Continuing Saga; Dead Men Walking , Walking Dead, and Playing Dead

Work in progress

 

A mother cries in anguish as she sees the lifeless body of his son who was seen walking aimlessly in the dark alleys of Tondo until he dropped dead in a gutter.Witnesses say  an unidentified assailant shot him several times in the body.

 

 

 

 

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Handcuffed men wait to be processed after they were caught peddling drugs during a buy-bust operation in Caloocan City. A total of 3 suspected drug peddlers were shot dead and 3 men arrested during the night operation.

 

 

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A drug peddler lay dead with his alleged weapon after a brief chase near the railroad tracks in Caloocan City

 

 

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A Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) process a dead suspects body in the university belt area. He was accosted for urinating in a public place and engaged policemen in alleged running gun battle.A sachet of suspected crystal meth (shabu) reportedly fell from one of his pockets later.

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Local and international journalists covering the nightly events related to the drug wars of President Rodrigo Duterte.

 

 

 

Change has finally come to our land…but is it good?

 

Dateline Manila: September 2016. A few months back, before Rodrigo Duterte had even assumed office as President of the Republic, lifeless bodies started appearing daily like clockwork signalling the start of the anti drug-war in the country. I detached myself from reliving my days of ambulance-chasing and felt numbed from the outgoing and  the new leadership’s promises, so I temporarily restrained myself from chronicling the events.

Dead on the streets have become a daily or nightly occurence and all are allegedly drug-related
Dead on the streets have become a daily or nightly occurence and all are allegedly drug-related
A distraught mother breaks down upon learning the death of her son, an alleged drug user.
A distraught mother breaks down upon learning the death of her son, an alleged drug user.

 

In the early days of my career as a news photographer, I was almost a fulltime resident in  Manila’s police headquarters. I spent days and nights covering the police beat as a stringer for a newspaper.I slept in a couch at the press office behind the reception desk of the then Western police headquarters. Documenting daily ocurrences of human misdeeds and tragedy can creep in your system and it wasn’t too long before all kinds of quirky things started happening as I walk the streets of the metro, a habit that was special to me because I loved documenting daily life on the streets in my free time. In one of my walks, a group of men started fighting and stabbing each other with forks and spoons…one time as I sit calmly in a bus, the engine would burst in flames in front of me. One night as I went home past midnight while I was distraught with some office problems, I accidentally boarded a jeepney which was about to be held up. My instincts signaled me that something was wrong but it didn’t sink in enough as my mind was deeply preoccupied. luckily, the hold-up men were professionals and I was able to put across that I was from the ‘PRESS’ and my gear didn’t belong to me so they let me go…but not without giving them my watch. The cameras ,two-way radio were all spared from their crime as I jumped out of the jeepney when they made a detour into ome of the dimly-lit side streets in Espana in Manila.

Manila, 2016: It finally dawned on me that the killings related to the Duterte’s drugwars is a significant point in history that I could not miss specially when the only thing I know well (photojournalism) is being questioned or branded as destabilizing the country. So I dusted off my beaten camera gear and started hanging out with the other journalists maintaining their nightly vigil at the Manila Police Department Press office.

Fellow photographers huddle near a crime scene, planning the next move
Fellow photographers huddle near a crime scene, planning the next move

There is a saying about photojournalists when I was just starting out that goes “We don’t take sides, we only take pictures”. Maybe that is partly true because ‘news’ is supposed to be based on truth and facts. Things have changed and in my journey as a photojournalist and a documentary photographer, I knew and felt from deep inside my heart that images should be compelling, provocative and to somehow spark changes in our lives. Every photograph is a reflection of the person who captured it. there will never be identical images from every photographer even if they were all herded together in one spot looking at one subject. Working on my own and without commisioned assignments, I am more free to post images with just simple captions or datelines…It is difficult to verbalize every image that I capture because not all of them are literal…sometimes my images are just abstractions of what is happening before me.

A heavily armored policeman watches over the police lines
A heavily armored policeman watches over the police lines

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Two more dead bodies; buy bust victims who allegedly attempted to escape

I try to go and cover whatever unfolds for the night and shoot it and approach it clearing any biases I have . No image is ever objective but on this personal project, I am being careful not to add or remove anything from the visual landscape and let  who ever views them to complete the  equation on their own. The narratives will unfold with the passage of each night.

Next: Continuing saga

 

News Reportage with a Fujifilm X100

One time, I received a tip that there was going to be a demolition of informal settler’s shanties in San Juan… I had my X100 with me and since time was of great importance ,I did not go back home to get my DSLR cameras.
At first I got so nervous since all my colleagues were clicking away with their high end equipment and all i had was a compact camera with a 35mm prime lens. I held my ground because I knew that if only I could focus accurately, my X100 would carry me through the whole violent coverage..I want to share a slideshow of that fateful day.

Rollover your mouse around the icons for navigation controls and click on the lower right for viewing the slideshow in fullscreen…

Neil Young is God


For Neil Young, the Sixties never ended. The music, memories and changes haunt his best songs and records like bittersweet perfume: vital, endlessly renewing inspirations that are also constant, enraging reminders of promises broken and ideals betrayed. In “Twisted Road,” one of eight new songs sprawled across this turbulent two-CD set, Young recalls, in a brilliantly mixed metaphor, the first time he heard Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”: “Poetry rolling offhis tongue/Like Hank Williams chewing bubble gum.” And Young tells you what he did with the impact. “I felt that magic and took it home/Gave it a twist and made it mine,” he sings over Crazy Horse’s rough-country swagger, as if the marvel of that time and his dreams are still close enough to touch.

for more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/psychedelic-pill-20121030#ixzz2BOuc5LdF


Ramada Inn:
This time machine bring you back into Neil’s mind/road trip into 60’s Americana…and back before you know it. Some of the kaleidoscopic imagery remind’s me of the 90’s when I almost worked at the Berkeley System’s screensaver company doing the famous flying toasters….

Gov’t, MILF seal preliminary peace pact

MANILA, Philippines- The Philippine government and the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) signed Monday at Malacañang Palace a preliminary peace pact aimed at ending decades of fighting in Mindanao.

The agreement was sealed by the government and MILF panels around 3 p.m. October 15, 2012

A young Muslim girl joinbs fellow Filipino Muslims as they welcome the signing of the Framework agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF for establishing the BangsaMoro region in Mindanao.

Ways of seeing

A Classic and Contemporary Street Photography workshop aiming to declassify the mysteries and techniques behind the genre of Street Photography and how to be able to capture life on the streets with an informed approach and personal visual understandings.

Photography has never been easy for me…ever since I got hooked to it when I was still in grade school. I have spent a lot of saved money and allowances just to be able to buy film and a lot of times,  It was a lot of fun!..there are a lot of debates on how to be a good creative photographer, and some say it can be learned, while others contend that it is already within us…just waiting to be awaken.
So if that’s the case, does that mean that only a handful can ever be a good photographer? In this workshop, we go beyond the basics of learning to use a camera and delve deeper into finding your own ways of seeing …by digging  experiences and learning from my own visual journey.

Interested parties may email me at luis.liwanag@gmail.com for more detailed information on how to join.
Works of previous participants can be found HERE

Anti-Cybercrime Law suspended for 120 days

A new blog is born and this is my first post.I have old blogs and web pages and they usually become just parking lots of my images…a manifestations of the things that I do.

Being a photographer for more than three decades now…my imagery has been my only way of expressing my own voice and my inner journeys. I will continue to share the moments that unfold before me and those that i have captured with a camera… as some of people may have known my now, I am a V.I.P. (Visually Impaired Photographer) and I am afflicted with fullblown galucoma for almost 6 years now and although the world turns slowly turns darker each day  like an stepless aperture ring of a lens, I find that things just start to become clearer to me. I am quite a stubborn person and I refuse to let any affliction,misfortunes or a series of  unfortunate events stop me from finishing my lifelong visual journey and education.

I firmly  believe in free will and freedom of expression and I believe that the only way to live a decent purposeful life is for every human being to be free to exercise these rights without anybody hampering them…not even the government and  I am ecstatic of the Supreme Court’s issuance Tuesday, October 9, 2012 of a TRO suspending implementation of the Cybercrime Law.

Petitioners against R.A.10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime law carry a large protest banner in front of the Supreme Court in offices Manila.
Supreme Court Manila, Oct. 9, 2012