I can’t imagine living anywhere else besides Manila -I guess I’m just so used to its chaos and madness. Not by choice though since I get homesick really easily.
On top of that, the creative industry in Manila is such a tightly knit community (for better or for worse) that you can’t miss a beat and is why it’s so hard to live elsewhere even if I wanted to!
The worst thing about Manila though, and everyone will say this, is the TRAFFIC. It not only cripples your time but also your spirit.
I can’t imagine living anywhere else besides Manila -I guess I’m just so used to its chaos and madness.
I think I started to find my distinct artistic voice when I was studying fine arts in college. At that time, I was more into painting, illustration and mixed media before I got into photography during my 3rd year (which I initially only took as an elective)
When I was in college, fashion blogging was on the rise and I wanted to be one! I would borrow my dad’s digicam and ask my friends and cousins to take my OOTDs and portraits that I would upload to my Lookbook.nu account. It was challenging to ask them to capture the vision that I had in my mind so I took it upon myself to take my own self-portraits. I got bored of that after a while and that’s when I decided to take Photography as an elective in my 3rd year in Ateneo De Manila.
One of the bloggers I highly admired at the time (and still do) was Tricia Gosingtian. I was so immersed in her feminine personality and Asian aesthetic, her makeup, hair, and outfits, down to the clean and creamy photography of her lifestyle and travels. On top of that, she also graduated from the same course that I took in Ateneo at the time which was Information Design and is also why I felt such a deep connection with her even before I met her. Tricia really made a big impression not only in my work but in my lifestyle as well.
I also looked up to the colorful, cutesy yet weird and dark paintings/sculptures of Yeo Kaa.
My early work as a photojournalist for my school publication The Guidon was heavily influenced by the street photography style of my professor in my Photography class, Tata Yap. Her eye for capturing stories in a single image was seared into my mind and helped me become a better visual storyteller.
Of course, I am also influenced by Shaira Luna, a photographer who you have also featured! Admired by many creatives for her moody and nostalgia-inducing photos, myself included.
I am privileged enough to say that yes, my parents were very supportive of me as a creative. When I was still a kid, they enrolled me in painting and pottery classes (even that odd piano class which bored me to death, haha!). At a very young age, I was into doodling and drawing a lot.
My first 2 cameras were gifted to me by my dad and for that, I will always cherish them. When he was still with us, he would be the one to drive me to and from my shoots, even accompanying me to the rallies I would cover for the school newspaper. My mom was always proud of me- she would share my photos and projects to her officemates and our relatives.
I am also grateful that my blockmates in college eventually became my closest friends. I believe my best work is when I collaborate with my bestfriend/blockmate Mags Ocampo – art director/stylist extraordinaire. Being surrounded by all this creative energy from my peers has been helpful in my growth as an artist.
I someday hope to find more opportunities outside of this city but right now, I feel like I have not yet reached my potential here. My goal is to keep learning and keep cultivating my taste.
Take advantage of the very specific and underrepresented view of the female experience and use this to further your vision and storytelling.
Take advantage of the very specific and underrepresented view of the female experience and use this to further your vision and storytelling. Cultivate your taste, collaborate with other young creatives, keep on creating and learn to curate and critique your own body of work.
Photos courtesy of Andrea Beldua.
July 8, 2019