Source issue 01

Page 1



the new standard of filipino photography


The Mission and Vision of LITRATO

DEVOTED TO ELEVATING THE LIVES OF FILIPINOS Litrato’s mission is elevate the lives of Filipinos through the powerful means of photography. To accomplish this, our vision is divided into three programs: Exposure, Outreach, and Resources. Litrato’s Exposure program is devoted to setting the standard of photography in the Philippines. We aim to provide photographers a space to showcase their work and have a broader audience. We want to promote knowledge on previously miscommunicated facts regarding photography. Lastly, we wish to inspire others to take up photography as a fine art: as an expression of themselves and the world around them. Litrato’s Outreach program aims to extend the opportunity of seeing reality from a different perspective to high school children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to that luxury by using photography as a tool. In return, we plan to equip them with a voice that we will help make louder with our Exposure program. Hopefully, with their voices seen and heard, Filipinos can then get a glimpse of the reality of their lives. We also want to teach people fundamental photography including the history of Filipino photography. Litrato’s Resource program plans to set up a community where photographers can share ideas, concepts and resources. We also wish to set up a space where photographers have access to affordable professional cameras. computers and printing.

Nicholai Go Chief Editor

Mary cris Nocedo Assistant Editor

Arturo Alli Art Director

Find and contact us at:

Michael Alegado Art Editor

Raniel Hernandez Technique Editor

Kathrina Paz Elefante Staff Writer

Maria Ogo Advertising







The photography experience on print

The birth of a new age in Philippine photography

Chosen works Eunice Arafiles Felix Quiogue Hubert Pacheco Julian van Heeswijck Kathleen Joven Mark Albert Olazo Mark Demayo Mary Cris Nocedo Mary Imbong Michael Alegado Nicholai David Go Chino Sardea Richard Bacolod Timothy Arafiles









Litrato reveals our first call for entries

Interviews with Januz Miralles and Michael Alegado

Learn the basics of photography

Note from our editor Nicholai Go


The Mission and Vision of SOURCE


There is no better place for photography to flourish than in the Philippines. The land, along with its rich history and multi-faceted culture, exposes any individual to the innate potential and power of great images, images waiting to be captured with a camera. It is in this notion of great and powerful images that can inspire a culture of change in and for the Philippines. At Source, it is a belief that photography extends beyond the mechanics of the camera, that it is an essential means of artistically exploring and experiencing visual possibilities. As such, this publication does well to recognize artistry in photography by selecting and showcasing the best works from local talent. Through its content, Source aims to create its own culture of change – to alter the way in which people view the world, one powerful image at a time. We present to you the culmination of creative collaboration, hard work and local artistic photography. Welcome to our gallery, welcome to Source.


FIRST EXHIBIT: GENESIS Gallery Opening Night Review by Eunice Arafiles Photographs by Nicholai Go

On the evening of March 28, 2014, Litrato opened its first photo exhibition, Genesis. It also marked the launch of Litrato. The photo gallery is part of the exposure program of Litrato, which hopes to showcase the work of photographers to a wider audience. In doing so, Litrato’s exposure program promotes the art of photography and encourages others to pursue photography in order to express themselves, capture the beauty of their surroundings, and showcase how they see things from their own perspective. Litrato’s first show featured the work of fourteen talented photographers namely, Chino Sardea, Eunice Arafiles, Felix Quiogue, Hubert Pacheco, Julian van Heeswijck, Kathleen Joven, Mark Demayo, Mark Olazo, Mary Cris Nocedo, Mary Imbong, Michael Alegado, Nicholai Go, Richard Bacolod, and Timothy Arafiles. This exhibit featured a wide range of photographs, each with its own story to tell the audience. Genesis is only the beginning and the first of the many photo exhibits that Litrato will organize to give many photographers a space to feature their work. The family, friends, colleagues of Litrato’s members, and other people who read and heard about the event attended the launch of Litrato, which is an open event. Many of the photographers and members of Litrato were also present. The conversations held during the event ranged from


the photographs on the wall, to the current status of photography in the Philippines. The stories behind each photograph were unfolded and the spectators expressed their different points of view about the photographs. The exchange in opinions was comprehensive and educational. With refreshments provided by Bar Dolci, the night was filled with great food and culture. The members of Litrato further explained the goals of the organization to guests who were curious as to the reasons the organization was formed. Moreover, the team and some of the guests discussed future projects and endeavors to develop photography, and to help others through photography. The guests were vital in providing feedback on how to improve our goals, making them just as important to the organization and movement, as the members themselves. The members of Litrato would like to express their gratitude to everyone who were able to visit the successful gallery launch and on the following days. For those who were not yet able to go to the exhibit, we would like to invite and encourage everyone to visit. We hope that many will share the same experience that we had in the midst of the different photographs. The venue of the first gallery is located in Bar Dolci at Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio, Philippines. You may visit the photo exhibit, which will be up until May 2014.


Litrato: Genesis Gallery Opening Night


Litrato: Genesis Gallery Opening Night



Expose yourself to the works from the members of LITRATO, a new age in Philippine photography.


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


It Will Take A While To Unbox Yourself “I build a space where I could hack and create freely whatever I want to do and turn it into something my eyes could see and my heart would feel. I create to communicate.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis

EUNICE ARAFILES Undivided Attention

“There are moments in life that do not last forever but with photography, we can immortalize these moments. We cannot hope to replicate the instances of people’s lives that are inspiring or powerful; but we can capture that instance and hopefully convey the feelings of the subject through the photograph. A photograph, a simple medium, can be the strongest way to share the lives of people that we do not see, hear or feel every day.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


Living in Parallel Worlds

“I share my daydreams through my photographs in hopes of making visible what is usually overlooked. I try with every intended shot to express the beauty of the impossible in the hope of inspiring others to let their imaginations take flight.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“To be enthralled by stories is to be transported into realms beyond what we can see and imagine. That’s what stories do. That’s what photographs do.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“There is beauty inherent in everything around us and photography allows me to capture and share the beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed. It is also a way of sharing my perspective of world both real and imagined. Photography has the powerful ability to influence the paradigm by which individuals view the world by giving viewers an alternate perspective by which to view it thus changing the way they interpret events and experiences.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“I take photos to show that there really is beauty in the simplest of things — things that we, more often than not, tend to pay little mind to. Photography is a powerful means of showing perspectives to change perspectives.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“I do photography in service to others by informing of the issues and events that happened or are happening around communities. An informed audience enables them to think or act on the issues, hopefully for the better.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“I love to create and give birth to something that didn’t exist before. I believe that change is inevitable whenever an individual acknowledges his feelings are worth expressing. Photography is my medium, light is my language.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“Photography is a form of an escape, a way to create your own reality, to not be afraid to be different and to express oneself. What you capture has to move you, it has to move someone, and it has to make that someone feel what you felt at that same moment that you click the shutter button. It is a continuous cycle of passion, emotion, and that never-ending desire to create.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“A photograph is a conversation between the artist and the rest of the world. The challenge isn’t always to show something beautiful. Most of the time it’s to say something that will give the other person something to think about, and, if you’re lucky, something to change. I take pictures because I want to start conversations, and photography allows me to speak a language that every culture will understand.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis

MICHAEL ALEGADO The Hazy Sillhouette

“Photography is the window to my imagination. I make images to portray different worlds. An image that can take the viewer out of reality and challenge their imaginations on the different possibilities.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis

NICHOLAI GO Live in a Dream

“I believe in the power of photography as a tool for change and often find it underutilized. It can be used to change perceptions, and sometimes that’s all you need to change lives. This in return, makes photography very dangerous when used incorrectly. My mission as a photographer is to steer it towards the right direction. My photography itself is a manifestation of that notion of power through the exploration of the human condition, what draws us in, what scares us, what makes us believe, and what makes us human. This in return, reflects our perception of reality and makes myself and the audience question. In my own process of questioning reality, I do not often just take photographs, I end up making them. “


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“I got into photography because of two reasons: My love for nature, and to share the beauty of it through photography. Photography teaches you to become confident, appreciative, and patient. It teaches you how to become open minded and more aware of what life offers, both good and bad.”


Litrato’s 1st Exhibit: Genesis


“I take photographs not to show what reality is but instead to portray how I perceive reality. The ability to add glamour to mundane scenes does not twist the truth; it merely presents another truth, a truth which I wish to share with other people.”



a new age in filipino photography

APRIL 14 - MAY 3, 2014



Entrants must be at least 15 years of age. Entrants may only submit work that was produced after April 2009. Entrants must be able to attend the launch on May 2014. Submissions can only come directly from artists and not agents or representatives.



maximum of 5 images with a title and short caption, and an artist statement of about 250 words.

No exceptions are made for late submissions.

Starting April 14, 2014 email with the following:

Photographers retain copyrights to all images submitted. Litrato reserves the right to reject entries that are not submitted properly.

To be eligible, all entries must be received from April 14 until May 3, 2014.

Final results will be released at the beginning of May. The exhibition launches on May 2014.




Litrato will provide a space for the photographers to showcase their work in one of Manila’s leading restaurants,

Mary Imbong Account Executive at McCann Worldgroup Marketing, Executive Board at Litrato

Finalists must provide their own printing and framing, and attend the launch of the gallery show on May 2014.

Will also provideNewsletters and advertising to promote the show.

Nicholai David Go Owner of Bar Dolci, Internationally awarded photographer, Executive Board at Litrato

Jeremiah Manalili Former Creative Director of Agenda Magazine, Illustrator/Designer for The New Paper.


Written by Kathleen Elefante

Januz Miralles a.k.a. Nuestra creates hybrid digital art that are ghostly and evocative, a product of merging photography, digital manipulation and painting. When he was younger, his mother would sign him up for art contests and have always been in the company of artistic people. His interest in photography started when his aunt lent him her camera and he started out taking photographs for digital art. It was in 2008 when he started creating images that depict distorted yet strangely ethereal womanly figures, which are all inspired by his mother. Rendered in neutral colors and the occasional burst of red, the combination of brush strokes and textures make these images fraught with mystery. His work has already been featured in international art publications and he has been part of several group exhibitions abroad which includes art galleries The Unit London and WeAreVoid Gallery in Amsterdam. Moreover, he had his first solo exhibit at Baut Amsterdam last October 2013.


Litrato asks him a few questions about his work, inspiration and artistic goals:



In Focus: Januz Miralles

What is your process of taking/ making photographs? I usually shoot to edit; sometimes I shoot only in black and white. How often do you photograph? Only twice a year now, sometimes just once a year. Now I can only take pictures when borrowing someone’s camera. Who are some of the artists that you look up to and inspire you? A lot. Mostly filmmakers: Andrei Tarkovsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jan Švankmajer, sometimes Anthony Bourdain when I’m hungry.

What do you think of the photography scene in the Philippines? We’re all thieves here; stealing without style. We only care about whether or not something looks good at a glance and we don’t bother knowing what the story is. We all aspire to be clones of Araki or Terry Richardson and we’ve lost interest in experimenting or taking chances. Find Januz and his work:

What is your personal mantra? How do you apply this to your creative work? A quiet place and a liter of coffee along with good music that speaks to my current mood. What kind of music inspires you? It depends on the mood. When I’m making art it’s usually sludge and doom metal – Om, Sleep, Electric Wizard, Malicious Birth, etc. I also listen to Electronic and New Wave, and of course 70’s to 90’s OPM like Asin, Sampaguita, Salidummay, Pinikpikan. What are your photography goals for the year and long-term goals, if any? I guess, first of all, I need to get my own camera, because I have to borrow from someone else in order to work. My long-term goal is to keep making original art.


IN FOCUS: MICHAEL ALEGADO An autodidact photographer Written by Kathleen Elefante

Mike Alegado is a self-taught photographer who started with his 365-day project on Flickr in 2013. A college drop-out, Mike has always been an autodidact (he knows Japanese and Korean) and had an interest in creative work. He spent his time editing photos and designing websites before he discovered the realm of photography. He learned photography mostly through online tutorials and a lot of experimenting (with his friends, including the author, as subjects). Within the same year, he had his first exhibit at Bar Dolci’s Photo Gallery and has since been featured in international publications. His work entitled Enraged has also been exhibited at DDA Factory in Cagliari, Italy. We get to know more about Mike in our short interview where he shares his dream location, mantra and personal thoughts about photography:



In Focus: Michael Alegado

When did you start photography? What got you started? I started photography in early 2013, around January. I was in that stage in my life where I was looking into other options for a career. I have always been fascinated with photography and photographing people but it wasn’t until I bought my own DSLR that I aimed to pursue a career in photography. At first, it was about having the determination for a career but turned into something even bigger, which is passion in creating art. What is your process of taking/ making photographs? It is different every time I would go out for a shoot. Sometimes I would sketch out ideas and other times it would be just me, my camera and tripod in the middle of nowhere. I mostly do self-portraits mainly because of its convenience. I would gladly work with a model but that would require thorough planning, more than I usually do. There are some advantages of shooting selfportraits and one would probably be the freedom that I have. I am also able to better express what I have in my mind for a particular concept. There are also some disadvantages to this as I am limited to what I can do for a particular concept, which could be done better if I have a model to work with. After the shoot, there is the second important part of the process which is post-processing. I use Photoshop as a way to convey and execute my chosen concept and at the same time make the simple shot into something otherworldly.


How often do you photograph? I usually go immediately for a shoot once I know I can execute a concept. I go out to shoot on different locations every week. I try to explore different locations that I don’t know and find inspiration from these. Who has served as your inspirations? When I was starting out, I found the work of Alex Stoddard and was blown away by the work that he has done. As I looked for more inspiration, I found more amazing photographers that create art and expressions through their work. One of those artists is Brooke Shaden, She is a constant inspiration for everybody and her work is fantastic. Another photographer that I like is Miss Aniela or Natalie Dybisz. Both of these photographers probably have changed the way that I view photography – it isn’t just about capturing moments. It goes beyond that and it can also be a means to produce art. What is your personal mantra? How do you apply this to your creative work? Don’t give in to fear. Fear is something that everyone feels one time or another but let me just say that it’s something that blocks creativity. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes because those mistakes will make you grow. Don’t fear the unknown and discover new things! What kind of music inspires you? Mostly it’s a lot of different things but artists that inspire me are Lana

del Ray, Daughter, Sigur ros and Ólafur Arnalds to name a few. These are the types of music I usually listen to while I’m editing. What are your photography goals for the year and long-term goals? For short term goals it’s mostly creating more work and getting my work out there while saving up for a better camera body. A long term goal would be being able to teach workshops about fine art photography. Do you think photography can cause social change? I think everyday photography causes change in people in big ways but they just don’t know it. For example, a single image can stir a person’s emotion depending on the content of that photo, which is a very powerful thing. The only problem is that photography has been a part of people’s lives for so long that they have forgotten the importance of it. What do you think of the photography scene in the Philippines? I would say that there are so many talented photographers in the Philippines. At the same time, there is a lack of education on photography since there are only a few universities that offer it and it isn’t a priority on the lower levels of education. Due to this, the view on photography is quite shallow so there isn’t enough broader understanding of how much photography can be. How people perceive it as a medium is still limited.


CLASSROOM: GET STARTED A step-by-step guideline Written by Timothy Arafiles

With the rise of camera phones, affordable digital cameras, and photo-sharing apps over the past couple of years, getting into photography has never been easier. People are now offered a plethora of options not only with taking photographs, but also sharing them to others. Though these options may be seen as a blessing by those already in the field for a long time, they may at the same time appear intimidating to newcomers and beginners. This need not be the case: by observing the following guidelines, one should be shooting and sharing pictures in no time.

First step: have a desire to learn, and a vision to execute It is easy to fall into the belief that gear and equipment will drive your photographic career, and the lack of is a barrier to success. This cannot be farther from the truth. Desire and vision to photograph are the most important tools one can have to gain success in photography; regardless of whether one aims to shoot photographs as a full-time profession or simply learn how to take visually appealing snapshots as a past-time. Having a desire to learn will constantly help an individual not only get the basics down, but also in growing in one’s selected field of photography. Having a vision will not only guide a photographer with the execution of a photo, but also help direct one to his own style and story. These qualities will ultimately guide a photographer from the start to the end of one’s career.


Second step: have something that can take photographs The most important point to note about this step is that the device can be anything that takes photos. While dSLRS and compact interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) offer better control over settings, any camera is more than enough to start with. Film cameras are also helpful to learn the basics at it forces you to understand the mechanics of a camera. Most smart-phones are delivered with built-in cameras, and chances are there are there’s a point and shoot lying around the house. There are numerous options and as long as it’s capable of taking photographs, you can become a photographer. Third step: have the knowledge to operate your device Not every camera is the same, and some may have controls which hugely differ from others. No matter

what camera you have, there are tutorials online or a manual for it. Learn how to use your tool first. Having vision is just the first part of being successful; the other is being able to competently represent that vision in a photograph. To learn the tools, is to equip yourself with ways to express yourself, becoming more literate in the language of photography. Fourth step: have a voice Just as there are a limitless range of tools, there are many topics in photography that can be explored as well: landscape, portrait, street, macro, and the list goes on. While seasoned photographers tend to focus on one or two of these fields, it is important for starting photographers to experiment with everything. It is encouraged to try out different subjects and see which one raises one’s interest the most. The more you experiment, the easier it is to find your own individual voice.

Last step: have someplace to share your photographs While it is perfectly acceptable to keep photographs to one’s self, it seems like such a waste for them not to be appreciated. Share photographs with others: a good starting place would be staple social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Sharing not only allows peers to appreciate one’s work; it also allows for constructive criticism and opinions which can be used to improve succeeding photos.

There’s more to photography than what can be learned in a day, but in following the steps above, exploring this medium can prove to be less daunting and more of an enjoyable experience.

Fifth step: take a photograph Finally, here comes the time for the photograph to be taken. Take the creative vision, recall the technical aspects, and capture the subject of choice. In photography, no amount of research and studying can replace practice. There is no secret to improving your photography. You just have to pick up a camera and shoot. When you are not shooting, expose yourself to photography. Taking a photograph isn’t just about clicking the shutter button. Just by exposing yourself to photographs in the internet, in books, or in galleries, you are in a way taking photographs. Your mind curates and chooses which photographs you are attracted to. Understanding why you’re attracted to these photographs and the photographs themselves is key to understanding your own craft.


CLASSROOM: DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY Ten Basic Tips Writing and photographs by Eunice Arafiles

For the past few years, I have heard quite a lot of people saying that they need the latest expensive camera or DSLR in order for them to produce good pictures. I have compiled several basic digital photography tips that I have learned from other photographers and from my own experience to make us understand that a person is capable of shooting meaningful and quality photographs by using any type of camera available to them.

Find a point of interest. Photographs are interesting because of many different factors. When shooting a photo, you can use colors, shapes, patterns or details as your point of interest. You can include many different objects with a certain point of interest. It does not always have to be a single object.

Hold the camera properly. Try your best to keep the camera stable. When a camera shakes, the photo becomes blurred and unclear. You can avoid camera shake by supporting the camera with both hands and keeping your shoulders near your body. At times, you may also use a tripod and other sturdy objects to keep your camera stable. Find a focal point. For each photograph, you must choose a focal point. It may be a person, an object or a place. Your focal point can also be a subject that is located in the foreground of the photo or even the background of the photo. Before shooting, think about what you want to highlight and show in your photograph.


Think of lighting. Lighting is very important in photographs. The right combination of lights and shadows can make a photo beautiful, but wrong lighting can destroy a potentially beautiful photograph. The correct amount of darkness or brightness of light in a photo can enhance your photo and put the right focus on your subject.

Find the right timing. There will be times when you have to wait for the right timing in order to shoot a specific photo, but there will be also times that when you have to be quick in order to capture what you want. Try to think about the photo that you want to produce instead of merely shooting in order to produce a photo. Try to experiment when shooting photos. Approach the subjects in different ways in every shot. Shoot from different perspectives such as up high or down low. Get close to your subject or step back to get a wide-angle shot. Experiment with different camera settings. Try different things instead of shooting the same thing every single time.

Remember the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is the process if dividing the frame in three parts horizontally and vertically, producing nine imaginary sections. Place your subjects in certain sections or along certain lines that you have made, and not necessarily place the subject in the center of the photograph. This is a helpful photography tip that beginners and professionals use alike. It is helpful when shooting portraits, landscapes and any other subject.

randomly shot with no purpose behind it. When people see a photo with a story, they may look at it twice or even more in order to think, evaluate and discuss about the story behind the photograph.

Get the balance between photographing people, places and things. Try to explore different subjects instead of focusing on the same thing all the time. Some examples of types or categories of photography are the following: architecture, event, fashion, food, landscape, portrait, sports, street, and travel photography.

you need to adjust and improve on. Furthermore, try to look at the output of other photographers. Study them and you will also learn from their style of shooting.

Create a photo with a story. Try to create a photo with a story behind. A photo with a story is more meaningful compared to a photo

Review the images. After taking photos, take time to sit down, review the photos and evaluate them. Try to take note of the good points as well as the negative ones so that on the next time you will shoot, you already know what

The type of camera that you use will certainly affect the photo that you will produce, but remember that it is not all about the camera. Focus more about you as the photographer.


Editor’s Note


Growing up in the Philippines and then having the great blessing and opportunity to study abroad in Rhode Island School of Design, I have been able to develop an international understanding of photography. Employing this on my own photography, I have been able to achieve much including multiple international awards and accolades. This could not have been possible without my childhood experiences in the Philippines. The stark contrast of the photographic environment between the Philippines and the United States has pushed me to genuinely research and understand photography. I then came to realize the power of photography and imagery, and the impact it can have on a society. It then made me question how exactly that power has been cultivated and used within the Philippines. After much contemplation on imagery and photography in the Philippines, I have realized just how destructive and unsympathetic the environment is. Most have adhered and conformed to this visual style that doesn’t lend itself to meaning other than what it simply represents. In simple terms, it is what we see as “commercial photography”. I want to resist that description because of my belief that art and commercial do not need to be different. However, the reality is that these photographs are flat and does not encourage anything above superficial interpretations, and in return, the mass have no need to question them. In addition to that, due to the over saturation of said style, the mass have become accustomed and regard it as the standard of good photography. How can fine art photography exist in that context? With Source, I want to extend this understanding and questioning towards every Filipino, as the influx of images overwhelm us on a daily basis. I implore you to not be afraid to question and act upon it. We at Litrato and Source do just that. We aren’t satisfied with the current environment and photographic paradigm and have chosen to take a stand, a new standard in Filipino photography. However, do not be mistaken that we are stating what good photography is, we are simply creating a space in where that can be developed, cultivated, and come into question. 42