About Rio Helmi
Born in 1954 to an Indonesian diplomat father and a Turkish mother, Indonesian photographer and writer Rio Helmi has been capturing images of Asia and writing since 1978. His work can be seen in magazines, documentaries and more than 20 large format photographic books. Solo exhibitions of Rio’s still photography have been held in Bali, Jakarta, Madrid, Miyazaki, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sydney, and his works are held in private collections around the world including in London, Rome, Boston, Washington and Tokyo.
Rio has in the past focused on the interaction between indigenous peoples and their environment, and as a result has traveled extensively across the Indonesian archipelago and further afield across Asia including Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, Ladakh and Mongolia, photographing both remote tribal people and modern urban life.
From 1978 to 1983, Rio worked as a photographer/writer and associate editor in the Indonesian media (Bali Post, Mutiara, Sinar Harapan, Tempo). Since 1983, Rio has freelanced for many regional and international magazines (Asiaweek, Geo, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Times, New York magazine, Tempo [Indonesia], Time, Vanity Fair, Vogue). He has published several large format photo books – among others ‘River of Gems, a Borneo Journal’ (text by Lorne Blair), and ‘Bali Style’.
Rio has been based in Bali for more than three decades, and speaks five languages fluently.
He writes in Indonesian and English, and blogs about a wide range of topics including for the Huffington Post and the website ubudnowandthen.com dedicated to his hometown Ubud.. He has also moderated panel sessions and conducted public interviews at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival which is now an annual event of international repute.
Rio’s latest book is a retrospective portfolio of Bali over the last 30 years called “Memories of the Sacred” launched early October 2010. Due for publication in the first quarter of 2014 is “Travels on Two Wheels, a Broader Perspective of Bali” a series of eclectic panoramas taken during nearly 30,000 kilometers of motorcycle trips around the island.
Ongoing projects include a series of urbanscapes from various cities and documentation of migrant workers from Java in Bali.
Sole or main photographer in the following books:
- Bali High, Paradise from Above – joint aerial photography with Leonard Lueras (Times Editions, Singapore)
- Bali Style – a book on the living environments of Bali (Thames&Hudson/Times Editions)
- Made in Indonesia (Equinox, Jakarta)
- Memories of the Sacred (Afterhours, Jakarta)
- Nusa Dua, Reflections of Bali (Editions Didier Millet, Singapore)
- River of Gems, A Borneo Journal (Image Network Indonesia, Bali)
- Over Indonesia – an aerial view of the country, joint photography with Guido Rossi & GeorgGerster (Times Editions, Singapore)
Photos published in large format photo books:
- Bali, The Ultimate Island (Times Editions, Singapore)
- Borobudur, A Prayer in Stone (Editions Didier Millet, Paris)
- Borobudur, Golden Tales of the Buddha (Periplus Editions, Sing.)
- Brunei Abode of Peace (Editions Didier Millet, Singapore)
- Crafts of Indonesia (Times Editions, Singapore)
- Indonesia, A Voyage Through the Archipelago (Millet- Owen-Weldon)
Coordinator and Chief Photographer
- Malaysia, Heart of S.E. Asia (Editions Didier Millet, Paris)
- Mysteries of the East (Time-Life, USA)
- Nine Days in the Kingdom (Editions Didier Millet, Singapore)
- Offerings, The Ritual Art of Bali (Image Network Indonesia, Bali)
- Seven Days in the Kingdom (Times Editions, Singapore)
- Seven Days in Myanmar (Editions Didier Millet 2013)