Words FLOW out of a cup of Pictures

In the last few Street Photography workshops we had, in one of them I collaborated with a group of creative writers on Facebook called “FLOW” spearheaded by a friend Ime Morales, an extraordinary writer and single mom. We decided to bring along her posse to observe out field exercises on street photography and at some point react to what they see and write anything about their observations.

Ime sent me several short blurbs accompanied by images captured by the workshop participants.and here it goes:

My inspiration for the following text came from Henri Cartier-Bresson himself when he said, “…you picture their lives, what they’re about to do, what they’ve done, where they’re going…” These are stories that arise out of the pictures, but are not necessarily about the pictures themselves. In that sense, it adds depth to the photograph by adding a layer of story, fiction or otherwise. It tells a separate reality, or an alternate fantasy, to further widen the depth of field and possibly demystify a little the captured moment.

Tonight they will all end up in their beds. One of them will dream of a butterfly trapped inside a glass jar. One will awaken at 2:00 in the morning, make a cup of coffee, and stare out the window to watch the moon playing hide and seek with the stars.
Tonight they will all end up in their beds. One of them will dream of a butterfly trapped inside a glass jar. One will awaken at 2:00 in the morning, make a cup of coffee, and stare out the window to watch the moon playing hide and seek with the stars.Photo by Issa Baguisi
Tao rin naman ako ah. Pero kapag ganito ka, mahirap humanap ng respeto. Lalo na pag-ibig. Dati akala ko totoo na, kaya’t binigay ko na lahat. Pero yung mga kurot niya, palakas nang palakas. Ang mga hampas nag-papasa na. Hindi na pag-ibig yon, ‘no! Buti na lang mabilis ako tumakbo, kung hindi, andiyan na ‘ko nakalutang sa may estero. Photo by Guia Tumaneng
Tao rin naman ako ah. Pero kapag ganito ka, mahirap humanap ng respeto. Lalo na pag-ibig. Dati akala ko totoo na, kaya’t binigay ko na lahat. Pero yung mga kurot niya, palakas nang palakas. Ang mga hampas nag-papasa na. Hindi na pag-ibig yon, ‘no! Buti na lang mabilis ako tumakbo, kung hindi, andiyan na ‘ko nakalutang sa may estero. Photo by Guia Tomaneng

 

I don’t understand a lot of things. My mother is always saying that I have to work hard because we’re not rich. She says I need to study well so I’ll have a bright future. Pray to God every day, she says. I see people around me working very hard, going to school, but they remain in the same dirty shanty for years and years. Hard work is a lot of bullshit. Even those who pray go nowhere with their novenas.
I don’t understand a lot of things. My mother is always saying that I have to work hard because we’re not rich. She says I need to study well so I’ll have a bright future. Pray to God every day, she says. I see people around me working very hard, going to school, but they remain in the same dirty shanty for years and years. Hard work is a lot of bullshit. Even those who pray go nowhere with their novenas.poto by Herbert Lizares
The other day, an old Chinese lady bought a dragon balloon from me. She was preoccupied and did not notice that her wallet was sliding out of her bag. Of course, my instinct was to snatch it quickly—she wouldn’t have noticed anyway. But right there across the street was the image of the Mother, with her lovely, sad eyes staring right at me. I lost the moment and I called out to the lady, “Bag mo nakabukas!” Now I regret it. I wouldn’t be here today standing in the rain if I just ran with it.
The other day, an old Chinese lady bought a dragon balloon from me. She was preoccupied and did not notice that her wallet was sliding out of her bag. Of course, my instinct was to snatch it quickly—she wouldn’t have noticed anyway. But right there across the street was the image of the Mother, with her lovely, sad eyes staring right at me. I lost the moment and I called out to the lady, “Bag mo nakabukas!” Now I regret it. I wouldn’t be here today standing in the rain if I just ran with it.Photo by Nash Tysmans
I never thought I would end up as a cook. When I was a little boy, I dreamed of becoming a soldier. I came close to that, I think, when I worked as a security guard in a small condo in Pasay. But that girl in the laundromat--malandi! I am only a man, and so I lost my job when my employer found out what happened. Now I cook eggs day in and day out that sometimes the whites seem to blur into the yellows.
I never thought I would end up as a cook. When I was a little boy, I dreamed of becoming a soldier. I came close to that, I think, when I worked as a security guard in a small condo in Pasay. But that girl in the laundromat–malandi! I am only a man, and so I lost my job when my employer found out what happened. Now I cook eggs day in and day out that sometimes the whites seem to blur into the yellows. Photo by Issa Baguisi
Sometimes, when the afternoon starts to darken into night, I think about the time when I would be too old for this. Maybe my bones will be brittle, or my heartbeat weak, or—God forbid—cancer may be eating into my flesh. It scares me, these night time thoughts. The stale air coming in from the river makes it all the more chilling.
Sometimes, when the afternoon starts to darken into night, I think about the time when I would be too old for this. Maybe my bones will be brittle, or my heartbeat weak, or—God forbid—cancer may be eating into my flesh. It scares me, these night time thoughts. The stale air coming in from the river makes it all the more chilling.Photo by Herbert Lizares
She believes in miracles. Like the one about her prince charming walking through the dark iskinita one day to take her hand and tell her she’s beautiful. When she’s not playing these fantasies in her head, she is immersed in the reality of washing other people’s clothes for a living and of her weak mother, waiting for her to come home.
She believes in miracles. Like the one about her prince charming walking through the dark iskinita one day to take her hand and tell her she’s beautiful. When she’s not playing these fantasies in her head, she is immersed in the reality of washing other people’s clothes for a living and of her weak mother, waiting for her to come home.Photo by Issa Baguisi
In a few months, she is leaving the country to try and build a better life someplace else. She is bringing her dreams with her, and leaving behind painful memories from a recent break-up. She is also leaving behind her only child, a four-year old boy who thinks she is just going away to buy some biscuits. He doesn’t know that the next time he sees her, he will be sixteen.
In a few months, she is leaving the country to try and build a better life someplace else. She is bringing her dreams with her, and leaving behind painful memories from a recent break-up. She is also leaving behind her only child, a four-year old boy who thinks she is just going away to buy some biscuits. He doesn’t know that the next time he sees her, he will be sixteen.Photo by Guia Tomaneng
There is a secret that I keep even from my wife and children. I will take it to my grave. But sometimes, I dream about it and I go as far as sleeping downstairs in the couch so my wife wouldn’t hear me talk in my sleep, in case the words slip out of my mouth. It’s so dreadful I never even dared think about it in the presence of my shadow.
There is a secret that I keep even from my wife and children. I will take it to my grave. But sometimes, I dream about it and I go as far as sleeping downstairs in the couch so my wife wouldn’t hear me talk in my sleep, in case the words slip out of my mouth. It’s so dreadful I never even dared think about it in the presence of my shadow. Photo by Nash Tysmans

 

Another Year, Another Hot Summer Day!

Meet Trololo, my new
Meet Trololo, my new friend

It’s true…another year has passed and I have neglected this visual and personal journal of mine. A lot of milestones have passed in my life and most of them have been personal and family crises. Struggle is not enough to describe what I went through with my family and kids.Thankfully, we have proven to be of sterner fabric and rising above all these…light finally shone through.

To overcome the stress, I have sustained my biking and brought it to another level and I have adopted swimming as an integral part of staying alive longer. On top of my life’s agenda now is to promote well-being through physical activities.
In my bucket list are new projects involving long rides to different and far-flung places and adventures with my trusty steed “Trololo”.

Another Hot Summer Night

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It’s summer again and almost a year after my last entry. Due to pressing personal matters, I have stopped doing workshops on Street Photography for quite a while and a lot of similar workshops have sprouted due to the rapidly expanding numbert of advocates of the Genre. Street Photography is going through a global resurgence. It was almost 4 years ago today when I bravely started a workshop to explore and exlain the dialectics of the street and the nuances of imagery. I was a fan of street photography since I started dabbling in human interest or daily life photography and it was a lonely endeavor because of very few kindred spirits in the local scene.But times have changed…SP forums and groups mushroomed and with it knowledge.Schools of thoughts emerged and knowledge of the genre flowered.

I believe that Street Photography as we know it is in a continuous flux, confusion on what defines it abounds. The question in our minds are “What is Street Photography and what is isn’t?”. In my workshops, we explore it and attack it with an open mind…we follow the path set out by it’s masters but we also try to evolve it in ways that is as dynamic as the life it tries to capture.
For more information on the coming workshops, Please don’t hesitate to email me at luis.liwanag@gmail.com

Dateline: Tacloban, Six months after Typhoon Haiyan

It’s been quite a while since I have revisited typhoon devastated Tacloban City. I was hoping on documenting it’s rise from devastation.
A couple of weeks back, just before the 6 month after typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) struck and destroyed a large swath of the area, I was commissioned to do some video work for the UN’s Farm and Agriculture Organization. Below is the finished short.

May 2014
Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) hit the central Philippines on 8 November 2013, destroying some 600 000 hectares of farmland and leaving tens of thousands of farmers without a source of income, severely threatening their food security.

Thanks to an immediate response by the international community, the Department of Agriculture and FAO were able to assist tens of thousands of rice farmers quickly restore and replant their devastated fields in the wake of the disaster, working closely with the national government at all levels. Within weeks of the disaster, FAO, the Department of Agriculture and their partners, began distributing certified rice seeds and urea fertilizer to severely affected farmers, reaching 80 000 families in time for the December/January planting season.

Some have already gathered their crops, others will be doing so over the coming weeks and into early June, giving farmers hope for the future and kick-starting their recovery.

– See more at: http://www.fao.org/emergencies/resources/videos/video-detail/en/c/231219/#sthash.LGvOepTX.dpuf

A midsummer Night’s Dream

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Woke up at 2:30 am due to extreme hot weather conditions so I went down to have a drink of ice-cold water, browsed the internet and saw this article about a trusty camera that another photographer has.
I’ve always been amazed at how other people have managed to keep their cameras pristinely clean and shiny…I don’t know, maybe I am just a camera slob but look at images of the first Fujifilm mirrorless camera I ever had. Bought it about 3-4 years ago as a Christmas present to myself after being frustrated with the rising prices of film. I was accumulating about 60 rolls of films I shot with my M4-2 and I haven’t even processed the rolls.In short, the process from shooting to seeing images became a long and tedious process for me and I was shooting voraciously in the streets.
Now back to the trusty old X100… long story short, It was unfortunate that the unit I owned, suffered from the sticky shutter syndrome.I could not shoot my X100 in any mode other than fully automatic and aperture priority with the opening set on F2.0 only. Otherwise, all my images will be over-exposed.
Imagine lugging around a PHP 57K camera for a couple of years, way past the warranty period and the local distributor whom I bought it from kept promising me that they would repair it…until I got tired and accepted it’s fate.So for two long years, I shot all kinds of stuff…from news to street photography and even multimedia stories with it…from Abra to Mindanao and all on fully automatic mode. Luckily, the exposure compensation dial of the X100 was conveniently located near my right thumb and ever-ready for exposure adjustments.
This trusty old camera with the most wonderfully sharp lens and hybrid optical system is a classic so I held on to it . One day, Fujifilm came to our shores and set up it’s corporate headquarters in Makati. One year after they came, my X100 got a shot in the arm and was repaired free of charge and thanks to their Technical Manager Richard Maranga. It still lives, my X100 despite having been reinforced by his big brother XPro-1, an equally trusty camera.
So the story goes on… till the next hot summer night.

 

 

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See also:

A Camera Built To Endure Klutzes: The Fuji X-Pro 1

Hot Summer Nights

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A woman sits by a main road beside her cart full of recyclable materials. Taken with a Fujifilm XPro-1 with a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm Classic lens.

I started using my M-mount lenses on the Xpro-1 so I had my 35mm Nokton Classic cleaned and calibrated so I can use it for poor lighting conditions as a normal lens owing to the 1.5 crop on the XPro-1’s APS-C sized sensor.

Nightfall:Tomas Morato Ave.
Nightfall:Tomas Morato Ave.

Getting inspired

Whenever I go out hunting for images on the street, I don’t really have a planned theme…Street photography for me is supposed to be spontaneous or unplanned..the fun of it is when moments or a unique vignette of a scene pops out from your visual landscape. Themes and projects are for the photojournalistic side of my brain. Street photography allows me to wear a different hat. to have the luxury of being able to shoot freely and without pressure from paid assignments.
Most of the time, you lose your touch …and that is the main reason why photography has to be a passion, a lifestyle…It is and should be a part of my daily life, otherwise I suffer from a “visual block”.
Today I started out by visiting The San Sebastian church, where i sat down, absorbed the tranquility and began to meditate, to thank God for pulling me out of evry predicament I thought I could not handle. Then I became aware of the surroundings and began to shoot.

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San Sabastian Church 2014
San Sabastian Church 2014

 

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Kickstarting new life into my blog (procrastinating sucks the life out of you)

It has been ages since I’ve posted something into my sites, and a lot of things have happened since. To name a few…calamities, devastation, political chaos, family crisis, health concerns, loss of friends and stuff related to our existence on this planet.That was 2013 and I have somehow managed to navigate all of those in a rally towards the last quarter. Although I almost didn’t make it through the last days of December due to extreme exhaustion and probably mental anguish from the life-taxing coverage that was typhoon Haiyan.
It’s now 2014 and since I promised myself to somehow inject new blood into my websites, I am now just attempting to follow through on my self-promise.

Self you say?. that’s a good place to start…since we are in the “selfie” capital, I would like to post one from the hundreds I have stashed away.

Probe shoot  selfie
Taken a few days back during a lull in a video shoot with the Probe team.

Wide Open Streets Workshop: Street photography workshop scholarship

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In behalf of the Wide Open Streets workshop, I am offering 5 free slots to deserving and passionate street photography enthusiasts for a forthcoming edition of my workshop in October.

Requirements:
Workshop Requirements

Participants are required to send a body of work (portfolio Approx: 15-25 images).
Participants are required to bring printed photos of the portfolio for review and editing (4R prints are sufficient).
A laptop or mobile computer with photo editing software
A short bio and letter of intent to join the workshop.

* exclusive of transportation expenses and food)

email the short bio and letter of intent to luis.liwanag@gmail.com not later that September 21, 2013