Dewi Natalia is an Indonesian photographer who combines her passion for travel and her knack for portraiture through a project called For Asia Cheers.

Since the day she was given her first point-and-shoot camera, Dewi has viewed photography as means to experience the world around her. But little did she know, her photos would grow to reflect a humanitarian and environmental perspective.

Her journalistic style focuses on the people who inhabit a place rather than the landscape that surrounds them. In her images, she tries to capture the raw moments of everyday life.

Although she’s photographed across nearly all of South Asia, Dewi chooses to return to her home in Bali between trips in order to reconnect with the culture and traditions that have shaped her life. When she’s home, she drives to hidden corners of the island to meet the inhabitants of Bali’s oldest villages. Since she speaks the language, it’s easier for her to create a deeper connection with her Balinese subjects and gain a better understanding of who they are.

“Every person has their own identity and unique personality,” she explains. “I love capturing that. It’s real. I want to show people the true culture of Indonesia.”

The emotional aspect that her photos evoke comes from an understanding of her subjects: she listens to their stories and takes photos based on gut feelings. Dewi believes that photography has the potential to tell powerful stories that will make a difference in the world.

“They can change the way we see each other,” she says.

While she uses her lens to express her creative vision, she also sees it as an important tool for connecting people — whether they be on the same island or opposites sides of the globe.

Through her work, Dewi hopes to encourage photographers to invest in new experiences, explore their surroundings, and never stop talking to strangers.

To view more of Dewi’s work, visit her Instagram.