Meet ‘Hendrik’—the Indonesian Man I Couldn’t Stop Photographing…


The minute I saw this Indonesian (Batak) man, I knew I wanted to take a photo. Maybe a few. Not only was the guy handsome, but he looked cool. And different somehow.

For a moment, I wondered if he was an Asian film star. Had I seen him on the big screen at an arthouse cinema in New York City ? Or was he a model? Perhaps he’d appeared in a magazine or two…


Whatever the case, I found his look–his wide range of facial expressions, especially–intriguing. And when we met and spoke,  I realized I already knew him. Sort of.

I had e-mailed the hotel I was staying at, Samosir Cottages, several days before. And he was the person who’d replied. His name: Hendrik. He’s Batak–from Lake Toba–but he lives/works in Holland.


Dedicated to Batak Culture/Reviving Tourism

Although Hendrik only visits Samosir Island for vacations now (which is how/why our paths crossed), his roots and ongoing connection here are strong. He handles marketing and promotion for two hotels (and hopes to revive tourism on the island, which has died down in recent years) in addition to his full-time job abroad.

Thanks to him, a Korean traveler and I went to two local Batak weddings–a cool experience we’ll always appreciate and remember fondly.

He’s also a musician–a guitar player and singer who’s put out a couple CDs of original Batak music… We had the chance to see him perform a few times and it was excellent.


Man #2 in ’10 Handsome Indonesian Men Post’

“Can I take your photo?” I asked once we’d chatted a few times. “I’d like to put you in an article about 10 Handsome Indonesian Men.” (I’d already taken shots of someone else in Western Sumatra for this, so I figured he’d be man #2.)

“Yeah, sure. Why not?” he said, with a smile and hint of amusement, before he took a drag from his Marlboro cigarette. He looked cooler than Clint after walking into a saloon.

And that’s where it–the photo shoot, if you will–began. And I must confess–this mini photography addiction lasted for a couple days.

Why I Couldn’t Stop…1 Photo = 1 Dorito

I compare it to eating just one Dorito. It’s just not possible. I just had to take more photos. I couldn’t stop myself. And so I didn’t. And he didn’t mind either. (I asked permission to be sure.)

At times, I used a high contrast black and white filter on my Olympus XZ-1. Other photos were shot naturally and in color. Hope you enjoy them and the order in which I posted them!





Hendrik feet 2



Your Thoughts? Reactions

Have you ever met anyone so photogenic that you were compelled, as I was, to shoot numerous photos? If so, what were the circumstances? And where were you? Also, how did the person react?

Was the person an actor or model? Or someone who just happened to be photogenic?

After viewing the photos in this post, can you understand my Dorito-like photo addiction? :)

PS: This was not a crush (he’s a friend/a married man); it was just a ‘photographer-subject fascination’, if that makes any sense… ☺


Me, post-photo shoot, hanging out with Hendrik

Want to Meet More Locals?

Here are more posts re: the locals I’ve met while traveling. Enjoy!

22 Responses to Meet ‘Hendrik’—the Indonesian Man I Couldn’t Stop Photographing…
  1. Waegook Tom
    July 8, 2012 | 4:22 am

    He does have a very handsome face – although personally, I’d chop the hair off. But then I guess that’s part of the appeal for photographing him?

    Hendrick sounds like a pretty cool dude in general – glad that he still has strong ties to his home area and is trying to get more people to visit there :)
    Waegook Tom recently posted..The 10 Best Food Markets in the WorldMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      July 8, 2012 | 8:00 am

      Hi, Tom–and thanks for indulging me in this. Yes, the long hair was made him interesting, etc. Back in West Sumatra, I only saw short hair, so when I saw his long hair, it was a surprise. However, once in Lake Toba for a few days, I realized that quite a few Batak men have it. Still, he had a wide range of facial expressions, which made him more intriguing than others.

      He is very cool. Cares a lot about the island and the Batak culture. I’m so happy that I got to go to the weddings and to have a ‘jungle juice’ adventure with him and several other locals. It was the real deal, and I loved it!

  2. Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures
    July 8, 2012 | 11:35 am

    He sounds really interesting and has a fairly unique look to him. Can’t say I blame you for photographing him!
    Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..So What’s it Like to Travel in Iraq?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      July 8, 2012 | 12:14 pm

      Hi, Aaron. Glad you get it. Definitely unique. Thanks for checking out the photo essay!

  3. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    July 8, 2012 | 12:58 pm

    He does look like a movie star. I’ve seen some people I wanted to take lots of photos of, but in my case they were more along the lines of “crush” than “photographer-subject fascination.”
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Lost luggage and frozen tents: lessons in perseverance from AlaskaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      July 9, 2012 | 11:26 am

      Hi, Scott. I’m glad you see it, too! I felt like a pro photographer each time I shot him. Was easy! As for the crush thing…LOL. Nice! :)

  4. Lucie
    July 9, 2012 | 3:37 am

    I’d love to hear a sample of his Batak music. He has a unique face: handsome in a feminine sort of way. Sounds interesting too except for the Marlboros, but then nobody’s perfect.

    • CB Driver
      July 9, 2012 | 11:24 am

      Hi, Lucie. I may post his music at some point (I have video). I saw him play a few times and have a copy of his CD!

      PS: I hear you re: the cigs…

  5. Gray
    July 9, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    LOL. Nope, can’t say I’ve ever done this. In fact, I usually forget to take photos of friends I meet on the road. So when I get around to blogging about them I realize “Oh, I have no photos of them.” I like the long hair; not every man can wear it well, but he does.
    Gray recently posted..Fourth of July Round Up!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      July 12, 2012 | 7:05 am

      Hi, Gray….that sucks when you wish you had a pic of someone after the fact. I’ve forgotten, too, believe it or not–in those same situations. But I take pics of of strangers a lot. :)

      Re: men with long hair…so true…and true re: him! :)

  6. Naomi
    July 13, 2012 | 7:50 pm

    I hung out with this really famous heavy metal rock star in Malang for 2 days and completely forgot to take a photo of him. Then again, physically he was pretty ordinary, not striking like Hendrik, but even so.
    Naomi recently posted..A story from LaosMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      July 17, 2012 | 6:41 am

      Ooh…cool. Sounds like fun. Yes, Hendrik was striking–definitely! :)

  7. Janet
    July 24, 2012 | 9:04 am

    Wow! I’d scarf a whole bag of those “doritos”… LOL
    Thanks for the great photos. And for the new term for addictive behavior :-)

    • CB Driver
      July 24, 2012 | 9:17 am

      Hi, Janet! Yeah, yummy ‘chips,’ no? He, he, he… Glad you enjoyed the photo spread and the new term. :)

  8. Jeremy Branham
    August 1, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    He does have an interesting face and is quite intriguing. However, I still think part of you had a crush (and there’s nothing wrong with that) :)
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..5 reasons why the Olympics are the greatest sporting event in the worldMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      August 2, 2012 | 12:15 am

      Hi, Jeremy. Are you saying that this wasn’t just a photographer-subject fascination? LOL He, he, he…

  9. Mila Shakya
    August 1, 2012 | 8:41 pm

    Hendrik does have a magnetic charm and gentle look about him! You must have seen you in him! I’ve noticed such appeal in selected persons I’ve met or seen photographs of. I can resonate with your ‘dorito addiction’ feeling very much, Lis! Namaste! Enjoy the rest of your Indonesia journey! Hugs and blessings!

    • CB Driver
      August 2, 2012 | 12:17 am

      Thanks, Mila. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but I like the way you put it! Glad you relate to the ‘Dorito’ thing…ha, ha. Thanks and hugs back!

  10. […] in the photo above is one I felt compelled to photograph repeatedly. He was that photogenic! Click here to see a complete photo essay on just […]

  11. Wilfredo
    January 13, 2013 | 8:17 pm

    Great portrait shots. I especially like your B&W shots. The set conveys a feeling of who this person is, they capture his spirit, and the graininess of the photos allows the viewer to experience your vision at a deeper soulful level. Cool work!

    • CB Driver
      January 13, 2013 | 9:15 pm

      Hola and thanks for understanding my photographic compulsion! I’m happy that you saw what I was thinking the photos conveyed–and awesome that you like the b/w, too. I have a built-in filter on my Olympus that makes the photos high contrast and grainy and I love to use it. Gracias!

  12. Han-Koh Chung
    April 14, 2016 | 1:41 am

    Honestly, I have to say this Indonesian man is freaking hot and gorgeous!

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