An ode to family and community, Farid Renais Ghimas’ series depicts the act of return

Let Farid Renais Ghimas’ beautiful photo series transport you to the beaches, porches and football pitches of his Indonesian birthplace.

3 April 2023

It’s rare for a photo series to be so persuasive in its beauty that viewing it makes you feel like you travelled to its location. But this is exactly the case for Farid Renais Ghimas’ series Angan-Angan Harsa. In the project, viewers will notice a game of nighttime football being played on a beach enveloped in deep blue skies, a family coming together in a bustling porch, and bystanders taking photos of a passing festival, bathed in late-afternoon sun. The photographer captures everyday scenes and the precious moments in time which seamlessly create a picture of his Indonesian birthplace, Bengkulu.

Now based in London, the photographer moved to the UK in 2018 to pursue a degree in fashion photography at Leeds Arts University, before moving to London in 2021 to study fashion communication. Taken between July and August of 2022, the Angan-Angan series features Farid’s family, friends and people from the local community. The project began after Farid tapped into his desire to share details of his home country. He expands: “I think it comes naturally for me to make work about something that is part of me – I have agency over that.”

Although Farid returns to Bengkulu annually with his family, looking back to the early days of Angan-Angan, he recalls how “challenging” the project initially felt. “My family didn’t really understand what I was doing, and I was too scared to ask the people there to take their portraits,” he says. But, as time went on, Farid gradually felt things getting easier: “I just found this joy of going out with my camera every day, visiting my family’s homes, and meeting people in the region.”


Farid Renais Ghimas: Angan-Angan (Copyright © Farid Renais Ghimas, 2022)

One of the ways Farid combated these initial issues was focusing heavily on his relationship with the people he was photographing. “A significant part of the process involved spending time with these people, where I wasn’t just taking their photographs,” Farid says. “I feel like building genuine relationships with the people I was photographing allowed me to develop an emotional connection and trust which translated into the photographs.”

Throughout the series, the ease people feel around Farid is palpable; in moments of group socialising the perspective Farid offers gives the impression that he’s involved, taking a shot of his friends. And in more crafted scenes, subjects appear entirely comfortable in his presence, easing their gaze directly into the lens. In one shot, a group of friends perch upon various objects – a plastic chair, a motorbike, the floor – while enraptured in a scene out of shot. The placement of the camera, seemingly from within the gaggle, perfectly captures the array of expressions, enrapture, amusement and confusion. In another, a child sits on a chair, looking calmly into the camera, the green of his shirt blending with the blue of the wall to create a serene if not slightly ethereal scene.

Now, while Farid’s passion for Indonesia remains, he’s looking to expand his focus and to turn his lens to other geographical locations, uncovering the connections they may withhold. “I am deeply curious about people and places in general, and I’m always intrigued to continuously seek out new experiences and observe how I behave,” Farid ends. We’re certain that wherever Farid choses to turn his lens to next, the result will be as equally moving and meditative as Angan-Angan Harsa.

GalleryFarid Renais Ghimas: Angan-Angan (Copyright © Farid Renais Ghimas, 2022)

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Farid Renais Ghimas: Angan-Angan (Copyright © Farid Renais Ghimas, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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