December 09, 2017
We often look for the great landscapes, the beautiful faces, the famous people, and the trending subjects — if not the most expensive materials on the planet in photographs nowadays. We seldom look at the true essence of photographs which captures the emotions, the story, and the soul of the moment. I started this series to portray the unusual elements that's usually overlooked. I want to raise depression awareness through isolation of the subject which aims to tell a story about their daily lives.
TLF: How did you develop an interest in photography?
L: We had several film cameras which I played with around 2005. That sparked my interest in photography but the real deal was in 2008. For my clinical graduation during my nursing days, I asked my mom for a point-and-shoot camera as a gift. Since then, my journey to photography gained steam and went off.
TLF: Do you have any formal training?
L: I just had a formal training last year. I took a photography class while I was studying a Multimedia Arts course.
TLF: What challenged you most about photography?
L: The real challenge to me was not having a proper knowledge and a mentor on photography. When I first started out, I was literally shooting tons of photos around hundreds a day. I also got insecure about not owning a DSLR for almost a decade.
TLF: What course did you taking up in college? Does it affect your chosen path now in some way?
L: I experienced going through varied fields of education. I graduated with a nursing degree in 2010 and then I took up Java programming last 2014. Last year, I also studied Multimedia Arts major in Video and Motion Graphics for a semester then stopped due to financial constraints. However, currently I'm enrolled at Asia Pacific Film Institute and I am taking Full Motion Picture Production Program. Anyway, my chosen path did affect me a lot because of the people I met along the way. They imparted different beliefs and perspectives about life and art as well as reality. Being a lost soul, I digested those knowledge and life-long lessons and used it as a stepping stone for my creativity.
TLF: You have a signature style and feel in your photos. How did you come up with your style or decide on one?
L: I started out with colored photos especially the Lomography vibe with bright colors and the toy-cam looks. Eventually, my photos took a drastic turn and I now focused mostly on emotions and ditched the glamour of commercial aesthetics. I embraced black and white photographs because it's less distracting and focus on bringing out the emotions. Recently, I played with the isolation of my subjects and came up with souls on photographs. It tackles several aspects—one is depression and the other is the element that we don't see but we encounter on a daily basis.
TLF: Who are your greatest influences as a photographer? and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
L: Honestly, I don't have any specific photographer in mind. Daily life and emotions are my greatest teachers but one person I could really give tons of credit to developing my art is Kawayan De Guia, one of the famous Baguio artists. Back in 2014 when I was working as a gallery manager in Makati, I met him and got a chance to pick brains with him. Before our first meeting ended, he left me with this words: "FIND YOUR OWN LIGHT" then for years I've been following those words of wisdom while I search for answers about life and art.
TLF: Are there any books or any people whose work you'd advise newbies to look into?
L: Lomography and coffee table books are my top choices but people can search the internet for inspirations. I would suggest for enthusiasts to look into Pinterest and Instagram. As for people to look up to, I'm currently studying the works of Annie Leibovitz. I really love her works and the emotions that her photos portray.
TLF: What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
L: My career path had its up and downs. I worked in the BPO industry for more than 5 years and had an art-related work for a couple of months. I also got into events organizing for more than a year then jumped into the food industry as well. Even though I worked in different fields far from art, I made sure I practice my passion while earning for a living because we all have bills to pay and being on the creative side of things isn't always easy. Right now, I’m a freelance photographer while studying film.
TLF: What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
L: Photography is my outlet. What really motivates me to pursue my passion is not money nor fame but capturing emotions and stories about daily life and preserving them so I can share it with other people on a different time.
TLF: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
L: Practice. Just keep shooting. I read or watch inspirations from time to time but the key element is really kept shooting. I see to it that I make time and give the effort to practice my craft.
TLF: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
L: So far, of all those photographs I took, from the pedestrian lane at Perfecto Street in Baguio speaks to me a lot. I don't know the exact words to describe it but it shows loneliness of reality. It sends the chilling message about how we are alone tackling our own reality and the hardships that come with it.
TLF: Whose work has influenced you most?
L: Kawayan de Guia paintings and his installations. Knowing the meaning behind those works really awaken my curiosity on art in general.
TLF: What is the one thing you wish knew when you started taking photos?
L: Not limiting myself to the norms of the society. I wished I learned to break the rules and thinking outside the box earlier when I was just starting out.
TLF: What Inspires you to take photos?
L: Emotions of the people around me and conveying the message captured by that photograph.
TLF: What makes the good picture stand out from the average?
L: For me, it's all about the basic essence which is the emotion or the "soul" of your photographs.
TLF: Colour vs. Black and White. Why one over the other, and is photographic process different?
L: There's really not much of a difference in terms of technicalities aside from the color but for me, black and white photos display more emotions and have fewer distractions compared to colored ones. For processing, it really depends on how you will edit your shots. I prefer fixing everything from composition to background before shooting rather than fixing everything in post-production.
L: Photography is an outlet of how I see things in a different perspective.