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Seen | Unseen Book

Company: Alejandra Cisneros, Architect

Roles: Photographer, Digital Tech


This amazing trip allowed me to explore the enchanting island of Bali, Indonesia. My colleague, Russell Abraham, and I were invited by Architect Alejandra Cisneros to photograph ten houses she designed that would be published as a monograph. She finds old Javanese houses, brings them to Bali, and reassembles them with a team of local craftsmen to create beautiful, elegant, and simple homes. She rents some of them on Airbnb, has sold some, and has had some commissioned by other ex-pats. We spent three heavenly weeks at various sites in and around the city of Ubud, known for its terraced rice-paddies, tropical monkey-forest, and cultural & healing center for Yoga enthusiasts. For me, the most remarkable feature of Alejandra's houses are the interior walls. They are old, carved wooden panels, covered in layers of paint that have been worn away over time, giving them the original and utmost genuine "shabby chic" look.  For Alejandra, assembling the walls was like a jigsaw puzzle, adding odds and ends to complete a panel that wasn't tall enough or long enough for the house.

The challenges were in planning how to be flexible in a country that was so different than the US. We needed to travel light, as some of the sites were not accessible by car. Electricity was not consistently available. And I needed to have images ready for delivery before we left. We ended up using battery powered monolight strobes that had chargers adaptable for 220v c-type outlets (like most countries in Europe). I set up a makeshift office where I could process photos and save them on an XHD.

The book, titled Seen | Unseen: Embracing Natural Home Design in Bali, was published in 2018 by The Images Publishing Group.

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