Light and Verse – Beginnings

Light and Verse was the title of my first photography blog. It was a space where I was able to combine two of my passions – writing and photography. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t think I’d be doing photography work for a living, so a good part of why I went out to make pictures was so that I would have a visual prompt to get me writing. And for a good while that was what kept me busy.

As I delved deeper into photography and started taking on commissions, I migrated onto this current platform. I decided to retire the old blog (if you’re curious for a bit of nostalgia, you can still view it here) so that I would only have a single hub where I published my content moving forward. However, there is a part of that time in my life that I’d like to continue and preserve, and that is the act of putting verse to images. In honor of one of the things that got me out into the world shooting pictures, I am naming this segment of the blog Light and Verse.

#03 Boatmen at Dawn

Generations brave

Dark night, bathed in light golden

When their day begins

I hope to write regular posts for this segment from here on in. A print of the picture above is also part of this month’s archive clearance sale. More to come…

Clearing the Archives – July 2017

In my last post, I talked about updating my print catalog. I mentioned moving a number of older prints out of the archive to make way for the addition of newer ones. I believe this gives me the opportunity to review my work and to show only the best. This also keeps the number of photographs in the catalog at a number that’s easier for me to manage.

The prints that I’ve handpicked below are leaving the archive and going into my personal collection. They will no longer be readily as available as the others that remain in the catalog. Before I officially ‘retire’ these, however, I’m offering these at 40% off the original price until the end of July.

If you’ve been looking to get any one of these prints, now would be the best time to get them. More to come…

Print Section Update – July 2017

I decided to categorize the Print section of the site into 3 sections – Current, ChemLoveArtand ArchiveThe first section contains prints for photographs shot within the current year. ChemLoveArt, being a set of images that fall within a very specific theme, gets its own section. Last, but not least, the Archive contains a curated set of past prints that are still available for purchase. This last section, however, will change as pictures are added to and/or removed from the set.

The image above is the first of the new prints that I’ll be adding gradually over the course of the next few weeks. Please watch this space for updates.

Electric Summer Dream

The sky at dawn, just right before the sun rises, always fills me with a sense of wonder. I have made and seen too many photographs of this phenomenon for it to become banal. However, each one that I witness, is anything but. Perhaps I’m not just looking at it for what it is, but for what it could be — a chance to give life another good try, to say “I’m still here.”

The Project Journal

I always have a pen and a small notebook in my camera bag. One can never know when or where inspiration will find you. So, when one comes to me, I find the time to write it down as soon as I can. Better pages full of scribbling than ideas lost to oblivion.

This coming series of posts is a digital version of an idea notebook. It will be a more organized version of its handwritten counterpart though. It’s a springboard upon which I can build on a personal project from concept to print.

This journal will not just serve as means for me too keep tabs on my work. More importantly, it also opens the door for collaboration with interested individuals who come across it.

I haven’t quite decided on what project to start with, but here’s a sampling of old work that I’d like to revisit and build on.

Back to Black

Faces/Phases

Bare

And new frontiers that I’d like to explore in fine art nude photography

and a new artistic nude series that I’m tentatively calling Bodies for now.

Make sure you subscribe to the blog to receive timely updates. For all you know, we could be working on one (or more) of these projects pretty soon.

Think Before You Buy

I regret having found Ted Forbes and his wonderfully informative and inspiring YouTube channel The Art of Photography a few years too late after I started pursuing photography. I find his insights on the subject of the creative’s life, in general, and that of a photographer, in particular, to be honest yet hopeful at the same time. He openly speaks about the difficult reality of the craft without the cynicism of someone who’s been practicing it for as long as he has. To choose to be a photographer is not one of the easiest paths to take, but it can be quite the adventure.

In the video, he talks about one of the most commonly discussed topics in photography circles – Does gear really matter?

What do you think?

Keeping Pace

The researcher-by-day-but-photographer-after-hours experiment didn’t quite work out as well as I hoped. I haven’t been able to make headway into most of the personal projects that I set out to do or reach most of the goals that I set for myself in the past few months. I am hopeful that when my term with the research group ends that I’ll have both the time and the opportunity to make more pictures.

I haven’t exactly been idle though, so what were the past few months like?

Last December, I was commissioned by Surebright Manufacturing Industries Inc. to create images to advertise their line of cleaning agents. I got this job as a result of work I did for a personal project, the #ChemLoveArt series. This is proof that personal work pays.

Earlier that same month, the day job and the dream job sort of met (albeit a little awkwardly) when I was asked to document a two-day convention on natural products research. It was definitely a welcome break from performing experiments in the lab.

Up to until February this year, I worked on my ill-fated Project 365. There were days when I’d get more than one good image but chose another to post, so there are a number of keepers that I’ve been keeping (pun not intended) to myself. Here’s an example of such a picture shot in December.

In January, I started work on the Digital Film Roll project. My first “roll” hasn’t been used up yet, but I hope to change that soon. This is a project that I definitely want to pursue as I plan to try my hand at film photography in the coming months.

I wasn’t able to travel anywhere new just yet, but I continue to strive to find something new every time I revisit an old haunt.

I continue to make and promote the sale of my prints. I hosted a successful sale of my existing catalog before the end of 2016. It makes me happy that more people are open to the idea of purchasing prints as art.

I am using lighting setups that I’ve crafted for old projects for new work. You can recognize the painterly look for Faces in play in this portrait of my goddaughter Peace. I wasn’t surprised that it worked, but that it took me all this time to put something I spent months developing to good use.

I continued to shoot intimate portraits, both for the Bare project and my fine art nude portfolio. I am already in the process of developing upcoming projects in the same vein. I hope to find brave subjects who will collaborate with me on these when the time comes.

I realize that I stalled for a bit on this heading. I have no control over losing the wind in my sails, but I can always pick up an oar and start rowing.

Onward, always onward.

Ten

He had been in the hospital for five days and his condition was on the decline. Our last visit with him felt more like a chance to say our farewells. Susan and I had Foxy for over ten years, so when the vet told us about our options, we both struggled with the possibility of having to have him put down. She assured us that it would be painless if it ever came to that. But, for me, even considering it was anything but. We asked to give him one more night and that we’d check on him the following day. If he showed no sign of improvement, then…

I took the day off work to make preparations for whatever outcome. I was preparing myself as well. I was already anticipating how difficult the loss would be. I just didn’t anticipate how hard it would hit. I waited for word from Susan as she was the one who was going to contact the doctor for an update. I sat in the sala of my folks’ place (we slept there as it was an easier drive to the hospital) trying to keep myself preoccupied. There was an early morning thunderstorm and it rained for quite a bit, then my phone rang. It was Susan.

Foxy had passed.

A part of me knew that my dear friend was gone before I even took the call. She just got off the phone with his doctor a few minutes before calling me. As devastated as I was, a part of me was relieved that he was no longer suffering and he spared me the decision of having to put him down. I got dressed and asked my papa to drive me to the hospital. Susan would meet me there and we’d claim his body and I would take him on his final ride home.

After I laid him to rest later that morning, I proceeded to gather his stuff that was lying around the house — his food and water bowls, bedding, and grooming tools. I thought it would make the grieving process a little easier. And yet I could still “see” him in every nook and cranny he’d squeeze into. I catch myself looking down at my feet expecting Foxy to be curled up next to them. Or I’d find myself stopping mid-sentence realizing that the buddy I had early-morning “conversations” with was no longer there.

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How can something so small leave such a large gaping hole when it’s gone?

The immensity of the loss that I feel now had nothing to do with what the giver was or had, but rather with what he gave. I’m slowly and painfully realizing that I’m not just mourning the loss of a pet — a smart and kindhearted Pomeranian-Spitz mix whom I have shared over ten years of my life with. It’s a lot more than that. I am grieving over the loss of a good friend. One who gifted me with not just companionship, but with acceptance, patience and love.

It’s not going to be easy, but I know I have to accept and deal with this loss over time, and I’d like to begin with one last farewell.

Goodbye, Foxy. Thank you. Rest now, buddy.

I’ll be missing you until we meet again.

A Good Run – Project 365

It was a good run while it lasted.

This is a late post, but I’ve long decided to stop working on my Project 365 a few weeks ago. After a bit of consideration, I realized that I wasn’t able to achieve the desired goal of getting inspiration (and eventually gaining momentum) from shooting every day. Instead, it ultimately became a chore. There were days when I would find myself settling for what’s there (especially when the weather conditions are dour).

The process became more and more stressful. Of course, there were the rare gems that I was glad to capture; but all in all, I came to admit that this was nowhere near my best work. That the little energy and precious time that I had was better devoted to personal projects that I’ve been working on over the years.

I don’t know what’s next yet. I’m at a fork in the road. But whichever path I take, I’ll make sure to let you know.

Day 114 – 365

Perspective. I’ve set goals for myself to reach this year. However, I now realize, that there are goals that I do not yet see. The only way I can discover these is if I took that first step and the thousands more that lay after that. It’s time to start climbing.

*For this photo-a-day project, I will be posting thrice a week. Photos shot from Monday to Wednesday will be posted on Thursday, photos from Thursday to Saturday will be up by Sunday, and my selection from Sunday will be posted on a Monday.