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Bawah Reserve - Private Paradise | MISTAHT

A Unique Mini Archipelago

Bawah Reserve is a private island and luxury resort off the coast of Indonesia which is only accessible by seaplane.  Ranked in the Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Awards top 10 resorts in Asia, Bawah Reserve is comprised of 6 virgin islands with 3 lagoons, 13 beaches and primary forest. The resort accommodates a maximum of 70 guests at one time.

The Island

A unique thing about Bawah, which sets it apart from other luxury resorts, is that they are dedicated to the conservation of the ecosystem. Their staff take a holistic approach to the treatments of guests, their vegetables are grown in their own permaculture garden and they regularly conduct beach cleanups and training sessions on neighboring islands to promote environmental awareness. The understanding of luxury at Bawah is to become reacquainted with true yourself and disconnect from the busy world, returning to your authentic state of being amongst nature, peace and quiet space.

The Photo Shoot

I was fortunate to be hired by Bawah as part of a project to document and photograph the resort and the people on the island. Overall, I spent 13 days on the island to shoot images covering the client’s requirements, which included:

– Interiors, exteriors and facilities of the resort
– Product images for their partners: IWC Schaffhausen Aquatimer Watches, Vilebrequin Swimwear, Proof Eyewear and Stream2Sea Biodegradable Sunscreen
– Featured menu items from their Treetop Restaurant
– The people working on the island
– Conservation efforts and a beach cleanup

The Project

The Journey took us from Bangkok to Singapore, from where we took the ferry to Batam, Indonesia and then finally a seaplane to Bawah Island, which was about an hour’s flight. We were immediately awe-struck by the beauty of this remote island but wasted no time to get to work and spent the first two days scouting the islands and developing the shot list.

Overall, the shoot went quite smooth, even though covering everything was a lot of work and we didn’t get much sleep during our stay at Bawah (It wasn’t until the last day that I got to go for a swim). One exceptional occurrence, though, was a tropical storm that hit the island on one of our first nights, with a heavy whirlwind hitting our accommodations, damaging a roof, breaking down trees and sweeping several kayaks out to sea.

A Unique Mini Adventure

The team and people we met on the island were great to work with and welcomed us with open arms, making sure we had everything we needed during our stay. The photo shoot at Bawah was a great experience, a new challenge and a small adventure, offering a glimpse at the world that couldn’t be more distant from an urban life.