By Rio Helmi
July 1, 2011

My next exhibition features some images I have painted over by hand – no I didn’t hire someone to do it – Rio Helmi

Balinese culture, like all cultures, is not a static thing. Over the
thirty odd years I have been photographing Bali, its transient
nature has become more evident. I have tried to capture
moments of revelation, moments of manifestation, or perhaps
even moments of simple discovery of the fleeting. Now, even the
way I see my photographs changes, hence the way I present
them changes as well. In this exhibition I have included some
images I have painted over by hand, perhaps adding to the
transient nature of the image itself.

RIO HELMI / photographer
e-mail :
website :

Born in Europe in 1954 to an Indonesian diplomat father and a Turkish mother, Rio’s childhood and youth was spent living in the various countries where his father was posted: Switzerland, Australia, and Germany as well as visiting many countries in Europe and Asia. After finishing school, more voyages lay in store: Rio traveled across Asia on land, and ended up living in India for a year. After several years in Australia where a childhood interest in photography was rekindled, Rio moved back to Bali, Indonesia in 1978. He now divides his time between Bali and India.

Rio has been capturing images of Asia since 1978, constantly adding to a richly textured portolio that celebrates the region’s people and places, contemporary lifestyle and Mahayana Buddhism. Now one of Asia’s leading photographers, his work is often seen in books, magazines and documentaries. Shows of Rio’s still photography have been held in Bali, Jakarta, Madrid, Miyazaki, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sydney.

From 1978 to 1983, Rio worked as a photographer/writer and associate editor in the Indonesian media (Bali Post, Mutiara, Sinar Harapan). Most of the stories focused on isolated ethnic groups/remote tribes from around the Indonesian archipelago.

From 1983, Rio has freelanced for many regional and international magazines (Asiaweek, Geo, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Times, Seven Seas, Tempo, Time, Vanity Fair, Vogue and others) as well as providing commercial material for a wide range of clients (aerials, hotels, fashion, industry, etc.) including the Aman group, Bulgari, John Hardy, Hyatt International, and Ritz Carlton.

Since the late ‘80s, Rio has been involved in several book publishing projects. These include amongst others,
• Indonesia, A Voyage Through the Archipelago (Millet – Owen –Weldon)
• Offerings, the Ritual Art of Bali (INI, Bali)
• Bali Style [Sole Photographer](Thames & Hudson, Times Ed., Singapore)
• River of Gems, A Borneo Journal [Sole Photographer](INI, Bali)
His latest book is a retrospective portfolio of Bali over the last 30 years called “Memories of the Sacred” launched early October 2010.
He has a gallery in Ubud, Bali exhibiting his private work.

Articles / photos published in various media:
– Asiaweek
– Discovery (Hong Kong)
– Geo (France, Germany)
– Gulliver (Japan)
– Jakarta-Jakarta (Indonesia)
– Kikan Minzokogaku (Japan)
– Kompas (Indonesia)
– Matra (Indonesia)
– Merian (Germany)
– Mutiara (Indonesia)
– New York Times (U.S.A.)
– Seven Seas (Japan)
– Suara Pembaruan (Indonesia)
– Tempo (Indonesia)
– Time (Asia)
– Vogue (Australia, France, Singapore)
– Vanity Fair (Germany, Italy)
– Winds (Japan)

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 & Gerster (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) also as 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)