Google Google+ Philippine Photography Blog: 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Under the Lord's Shadows

Under the Lord's Shadows 
A Photo and Multimedia Exhibit
Kanto Artists-Run Space at The Collective, 7274 Malugay Street, San Antonio Village Makati, Philippines
November 23, 2011 at 4pm

Maguindanao is a place where people flee their homes in the middle of the night to escape the fury of conflict; where children crawl under running mills for morsels of corn; where 58 people are massacred under a glistening sun to keep a ruling clan in power; where babies endure the damp earth of makeshift evacuation shelters; where young men are trained to kill to protect the mighty and the powerful.

Greed and power brought outsiders to Mindanao, taking advantage of those in far-flung areas and in the remotest communities. The island’s geographical distance from the rest of the country made it easy for ruling clans to plunder its resources and abuse its people. The powers-that-be spawned wars to justify armaments and their slice of the trillion-a-year national budget. The evacuees are forced on the run to escape manufactured conflicts.

For decades, the government supported and funded ruling families that could tighten the national government’s grip on power. Mindanao represents the decades-old problems of feudalism, greed and poverty gripping the Philippines. What is happening in the rest of the country is happening in the island tenfold. The ruling clans remain in power, living comfortably inside sprawling mansions, surrounded by their very own gun-wielding private armies.

Outside these fortresses, the people of Maguindanao go on with their daily struggle to earn a living. Their lives are at a standstill. They will flee when there is conflict and they will bury their dead when bullets overtake them. At harvest season, their hungry children will crawl under the mills for leftover kernels of corn.

Under the Lord’s Shadows is part of a Jes Aznar’s long-term documentary project in Mindanao. His project on the issue of land and feudalism in the Philippines led him to the island of Mindanao. Far away from the seat of power and urbanization, it's an island where our society's social, political, and economic conditions are magnified tenfold.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FOTO A FOTO. A Portrait of Spain

The exhibit offers sixty snapshots taken by fifteen of the best Spanish photographers who, from the middle of the last century up to the present, have carried out their work starting from their personal approaches and visions that differ not only in the content but also in the aesthetic way of addressing the representation.

Photographers included in the exhibition are: Israel Ariño, José Manuel Ballester, Jordi Bernadó, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, Francesc Catalá-Roca, Alberto García-Alix, Gonzalo Juanes, Fernando Manso, Ángel Marcos, Ramón Masats, Juan Millás, José Manuel Navia, Txema Salvans, Marta Soul and Miguel Trillo.

The exhibit will run from 25 October 2011 until January 14 2012, at Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Monday to Sunday from 9am – 6pm (closed Sundays, holidays and every first Monday of the month).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Delhi Photo Festival 2011

Delhi Photo Festival 2011, with the theme Affinity, is an initiative of the India Habitat Centre & Nazar Foundation to bring photography, the real democratic art form, into the public space, thereby creating awareness of photographic arts and initiating dialogue amongst its many practitioners and lovers. Apparently, submission is now closed. 

For more details, visit Delhi Photo Festival 2011 website.  - a showcase for Filipino photographers who have come together because we think that collaboration begets creativity. We are looking for opportunities for collaborative work with anyone who is willing and able. 

Found via Stella Kalaw

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Benjamin Füglister on his Expat Photo Book Project

Dennis Rito: Can you provide a short background of yourself, your photographic practice? Why you do what you do?

Benjamin Füglister: Although I was never trained as a photographer, I focused on photography since the age of 10 during my studies, practically and theoretically. What always intrigued me was the influence of the photographic media on our society and its immediacy. I also like the fact that photography has a very broad audience due to its broad appliance in everyday life.

DR: You mean people can easy relate to photography as they are used to the media, right?

BF: Exactly, even though photo literacy is not very widely spread, people feel very comfortable dealing with photographic images. They are not afraid to express their thoughts on photographs unlike
i.e. paintings, which make it easy to evoke discussions.

DR: How did you come up of doing the Expat project

BF: When traveling – especially in the Philippines – it is unavoidable to meet them. The tanned western guys that seem to live what oneself calls a vacation. Being a Swiss expat in Germany myself, talking to them made me curious of how they end up living the way they live and what their dreams and dilemmas were and what challenges they encounter.

DR: Can you share what the impetus behind the project was and the challenges you encounter?

BF: In the western world, living in a tropical country on an island for relatively little money is conceived paradise. Having met expats earlier, I had the feeling that they did not live the life they had in mind when they left their countries. I was personally curious to find out whether I could live my life as an expat in the Philippines and what challenges and dangers were. Starting the interviews it was unexpectedly difficult to find expats that were willing to participate and especially be photographed. It seemed that they were not necessarily proud of their way of living. Many were suspicious towards my interest in their life and did not see the point in giving an interview to someone that was not from the press or did pay any money. Some did not believe there was no hidden agenda and therefore rejected.

DR: Your subject’s suspicion towards you conducting an interview with fellow Expats sounds ironic to me as a Filipino. Though I too have experienced that, but as compared to the locals, Filipinos in general are more trusting and quite friendly. Where do you think their suspicion is coming from? 

BF: I believe being an Expat in the Philippines is quite difficult to understand why anyone is interested in their life. It takes a lot of abstraction to understand that one can see more than just the physical appearance of a person in general. I know that leaving your own country to go and live in the Philippines often is a kind of an escape and therefore one might not be interested in reflecting on how one really ended up at the place and the way one lives. The reason to emigrate was often to get away from too much control and surveillance by society in their home country.

DR: Do you originally envision your project to be shown in any other formats? Or were there anything you encountered along the way that made you decide to publish your project in book format? In any case, what are they?

BF: EXPAT was always planned as a book. In my work I always know from the start in what way it will be presented in the end. This is very important as it influences the way of working tremendously. During book presentations I also show prints 100 x 70 cm to contrast the passport size format of the book.

DR: Are there issues that have a great deal of impact on your work? What are they?

BF: I am usually motivated by social issues. It interests me to learn how people live and what their motivation is in life. My projects are always motivated by the desire to understand concepts of minds.

DR: I noticed that your Expat project was in monochrome is there a particular reason for that?

BF: By doing it in monochrome I intend to equalize the first sight appearance of the portrayed.

DR: I would like to relate your project in the context of the current labor export the Philippines is engaged in. While Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipino migrants leave the Philippines for economic reasons, I too wonder, why Expats decided to settle here in spite of our country being classified as a “third world.” Any insights on that?

BF: As a westerner one is always confronted with that question in the Philippines. I guess the human kind is always longing for what it does not have. Therefore western people decide to settle in the Philippines. We feel attracted by a life with seemingly less rules and boundaries. There appears to be more space for ideas and businesses and the pressure of earning money to survive is lower. Conducting the interviews with expats that moved to the Philippines by their free will other than expats employed by multinational companies in the Philippines or working for embassies taught me that it can be very different from what one might think it is.

These western men usually did not work in the beginning but after a few months or sometimes even years they realize that living in a country and being a tourist are not the same. It is very likely that one ends up in poverty as one is no longer just a guest but has to integrate and learn about the Filipino culture and mentality. Being an expat myself, I can easily relate to these issues even though the differences are smaller yet they still follow the same pattern.

DR: This is not to compare, but it seems that the Expat project has a close parallelism to Isadora Tast’s project titled “Mother India- Searching for a Place.” Aside from the project treatment and execution, I wonder how was your work differ with hers? 

BF: We followed different approaches in different countries portraying differently motivated expatriates. I tried to isolate the persons from their environment as much as possible and give the reader of my book the possibility to imagine the environment by reading the interviews I conducted. I also portrayed single persons and not families as I believe the result of the interview is a very different one. Isadora’s project is more a documentary work focusing on portraits of expatriates in their environment. She follows a more poetic approach.  

DR: I heard you’ve been preparing for an upcoming exhibition in the Philippines this year. Can you share what is it all about?

BF: Yes, I am preparing for a show in Manila. EXPAT will certainly be a part of it  I am always eager to have feedback from the people I photographed and to see how the counterpart – in the case of EXPAT, the Filipinos – react to my work. 

DR: Lastly, can you share some personal insights in pursuing personal photographic projects?

BF: In my case projects are born during a process of many month when I research and talk to people about some rough idea that is reshaped through this process over and over again. And then all of a sudden it is time to convert the thoughts into images. Usually one project leads to another. In the case of EXPAT the foregoing project was REMEMBER, which I started in 1999. So sometimes it can even be years not just months before a project comes to an end.

See more of Benjamin Füglister's work here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Km0 (Kilometer Zero) Side by Side: Photo and video projects in public spaces

May 4 to June 4, 2011
Quezon Memorial Circle

The French Embassy in the Philippines and the Quezon City Government, together with the Alliance française de Manille and the Niepce Museum in France, are organizing a photography and video exhibit to be held at the Quezon Memorial Circle. The exhibit is part of FrancoPhil, the 2011 French cultural season in the Philippines.

Giant photo installations featuring the work of Filipino photographer Jake Versoza and French photographer Charles Freger will be placed throughout the park for an entire month, from May 4 until June 4, 2011. Versoza will exhibit black and white portraits of the women of the Kalinga tribe dressed in their traditional costumes and displaying the extensive traditional tattoos of their tribe. Freger, on the other hand, will showcase the bright colors and energetic dances of the Filipino performers at this year’s recently concluded Sinulog festival. Filipino director Raya Martin is also slated to show a short silent film revolving around the fitness theme.

Mayor Bautista sees the project as a great opportunity to showcase the attractiveness of the Quezon Memorial Circle as a unique venue for public events. “The QMC has undergone several transformations in recent years. We want people to see it as more than just an ordinary park but as a venue where people can engage in all sorts of activities like concerts, film showing, poetry reading, conferences while enjoying the natural amenities of the park,” he said.

As a public park that attracts around 10,000 visitors on weekdays and 20,000 on weekends, the Quezon Memorial Circle is the perfect venue for bringing artistic photography to the general Filipino public, and to raise awareness of the richness and variety of local cultures. Different echos of the project will take place all around the City.

Quezon Memorial Circle is the heart of the park system of Quezon City, as envisioned by the City’s planners. It is a 25.37 hectare national park first reserved as the central park by a proclamation of President Elpidio Quirino in 1949, at the time when the plan was to make Quezon City the capital of the Philippines. Now, QMC is best known as home to the shrine, museum and remains of the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth and founder of Quezon City, Manuel Luis Quezon, and his wife, Aurora Aragon.

Aside from the Quezon City Government, other sponsors of the FrancoPhil cultural program include Total, Air France KLM, Daniel Hechter, L’Oréal Philippines, VEOLIA Water, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Supply Oilfield Services, Marithé François Girbaud, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Philam Life, ROS Music Center, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Chameleon Association, Rustan’s, Sinulog Foundation, Waterfront Cebu Hotel and Casino, Fashion Watch and Jewelmer, as well as official media partners Manila Bulletin, Sense & Style, Net 25 and DZRJ.

Exhibition Schedule
Main Exhibit: Quezon Memorial Circle: May 4 to June 4, 2011

Micro Events:
Ayala Museum: May 5 to 12, 2011
6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. (May 5) and 9:00 p.m. (May 12)

Silverlens Gallery: May 4 to June 4, 2011
2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City

Manila Collective: May 4 to June 4, 2011
Shop 6, Cubao X (formerly Marikina Shoe Expo), General Romulo Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City

Alliance Française de Manille: May 4 to June 4, 2011
209 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel Air II, Makati City

with Francois Cheval of The Niepce Museum
5 May 2011, 5pm
Ayala Museum Lobby

In his lecture, Cheval will address the way western photographers paid attention to faces and bodies in 19th century photography. Pictures from the Niepce Museum collection will illustrate the  lecture

For inquiries, please call 757-7117 to 21 loc. 33 or email

Images: (left) Jake Versoza, (right) Charles Fréger

Related Links:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

EcoLOGIC: Nature Being Art

The common denominator between the artists involved in this group exhibition at the Baguio Museum is that everyone is an advocate (but not limited to) promoting ecological/environmental issues by way of the arts. Lamentable as it is as the Philippine Art Scene continues to witness the disillusion or suspicion on the “phasic” nature of the local arts by the alleged dominance of a particular style or genre of art making; that the term ecological/environmental art (no matter how contemporary the ecological/environmental issue is) has continued to be relegated to the impression of the flora, the fauna and the landscape. It has continued to remain the nativist strain of Filipino aesthetics; marginalized from the perspective of “indigenous art” or the art done in the regions and provinces; thus has to take the backseat.

In this group exhibition, the works showcased are not merely the presentation of the traditional landscapes, flora and/or fauna. The artworks focus on the more elemental side of nature (air, water, fire, metal, earth). The works center when the “landscape” is in a state of flux or transformation. Therefore we focus on the character. The artworks convey nature at very unique or unusual moments, thus capturing the sense of a place. These critical and temporal settings provide a sense of the majestic mythic persona that mother-nature hardly ever unveil. We seek out and expound the consequential when an environment resonates with the human spirit and we try to communicate these moments poetically.

The artists in the exhibit include William Antonio, Ral Arrogante, Aaron Bautista, JCrisanto Martinez, Wayan Narra, Andy Orencio, Christian Regis, Dennis Rito, and Marga Rodriguez. In this exhibit, the artists work with varied format-sized multi-media to convey and capture the contemporary scope.

EcoLOGIC (NatureBeingArt) is curated by JCrisanto Martinez. It opens at The Baguio Museum on April 8, 2011 at 3:0 p.m. and shall be on view until April 29, 2011. The Baguio Museum is located at the DOT Compound, Governor Pack Road, Baguio City, 2600 Philippines. For inquiries about the EcoLOGIC artworks and the exhibition, please contact Ms. Gemma Gardingan at (6374) 444.75.41, sms at (+63) 915.655.06.68, or thru email at Further inquiries about the artists and the artworks can be coursed thru sms at (+63) 922.331.41.08, or via email at
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