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Photography, as a medium, has the power to capture moments, convey emotions, and tell stories. For one photographer, their journey began not with a single defining moment but with a gradual immersion into the world of imagery and art. In this BLNC FACETS, we explore the personal experiences, inspirations, and projects of a passionate photographer who has dedicated themselves to the craft. From finding inspiration in fashion and sub-cultural art forms to championing women's empowerment, their work reflects a unique artistic vision and a commitment to storytelling.

What first drew you to photography as a medium, and how did you get started in your career?

-I don't think there was a singular moment that made me decide to pursue photography, it wasn't a sudden lightbulb moment. It was more of a slow realization brought about by my growing interest and gradual exposure to the world of photography--which I attribute to having signed up on Tumblr in 2008 and discovering a whole world of fashion, photography, and all sorts of sub-cultural artforms. It was what led me to picking up the camera for the first time. I started photographing everything and anything. So much so that it easily became a routine. It also didn't hurt that my best friend shared the same interest and convinced me to pursue it. I never stopped shooting from then on. Later, I realized photography has become a part of me.

Can you talk about a specific project or series of photographs that you're particularly proud of, and what inspired it?

- I have done a lot of projects that are close to my heart but my recent one, BULAWAN : A photo series, is pretty special to me. It's a photo series sharing my love for my province -- Northern Samar through fashion and photography. When I think of Northern Samar, I see gold (Bulawan). Its dreamy landscapes and beautiful beaches have always been my playground. It's a big part of who I am, especially in my creative journey.

How do you approach the creative process of photography, from concept development to execution and editing?

I don't have a certain approach when it comes to my process. But I usually start with an element. May it be a fashion trend, an experience, a person, or a song. Then I work around it. I plan everything -- the mood, the direction, and even the editing.

Who are some photographers, either contemporary or historical, who have influenced your work or inspire you?

I am inspired by a lot of artists both local & international. But Petra Collins' work is such a big inspiration and influence in what I do. Her dreamlike style and her take on femininity and womanhood are just some of the things I admire about her and her work.

How do you stay inspired and motivated to continue pursuing photography, particularly in an increasingly competitive industry?

What I usually do is stay curious and hungry for learning. I see photography as something that is constantly evolving. And I think being curious and adaptive to these changes can help you grow as an artist. I also try to surround myself with art and explore different art forms. And I think what keeps me doing what I do is my driving force: the need for more female representation.

How do you navigate the balance between artistic vision and commercial viability in your work?

Balancing between artistic vision and commercial viability in my work isn't the easiest thing. Aside from doing fashion and portraits, I am also an event and wedding photographer. And it's tough, especially when your clients' wants aren't exactly aligned with your artistic style. But over the years, I've learned how to navigate through it. I usually find a common ground. Find the styles that resonate with both my personal creative expression and what my clients want. It is also essential to establish your style with your clients and set expectations. There are times where I'd have to compromise my style to accommodate my clients' demands. And I think being flexible and being adaptive really helps.

Can you talk about any upcoming projects or works that you're excited about?

I have been planning some personal shoots in collaboration with local artists but I've been swamped with work lately so it's still in the works!

How do you approach representation and diversity in your photography, particularly in terms of showcasing a range of perspectives and experiences?

If there's one thing that has always pushed me to keep shooting, it's my advocacy for empowering women and giving them something to feel confident about. Women empowerment has always been a big part of my art. It’s the inspiration, the process, but mostly the end-goal. I would say it's the driving force behind my work: the need for representing women in my work in the ways I can. The nuances, the beauty, the struggles, and the strength of being a woman, it is an ever-present inspiration for me to keep creating. I like to constantly try to show the fragility of beauty standards in my photos. Physical beauty can be found everywhere, even in the most unexpected places and faces. I feel it's only right for me as an artist to direct my lens to underappreciated traits that we need to love more. Mostly because that's the kind of beauty I identify with. I've made it a mission to put the spotlight on local women in my photos, with minimal to no frills.

What role do you see photography playing in capturing and documenting current events and social issues?

For me, I believe photography plays a big role in storytelling, raising awareness, and sharing advocacies. It can initiate meaningful conversations and foster dialogue around social issues. Which I think is much needed now more than ever. It’s a platform where you can help in shining light and bring change to social issues.

What advice do you have for other young photographers who are just starting out in their careers?

The things I’d like to share to budding artists are: Develop your taste and find your own, unique aesthetic. Convey a message, create an artistic identity, and know what you want to say in your work. Build trust with everyone you work with. Learn to embrace criticism. And lastly, have fun!


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