The multifaceted modern France and exotic Indonesia in Jonathan Burtan’s conceptual shots
Today I bring to your attention the work of young French photographer Jonathan Bertan. His photography is a mix of travel and lifestyle photography with a catchy retro treatment; a mix that has attracted 108,000 subscribers, major brands and music producers. Impressed? Anna Kaunis finds out what the secret to such success is. Jonathan Bertan is a 24-year-old photographer from Normandy with disheveled (on purpose) hair who only Instagrams in French (on purpose). The expressive lad was born in Normandy, and at 17 he decided to take up photography. In 2013, he studied photography at Saint-Vincent de Paul, where he received the technological and artistic bases that allowed him to successfully engage in photography projects, and in 2014 he started Instagram.
In 2016, after graduating, Jonathan opened his own business. Today, he specializes in travel and lifestyle photography. Bertan works with brands such as Air France, Nissan, Devred, Huawei and Nikon. His love for music has also led him to collaborate with producers of the French electronic scene such as Petit Biscuit, Møme or Madeon. Jonathan’s portfolio includes travels to Hong Kong, Latvia, Indonesia and Madeira.
Jonathan posts interesting photos, complete with entertaining emotional captions. “If there’s one thing that fascinated me about Hong Kong, it’s its streets, dotted with color. The city offers such a setting that you’re immediately immersed in playing with the environment. Add to that the life that simmers in Hong Kong, and it becomes impossible to imagine a more striking atmosphere. I shot a colorful series of 9 images that are especially precious to me. Feel free to tell me which picture appealed to you the most. This was the first big Asian city I was able to explore for over a week. Honestly, I wish I had discovered another one when I see the number of moments I captured,” Jonathan recalls with excitement.
As a true aesthete, Bertan appreciated American buildings and old cars while traveling around the United States. The pink motel and the Pontiac standing next to it are cinematic, and Jonathan loves it. “Colorful buildings with straight lines are probably one of the reasons why I love photographing the United States. I won’t kid you: early in my career, looking at the work of American photographers, I thought they were impossibly cool. It wasn’t until I returned to the U.S. in February 2018 that I realized how graphic, geometric the American landscapes were, and every corner was actually a real playground. This country will always remain a source of my inspiration, I dream of driving more closely through the American West to bring back a beautiful photo series from there,” says Jonathan.
But the French photographer is not only interested in “fancy” pictures, combining colors in style. And this is proved by his travels to Indonesia, where the photographer shot riders at the active volcano Bromo, and his hair was no longer so perfect.
Sandstorms often rise in the Bromo area, which look quite terrifying. People sometimes move around on horses and, caught off guard by the storm, they appear in the pictures as visually interesting images. “Probably the toughest conditions I’ve shot in to date. Strongest winds, and there’s a lot of sand in it. Sometimes, it’s hard to even open my eyes, sand gets stuffed everywhere: in my ears, mouth and nose. When we finally passed this place, it seemed as if we were coming back from a mine – so black with dust everyone was. Then I asked myself, what am I doing? After all, it would have been better to stay safe, but as we recalled the moment later, we laughed, for we had many memories. What to say about the pictures, I was so happy looking through them upon my return. As time goes on, the further I go, the more I want to go further in search of images, not necessarily extreme, but always pushing over the edge,” Jonathan admits.
In Indonesia, the photographer was also struck by the work of sulfur miners. The men work daily in toxic fumes, putting themselves at high risk. And it should be noted that the volcano’s activity level was raised to alert in 2012, and the miners continued to work. “I don’t even know where to begin to tell you about this extreme experience. The sulfur miners amazed me with their bravery and kindness. They collect precious sulfur and carry it outside the crater an average of 3 times a day, with a load of more than 70 kilograms, carrying it on their shoulders. All this in order to get 80 euros a month, every day, risking their lives with almost non-existent safety equipment… “Thanks” to this activity, the miners’ lives are shortened to 40 years (50 years live the lucky ones). It seemed obvious to me that I should draw attention to these people. It was, without exaggeration, as if I’d been slapped in the face,” Jonathan tells subscribers. Attracted.
“It’s more important to get along with people than to click the shutter,” said Life magazine’s legendary photographer Alfred Eisenstedt. This is Jonathan Bertan’s own business.
Indonesia – an archipelago of opportunities for Russian entrepreneurs
Hi, this is Oxana Pogodaeva, managing partner of HR&ED-tech investment fund. A new reality has come for the venture capital industry. The main thing is to accept it and see the challange in it.
We meet a lot with funders and discuss how to think globally and move strategically. The answer is simple: go international. It’s fair to say the competition will be tougher – well, no one promised it would be easy!
How to take the new venture hero path if you decide to leave the country, we break down in a series of live broadcasts in our telegram channel. Each relocation has its own daredevil pioneers.
The first stop is Indonesia, a popular country for vacationing, “downshifting,” and wintering in Bali. It is rarely chosen for career development and relocation. And in vain! Why, we talked to our guest on the show.
Myth: Indonesia is far away
Indonesia is indeed on the edge of the map, but only for the Western-centric world, where the main financial centers are New York and London. You have to understand that in the 21st century, the center of the world is gradually shifting eastward. And traditional financial centers are now losing their primacy. Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Sydney and Taipei are successfully competing with them. Relative to these centers, Jakarta is in the epicenter.
Fact: Indonesia is a Muslim country
Indonesia is indeed a fairly religious Muslim country. However, Islam is different here, not like in the Persian Gulf, the Maghreb or Pakistan. Indonesia is a secular state, where the law establishes the right to free worship of all monotheistic religions (including Hinduism). The establishment has representatives of different faiths, and the Indonesian archipelago also includes islands with a Christian majority. Do not be afraid of the fact that Indonesia is a Muslim country. The local Muslim community is respectful of other cultures and very secular in its own way: there is no obvious gender segregation, there is alcohol in restaurants, Christmas is celebrated, women and men dress in casual style.
At the same time, Indonesia has interesting niches for business related to Islam, such as sharia banking, hawala, halal products, religious clothing, etc.
Myth: It’s dangerous in Indonesia because there are no police or laws.
Indonesia is a safe country to live and do business in. There is less chance of encountering aggressive behavior or outright criminality here than in the United States, France, or Spain. In the last two years, I have not once gotten into trouble on the street. Typical local problems involve petty fraud, scams, and extortion.
Legal institutions are still developing here, but that doesn’t mean there are no laws. On the contrary, there are laws for everything. However, they are not always implemented or interpreted adequately, they are often raw or contradictory. In addition, the level of tolerance of corruption in the country is high, so you have to be ready to defend your rights firmly or look for a way to solve the problem by the “traditional” method, through nepotism.
“Tiger” is commonly referred to as a country in Asia that has demonstrated outstanding economic growth in a relatively short period of time.
At various times the Asian tigers have been Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and China.
First, it is a fairly rapidly developing region with a high population density. More than 270 million people live in Indonesia and the country is the 4th largest in the world. Its population is increasing by 1% per year. That’s about 1.5-2 million new customers! Indonesia is also a very young country, where most citizens are in the economically active age (Note: the average age in Russia is 39, in Indonesia – 29 years).
Secondly, the labor force here is cheap. The country is actively industrializing, building new infrastructure. These factors give a strong economic growth multiplier. For the last 50 years, Indonesia has grown by an average of 5% year on year. In addition, Indonesia’s middle class is rapidly gaining strength, doubling in number to about 100 million by 2029, according to World Bank forecasts.
Thirdly, there is a financial center nearby, which can serve as an example, where you can store intellectual property, register transactions, and open corporate headquarters. For Indonesia, this is Singapore, of course.
Cultural and historical factors are also important. Indonesia has always been a capitalist country. People here have been thinking about entrepreneurship since they were at school. The country has no special social guarantees, so citizens are used to rely on themselves and their family. There are 57 million (which is a huge number) small forms of entrepreneurs in Indonesia. This means that every family has an entrepreneur, the counterpart of the Russian sole proprietorship or the self-employed.
In Indonesia, time is NOT money. The concept of time here is highly distorted relative to European culture. If you haven’t worked in Southeast Asia or the Middle East before, it will be hard to do business in the beginning. The locals may be late or not show up for a meeting. And that’s okay. Employees can easily say, “we can’t do the task (which takes a day) in a week, let’s do it in a month. Here you have to set deadlines x3 to x5 longer than we’re used to. Unfortunately, you just have to put up with it, otherwise the resistance of the local environment will be off the charts.
In Indonesia, it does NOT matter WHAT you know, it matters WHO you know. You can have the coolest skills, technology, top clients in your piggy bank, but it won’t help you much. To get a contract with someone, you need to know that person personally, and they need to trust you. In Indonesia, you need a broad network and a good reputation in the eyes of your opponent. Locals prefer to deal with friends, relatives, so you have to make friends with them too.
The local VC market consists of banking conglomerates, family offices, Singapore investors and global funds. The capital is there and a variety of investors are watching this ecosystem closely. Right now, it feels like there is more local capital than there is in Russia. On seed rounds they raise $5-7 mln, on A-rounds – $20-30 mln. In Russia they make an exit for such money.
There are technology companies in Indonesia that effectively solve the problems of their country. Strong local niches are logistics (the archipelago consists of 18,000 islands), finance, education and marketplaces. There is a lot of fintech here, about 400 companies that fight for underbanked clients. Indonesia is actively rethinking payments and is moving towards cashless, although it is at the bottom of the rankings on this parameter.
An indicator of the success of the local market is simple – over the past 10 years Indonesia has grown its unicorns. For example, GoTo (an ecosystem analogous to Yandex, minus the search engine), which just went public, Traveloka (a local travel superapp similar to Aviasales), JTE (a combo of Business Lines and Dostavista on steroids). All of these companies are worth well over $1 billion. I estimate that the total venture capital market in Indonesia is approaching $50-60 billion. This is a strong bet for the future, because the exits of these companies will provide an influx of new investment in the coming years.
Unfortunately, the main suffering factor is human resources. With technicians (and with humanitarian education as well) in this market everything is very bad. The density of qualified specialists is several times lower than in Russia. It is very important to understand this point and build it into your plans for conquering the Indonesian market.
First, in fintech. In general, Russian fintech is the coolest in the world! That is why we chose this particular segment. Russia has a strong school of fintech technicians and managers, and Indonesia has great potential. There is an opportunity to make an impact. Now the studio’s portfolio includes a payment system (Klikoo), an online mobile cash register (Posy), and a crypto-project being prepared for launch. They are building services for Indonesian MSMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) and see great growth in clients and metrics.
Secondly, EdTech, because things are still tight here, but there is a clear demand from the market for digital economy skills.
If you look at the more knowledge- and capital-intensive segment, it is Sustainability. Indonesia is a construction site, and in some places a dump. It’s a country of enormous deforestation and pollution of the oceans. Electricity is very dirty, and the grid is inefficient. And the grid is inefficient. If you’re into Green Energy and Sustainability, you should come to us.
Marine technology also has a future in Indonesia, as it is the largest archipelago state. Indirectly, TravelTech, would also be a good fit.
MedTech is shooting for Indonesia, too, because there are problems with affordable medicine here, especially outside of the main islands of Java and Bali.
If you are in a competitive niche Russian-speaking market, Indonesia is an archipelago of opportunities for you because there is room in many markets. For example, Clockster, a timekeeping system (a portfolio company of the HR&ED-tech foundation), shows a product head and shoulders above local competitor companies.
HR-tech is a relatively empty niche, so it’s safe to enter. There are a lot of problems with this in the country:
- Systemic staffing starvation, especially among techies;
- Fraud with diplomas and work experience;
- Lack of local databases of resumes, job sites, ATSoc;
- The rudimentary institution of credibility and recommendations;
- Inability to check the person/counterparties in databases.
With EdTech the situation is even worse (or better, if you have a solution you want to launch in this market). Of course, Indonesia has access to global projects like Coursera. However, much of the quality education in the country is held by private teachers, schools, and foreign graduates. As you understand, few people have access to study abroad, so tutors in this country are a mass phenomenon because of the cheapness of labor. The main Indonesian EdTech startup is RuangGuru. It is essentially an analogue of Russian SkyEng, but with a wider audience: schoolchildren who study different subjects from music to mathematics. The company has achieved certain successes and is a successful company. However, the market penetration of such products is still relatively small. The digital transformation of education and the creation of relevant content within the country in the local language is just beginning to gain momentum.
Much of the talk about the development of local EdTech technologies rests with human resources. Personally, I’ve witnessed a startup, analogous to Yandex Practicum, that failed at writing a platform. In the end, the team went to open offline schools, call tutor programmers, and teach adults “the old-fashioned way. As far as I know, they are still working successfully.
You may be surprised, but there are Russian-speaking teams in Indonesia who have been successful. You can benefit from their experience.
One of the largest ride-hailing “Maxim Taxi” has been operating in Indonesia for several years. The roots of the company, by the way, are from Kurgan. Here they have already captured, according to my estimates, 10-15% of the market – a big victory. InDriver is also catching up and becoming visible on the streets of Indonesia.
The financial holding Finstar is developing the local credit market – they issue POS/PDL products. Plus, there are a dozen other less technological companies that deal with import/export, work with government orders.
Pintar Ventura Group has been working in Jakarta since 2020. During this time we have grown a team of 70 people and are constantly expanding, looking at new hypotheses, experimenting with translating experiences from other countries, and helping Russian-speaking funders launch in Indonesia. In 2021 the studio released two financial products for local MSMEs and reached a total turnover of over $1 million per month.
I would start preparing for the move by adapting the Sales deck and Pitch deck for Indonesian realities, possibly in English. Then I would spend about a month on LinkedIn and Telegram building connections with the local expat community and global-minded Indonesians.
It’s easy to come to Indonesia. The most important thing that will be required in the first stage is that you are legally in the country. A business visa is issued to everyone and costs understandable money. You can start in Bali, there is a large Russian community where you can find partners and like-minded people.
On a business visa you can live for about 6 months. Subsequently, you can change your business visa to a working visa for your already registered company.
You can open a company (PT, the equivalent of LLC) with an Indonesian citizen or you can open it yourself. To make the company was fully foreign-owned (PT PMA), ie, owned by a non-citizen, will have to pay a lot of overpayment in the authorized capital (about $ 690 thousand). Opening a legal entity in Indonesia is not a corruption scheme; companies are opened for everyone. The risks lie only in unscrupulous lawyers or nominees. Choose your consultants carefully, do not work with unproven firms.
It’s almost impossible to enter the market without local partners, so have patience. Pick up LinkedIn. Look for professionals who are relevant to your niche. For example, it could be the founders of Indonesian startups. You can always invite them to invest their time and connections into your business.
It’s a little harder to find a comfortable place to live than it may seem. You need to spend time on this, because there are no familiar Russian services. An important nuance – Indonesia is not a cheap country. Expenses in Jakarta now more than in Moscow, before it was 1:1. Be prepared for high prices for food, alcohol, accommodation, travel and quality services.
Live better between Bali and Jakarta, an area inhabited by expats and Indonesian entrepreneurs.
If you have a built model, tested in Southeast Asia, and you know how to process, all you have to do is find a business partner here and share the burden with him. Every Indonesian has 50,000 acquaintances – that’s the key to solving any problems in this country. Your adventures won’t end there, but you can live somewhere else, only occasionally flying to Indonesia.
However, if you want to be a superstar in the Indonesian market and earn tangible amounts of money here – then, of course, you need to move. No one will develop the business for you!