Fountains of natural spring water, Tirta Empul Temple, Bali © Joel Collins / Offset
Surfers heading out at sunrise © Aurora Photos / Offset
“The island is a photographer’s paradise,” says Offset Artist Joel Collins, who not only photographs Bali himself but also leads photo tours for other travelers. The weather, the people, the food, it’s all there if you know where to look. The trick, he confesses, is to avoid the places all the other tourists go.
Last year, journalist Anna Hart wrote for The Telegraph about her experience at a co-working space in Ubud, called Hubud. Bali, as it turns out, is a hud for what’s called the “digital nomad,” a professional who works remotely from the verdant uplands and flowering rice fields, the monkeys and houses made from bamboo. The flurry of artists, designers, business owners, and techies who spend time in Ubud have given it the nickname “Silicon Bali.”
It was just a few short miles from where the expats of Hubud brewed coffee and prepared raw food that Collins and another Offset Artist, photographer Marianna Jamadi, found the magnificent Tirta Empul, a Hindu temple built in the first century C.E. It’s name means “Holy Spring,” in Balinese, and the water that runs from its many fountains are believed to heal and cleanse the human body and spirit. Collins explains, “Each fountain is said to prevent problems or illnesses of a different part of the body, such as skin, bones, heart.”
Here, the bathers pray and leave behind ritual offerings like flowers or burning incense. Jamadi, for her part, arrived at the temple on an adventure on the back of a friend’s motorcycle and was mesmerized by the sights and sounds. She took a dip in the water, and when she emerged, she discovered a procession of revelers and dancers, with a group of young men off to the side admiring the koi pond: “I couldn’t help but snap it,” she admits.
Aside from the historic temples and the melodies of gamelan musicians, who play traditional melodies using brass instruments, there’s much to be found in the smaller neighborhoods on the island. There’s also the rice terraces of Jatiluwih, where Collins has spent many hours hiking and exploring amongst the local workers. “The fields extend for miles,” he says, “The first time I visited there, a rainbow appeared over the fields just as I arrived. I knew right away that it would be one my favorite places in the world.”
For this group show, we pulled together images from the Offset collection that capture Bali as the photographer sees it: the nooks and the crannies, the holy places and the breathtaking vistas. This side of Bali might be the road less traveled by the average tourist, but for an artist, it’s pure magic.
Koi pond © Marianna Jamadi / Offset
View of Batur Lake and Mount Agung at sunrise from Kintamani, Bali © Peter Langer / Design Pics / Offset
Holding the butterflies © Aurora Photos / Offset
Pagoda floating on water, Baturiti, Bali © Spaces Images / Blend / Offset
Waterfall in the jungle © Mint Images / Offset
A huge wave crashing over a shallow reef © Steve Woods Photography / Image Source / Offset
Shutters on beach bar, Bali, Indonesia © John Philip Harper / Image Source / Offset
Archway © Cavan Images / Offset
Offset is a curated collection of commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Photographers who wish to join the Offset artist community are welcome to apply here.