel I try not to do too much research about the place. I prefer going with the flow and taking chances when they come along.”
Due to the coronavirus, Abatzis predicts that opportunities to travel for photography will be few and far between for the foreseeable future. For now he plans to camp in the German countryside rather than head further afield. This being said, he is keen to visit more countries like Bali that have “mind blowing nature” such as Japan, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands when travel restrictions are lifted.