Wednesday, February 02, 2005
One Big Crazy Family
'Buhay Pinoy Photog' family picture, Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines, February 1, 2005
I was feeling like a literal pingpong ball traversing three different areas of the city yesterday, from Quezon City to Makati in the morning before noon to drop off a photo job to a client, then back on the MRT to Quezon Avenue station hopping on a cab en route to the University of the Philippines' Vargas Museum for a photojournalists' discussion forum titled 'Buhay Pinoy Photog' where I was joined by photographers Jimmy Domingo (Philippine Center for Photojournalism), Dennis Sabangan (European Pressphoto Agency), Ernie Sarmiento (chief photographer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer), Joan Bondoc and Raffy Lerma also of the Inquirer and along with Mon Acasio, Sonny Yabao, Alex Baluyut, Melvyn Calderon, Luis Liwanag, Ed Valenciano, Lito Ocampo and others who made it yesterday to the interesting three-hour talk to students and guests. We talked about photo issues on copyrights, online blogging and website presence, the whole film to digital transition this field is going through now, the gender issue of more women photographers entering the photojournalism fray, and more. In conjunction with the ongoing 'Isang Litrato Ka Lang' Exhibit on the third floor of the museum, there was plenty on everyone's plate to start the discussions with, and I hoped all those who attended were able to pick up a thing or two about how life is like for the Filipino photojournalist or photographer nowadays.
This was followed by a sunset happy hour powwow at the campus' PCED hostel, where we all needed to quench dry mouth disease with cold beers and tokwa (tofu). This group of photographer-journalists are a literal family of varying, raucous opinion. Everytime you get a bunch of us together, you are in for some of the most intense exchanges of loud stories, pain-inducing laughter, technicolor cursing and swearing, and the unique viewpoint that can only come from a Filipino photojournalist. It is a veritable brother and sisterhood of shared experience, as if we were all still like little kids on the block with that view from the street that only those who know the happiness and feeling of discovering facts and vision for the first time, can ever relate to. But this time, knowing and seeing the world for what it is, at its highest and lowest -- and all points in -between. And no matter how long or how recent we've just spent time with or away from each other, we pick up where we left off solidly aware and conscious of the sacred code, which is knowing that no one amongst us will ever leave each other behind.
This is why when others ask, why are these people so damned livid and passionately crazy and happy? I feel somewhat sorry that they don't know the answer to that question. Oh well, let them figure it out. :)
-- Ben Razon