“Every place, every face, every person has a story to tell.”
This is what Doc Marlon Pecjo, a renowned fashion photographer, has to say when asked about what makes photography a powerful visual medium appreciated by millions of people around the world. Whether you're a professional photographer or a hobbyist, it’s all up to your imagination as to how you snap a photo in celebration of World Photo Day.
Celebrated every 19th of August, World Photo Day encourages everyone to celebrate their passion for photography. In line with this celebration, we talked to Doc Marlon and five other esteemed photographers about, what else, but photography, and here’s what they have to say:
1. Technology plays a role in making photography more accessible. Events photographer Art Oca notes that nowadays, smartphone cameras have become so advanced that some models could match the quality of DSLR cameras. “Cell phone cameras will be better and better,” he says.
Agreeing to this trend, cosplay photographer Jay Tablante expects to see more innovative ways to take photographs, like the 360 degree technique. “We are going to see fused devices where there is a photography/imaging component latched on other gadgets, Jay adds.”
In describing the compexity of this photograph, Jay explains, "It took three weeks of preparation, five hours of setup on the day itself, but the shoot lasted only 30 minutes."
2. Storytelling is the key element to a good photograph. Even with the advancements in technology, which include faster autofocusing, higher megapixel counts, and Wi-Fi connectivity, storytelling remains the most important element in photography.
“Anyone can take a photo, but to tell a story with photos is another skill entirely,” music photographer Niña Sandejas said. Having covered some of the biggest concerts to date since the mid-2000s, Niña has developed her photography skills such that the photos she takes during these performances tell a story that goes beyond an artist performing on stage.
Beyond being a visual medium, fashion photographer Sara Black sees photography becoming more important, especially in the digital world. “Photographs will become more and more part of a necessary language that people will have to understand and speak,” Sara shares.
Fashion photographer Shaira Luna adds that nothing beats the mystery each photograph can bring to the viewer. “There's still something very special about a single moment that was consciously captured, and leaves the rest to the viewer's imagination and thoughts.”
3. Photographs know how to connect with people in terms of beauty and emotions. For Sara, the best photographs sometimes are those that bring out the inner essence of a person. Her example of a “less is more” photograph? This no-makeup portrait of Dawn Zulueta she took during Dawn’s 40th birthday.
Sara Black's portait of Dawn, sans makeup.
Shaira can also attest to how people’s emotions can be swayed through photographs alone. “I didn't expect that many people feel those emotions and react to it as they did," says Shaira, noting that her “Without John” photo series has definitely struck the emotions of people, whether they are fans of John Lennon or not.
Art considers this photo special as Zedd personally contacted him on Facebook, showing appreciation for his coverage of Zedd's concert in Manila. The best part? Zedd actually wanted to book Art for his Japan gig, but Art did not have enough time to secure a Japan visa back then.
4. Photography still thrives even in the age of video streaming. All of them agree that even if video streaming is gaining steam, photography can coexist with videos as both play different roles. “Photography offers visual contrast to the endless stream of video. It distills one moment,” Sara adds.
"Each has its own unique strengths that engages us differently," Jay says. While Art notes that videos go for a more in-depth analysis of the subject, Doc Marlon explains that photography makes people utilize our imagination. “A photo gives us just a fraction of our memory, thus allowing us to use our imagination and the rest of our memory to recreate our experiences.”
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Artwork by Jana Jimenez. Photographs from Shaira Luna, Art Oca, Niña Sandejas, Jay Tablante, Sara Black, and Instagram.com/andreoesguerra