Anton Ismael: About Communication, Compromise, and Devotion

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photo Source
Anton Ismael

There’s always meaning for every captivating visual, and the photography is believed to be able to capture its nuance that emerges emotion appeals. People that stumble with the idea of it, pursuing photography as a genuine way of showing idealism, imagination, and reality. And for about two decades, Anton Ismael has established its name in the creative industry by delivering a series of captivating visual works. He manages to balance his works by creating convincing commercial campaigns while at the same time staying true for what he believes in. Frequently, he has slipped unspoken messages commenting on social culture issues through his works, making people looked on in wonderment. The good trait that he holds is his commitment to go further, so he does not limit himself as a photographer, but also a painter, art director, video director, and educator. For that reason, Anton Ismael has always earned the trust to handle big projects from the well-established company, along with invitation to notable collaborations.

Step away back into the past, Anton’s career began with his weakness when he wasn’t good at speaking in front of people, writing, and juggling with numbers. Therefore, the visual served as the rescue and became a significant role in his life. It can be said that his journey started with a need for learning and later grow into an interest. Although his name is known as a photographer, drawing is a skill he firstly recognized and as the medium of Anton’s expression at the time. Then, after being introduced to a camera by his father, it’s a momentum for Anton to gain another medium for expressing his thought.

When Anton was in high school, he began to explore and deepen his fondness by taking photography extracurricular. As his father encouraged Anton to pursue his talent, he began to study photography as he enrolled in the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia in Photography studies. From there, the journey he took neither a smooth nor a straight road. Like today’s younger generation, dealing with unemployment and find difficulties in getting a job, Anton had experienced those struggles during the monetary crisis in 1998. Hence, he filled his unemployment by taking odd jobs. Not until the year 2000, when he got a job as an Assistant Photographer, he was soon trusted to be a partner in several projects.

Be a good storyteller because it guarantees you to make people understand the ideas you've presented. This skill could be applied in any field, not just photography or other creative fields.

Until 2005, he was determined to further developed himself and decided to resign. In the same year, he also established Third Eye Studio, which is currently expanding into Third Eye Space–one of the commercial photography and videography prominent companies in Jakarta, where Anton invites other photographers to join in. It can be seen from a hint of deconstruction art in his multiple portfolios, art exhibitions– either personal or collaboration, to an embodiment of his belief on how education is supposed to be through Kelas Pagi- a free photography class that has been held since 2006.

His influential existence as a creator arose from its creation footprints or expertise and the lesson he has learned before. Anton talks a lot about the importance of communicating, compromising, and even loving what you do. “At first, I had difficulty communicating, especially in conveying and presenting my ideas to a wider audience outside the people who weren’t aware of what I’m doing,” recalled Anton. He realized the significance of ideas in the industry. He realized that it’s substantial to convey the ideas inside, so people comprehend it and provide an excellent opportunity for the concept to be accepted. “Be a good storyteller because it guarantees you to make people understand the ideas you’ve presented. This skill could be applied in any field, not just photography or other creative fields.”

As Anton tries to resolve the previous problem, he also found another lesson to be learned. “I used to be a die-hard idealist, probably self-centered because I hardly listen to others’ opinions or ideas. However, I’m convinced that we are allowed to be idealists as long as we have to compromise because we are living in society amid a social culture that we certainly will interact with others. We do not live alone.” From his style-a hint of deconstructive approach combined with surrealism piece of work, Anton still manages to praise compromise when it comes to dealing with his clients.

Witnessing his journey also shows dedication to what he can offer in visual arts. According to him, devotion will never arise if there is no will to deepen the love for what we do, “You will not dedicate yourself to the work if you do not love the job.” All the titles he carried with – photographer, art director, video director, photography instructor-grow from his love on visual arts. Again, it applies to any field, not just in a creative scene. To love the work, Anton explained that one must understand and apprehend what it’s all about. “You won’t love the work if you don’t know about it. Learn more closely about anything, then you will love what you pursue,” said Anton. He encourages himself and anyone to expand social circles. “Make friends outside your field. If you are a photographer, go out and make some friends outside the photography field. Whatever your field, you should continue seeking knowledge that is outside your comfort zone. Be socially or otherwise we’ll be quickly be banished and undeveloped.”

Just do it! Make a start. Reduce those fears by going first because you will never know whether you succeed or not if you don't try.

Those lessons became the things that contributed to his success. Anton gave a message to anyone who wants to pursue the creative world but has doubts or fears. “Just do it! Make a start. Reduce those fears by going first because you will never know whether you succeed or not if you don’t try. Not succeeding is nothing than living in regret for not trying, because regret will haunt forever. Starts, and you will be able to learn many things from there.” At the end of the conversation, for his next project, he occupies himself with painting and more painting.