Many might think that photography isn’t art. After all, you just aim and press the shutter, right? It isn’t anything like spending days waiting for a painting to dry, or carving and sanding away at a sculpture. Well, you could say that plenty of photographers put in just as much work as a painter or a sculptor would when they make their art, and this year’s Art Fair might be inclined to agree with that by putting photographs in the limelight this time around, dedicating almost an entire floor to photography exhibits!
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Here are some of those photo exhibits that caught our eye:
1. “A calm in the middle of a storm” by Poklong Anading with Julius Baer
Conceptual artist Poklong Anading talks about sustainability and the environment with this exhibit, where he photographed people wearing plastic bags on their heads to show the ways plastic bags end up being reused, but also still suffocate us even with our best efforts and intentions.
2. Kawayan de Guia with Bio|Trans|Forms
As part of an exhibit where artists were invited to explore different ways of approaching photography, Baguio-based Kawayan de Guia took to experimenting with multiple exposures with his works here, combining these photos-on-photos with found objects from around the area to bring a sense of the ethereal and mysterious with the photos that he took.
3. “I came like water and like wind I go” by Dianne Rosario
It feels like a solemn hush falls over the people who see Dianne Rosario’s exhibit here, which, if you look at it without paying much attention, is just a collection of random objects, like a bullet casing, a moth, or an old family altar. Looking at the title and the writeup brings the stories of these photos out: these are all symbols of death and family, expressing, in her own words, that “photographs are whispers exchanged between generations.”
4. "Self Portraits and the Tropical Gothic" by Wawi Navarroza with Silverlens Photo
In this exhibition by Silverlens regular Wawi Navarroza, the effort of dissecting her conceptions of self as "a confusing amalgam of referents as Filipino, as female, as Asian, as worldly trans-national sponge" is put to task by her photographs here, where she reimagines herself as both model and photographer throughout art history, using the objects these photos to show the complexities of trying to unpack her identity.
5. “Shadow Earth” by Emmanuel Tolentino Santos with Art Porters Gallery
By inserting an astronaut into scenes like farm work, empty fields, or next to the ocean, these hand-colored film photographs by Emmanuel Tolentino Santos attempt to highlight what he thinks is a world and a way of life that’s disappearing, being taken over and left to become a curiosity to be explored by people from the "modern world" that this astronaut represents.
6. “Don’t Sweep at the Wake” by Neo Maestro with Load na Dito Projects
Neo Maestro travelled all over Asia for this piece, where he met all sorts of people on his travels and sat down to meals with them as they told him ghost stories. All the photos in this exhibition are of his travels and the people he met, and free copies of all the ghost stories he heard were available at the exhibit space!
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Photos by Corinne Garcia