First impression? I got that from this film – and i loved it. It was an entirely different side of me unleashed on this very first film of mine 🙂
First impression? I got that from this film – and i loved it. It was an entirely different side of me unleashed on this very first film of mine 🙂
My dearest friend Bhing Borja is getting married!!!! I hope this video can compensate my absence during their most special day.
Stepping on the glamorous red carpet of Art Dubai is no longer a one-of-a-kind feeling for me, especially since i have walked on it for four years. Though this is one of the events that i look forward to every year, still at the end of the day – after i gazed all the art works, Art Dubai remains an incomplete exhibition for me. Well that simply goes by asking, “is that all they got?”.
Surprisingly Art Dubai seemed to have heard my silent entreaty and started to embrace Contemporary Art in broader parameter. The sixth edition brought together 75 galleries from 32 countries plus other commissioned projects and workshops. But out of all these additions, the performative tour entitled Livin’ La Vida Imelda pinned me with an extreme awe.
Loving the news I ran to the lobby and looked for a certain Carlos Celdran mentioned in the newspaper. I honestly don’t know the man but after I realized that he is the first Filipino artist in Art Dubai doing the performative tours of the Philippine history through the life of former first lady Imelda Marcos, whew his name gone dinosauric – well at least through my eyes.
Livin’ La Vida Imelda talks about the controversial periods of the Philippine history through the life and ambitions of Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos. The tour will walk you from the 70’s up to the recent generation. Field with slightly mature content, it stops in the eras of Cold War, Martial Law, bell-bottom jeans and Miss Universe. Depicting the classes of societies and analyzing the hidden truths of every gossips and intentions, Carlos Celdran is courageous enough to shout “walk this way!” along the hallways of Art Dubai.
Shocking revelations indeed and as I follow him after every stops I felt a pinch of shame knowing that I have so little understanding (and knowledge) on the things that my motherland went through from the hands of her societies and leaders. At first, I thought it was just cool to have a walk with Carlos and the rest of the curious minds from his audience. He is no doubt entertaining and really straight forward. No boring moments I may add. But as he dug deeper to every controversies and dropped names in almost all the situations (good and bad), I kind ‘a stretched my focus a bit and said to myself “wait, is this guy even true?”.
There was this man, full of strong conviction and equip with broad Imeldific knowledge, stood amongst his multi-cultured audiences and presented his own country with full vulgarity, eliminating any reservations.
As I hear him unleash the masks of a novel endeavor I just cannot help myself to look at his foreign audience and read they’re every expressions as he reveals the hocus focus of Philippine’s powerful players when 1 peso is equals to 1 US dollar. Some of them just laughed at it, but then what are the thoughts behind those laughs? For couple of minutes I was distracted with the thought of resentment from this foreign race. It is a fact that through the years Philippines have gathered unpleasant reputations to the world and news after news makes it even worse.
Representing the Philippine artistry in the Middle East region is indeed a great leap to somehow put some cherry on top of all this indifference. But somehow Carlos gave each of his audience, including myself, an honest surprise.
I was stupid to forget why he was commissioned to do performative tour in Art Dubai in the first place. His high hopes of giving people in Dubai better view of Philippines culture and heritage is more than enough passion for an artist to be proud of his craft. He didn’t have paintings or sculptures to display on the arena of Art Dubai but he has the stories worth telling. He can neither be right or wrong. Perhaps whatever he said were true but perhaps not. His artwork may edify the views of foreign races about Philippines or maybe it won’t. It’s everybody’s right to linger it on. Anyway an art remains an art whatever reactions people may give to it.
His stories, however vulgar and unpleasant they may sound to some, is still worth the walk and after all the baffles in my head I came into this thought – Carlos brought Dubai an artwork worthy of great commendations. His canvas is the almost forgotten era of Philippine history, his paints and brushes are his strong conviction and entertaining wit, his work of art is the controversial stories of the Philippine history that no one have the right to alter.
So if a security personnel interrupts him in the middle of his tour and asked him to sit with them for an hour of close door deliberation (interrogation?) and after such advise him to alter his artwork, will he then agree just to complete the commissioned performative tour Art Dubai asked of him???
A way to end.
It was without a doubt, a drama worth telling. Carlos Celdran was questioned of his performative tour and was distanced to the Art Dubai hallway in order to finish his on-going tour. With everyone’s amazement, the content of his tour was scrutinized. He was ordered to do his act in front of five men in a close door room where they justify if Carlos somehow talks of Arab nations. As he was released he was told to alter any religious and political content of his tour.
But removing or editing any part of his tour’s content, including the one mentioned above, is way beyond Carlos’s vocabulary. And because of this condition he cannot meet, he decided to cancel his last performative tour in Art Dubai.
It was unfortunate that Carlos cancelled his last tour. His controversial stories became one of Art Dubai’s controversies indeed. And as he pulls his curtains down, he cries for transparency and the freedom of speech.
Art Dubai 2012 is over but the battle for freedom of speech is evident in all parts of the world. With a courageous spirit and a passionate desire to make a difference for the sake of his own country, Carlos (though came out from Art Dubai with tore shoes) will still continue his tour, that even barefooted he will have the conviction to shout…”walk this way!”
I always enjoy boredom – this is the time when i get to think of a challenge for myself.
After weeks of browsing the internet, i came across D.Santos’ website – a native of Davao and is being spotted as one of the best Asian Street Photographer. With Kuya Yan’s recommendations I indeed enjoyed looking at his masterpieces and i am actually inspired to face the same challenge he has for himself.
Please don’t get me wrong – i am not a copycat. I meet random faces at least a hundred times a day and trust me i won’t even remember 99% of them all after some minutes. I, apparently, have a kilobyte memory of faces in my head!
I guess a face shouldn’t be neglected one way or the other. It frontlines every person (deceased or living) and i just simply believe that it also frontline different stories which can be appealing or not.
I just want to have a piece of that – at least for that one click from my camera i get to capture the heart that is hiding beneath that faces.
To add some spice to my challenge i will make it a point that i meet the following requirements: a) i will only use available light – that means no built-in or external flash to save my darkest day (and night) b) it must only be taken at the street (strictly no in-door shoots!) and c) i won’t compromise creativity even though it will be just a “tight face-shot”.
I will start posting faces of the strangers soon after i shoot it until i reach the 500 Faces Challenge… So let me grab my gear and capture the street. Until then…astalabista bebe!
Face #1 – It was around 11 pm when i passed some laborers in a construction, a block away from my place. They caught my attention and started looking at them as i walked. Then i realized that there’s a huge light helping them see what they were doing and an idea came into me so i asked if i could take their picture. They seem to love the idea and a guy stood in front of me as if waiting for me to click on. I moved him to a place where i could get enough light and just as i peaked on my camera, his eyes caught me by surprise – He simply showed me what hard labor really looks like. After the clicked – i smiled at him and told him he’s my first then he just nodded ( i don’t know if he understood me) and walked away.
Face #2: After the overwhelming encounter with Face#1, i saw this old man walking fast the street. He caught my attention from afar and decided to wait until he passed by me so i could ask to take his picture. When he finally came he totally ignored my requests and continued walking. I was somewhat disappointed and i guess the old guy saw my reaction when he looked back so he came back pointing my camera then pointing at himself – it was then that i realized that he didn’t understand me the first time i asked him so i answered him with gestures too. When he finally get it, he stood in front of me and gave me this wonderful look.
I had some taste of shooting love birds when i got my first DSLR (Canon 1000D) two years back. It was a fun-filled experience that made me say – “I’d like to do this again”.
A couple of years later, after meeting wholehearted photographers from here and there, a call held my breath away. I was asked to join a friend in his prenuptial shoot to a couple from our church – i didn’t hesitate and answered “YES!”. Haha, i am pretty easy when someone ask me to join them in a photo shoot – I’m so addicted into it that i can easily jump in when there’s a chance to.
We’re basically clueless so we decided to get inspiration from other photographers – but since Kuya Darwin and I simply breaks the rules – we embraced imperfection and I’m more than happy to share it with you as we embarked our cameras into an all new level we never thought we’d be.
With a pen and paper at hand we decided to talk to the couple – the plan was to know them first, ask what they want and how they want it. Little we know, we engaged ourselves with super excited couple where talking is not really in the menu 🙂 . To cut it short, they want us to shoot right then! Of course i panicked! An hour is not enough to browse over the internet and bugged Google with some prenuptial shoot inspirations. After a couple of attempts and directions, we managed to find a breather.
Then all seems to fall into places. We found a great venue to explore creativity and limitations. We enjoyed the time we spent looking for available lights without compromising the angle of creativity – and i guess we succeeded. The lights were very friendly and though we scratched our heads most of the time that night, we managed to find winners (hooray!!!!).
Few hours ago, i really don’t know what to do. My thoughts were filled with worries and “if only”. I didn’t have that confidence that we can pull this through – “if i only have these lenses and that flash I’ll feel better” were merely the words that kept running in my head when we arrived and started the set-up.
I thought of covering this insecurities with smiles, then I looked into my Canon EOS 500D then i realized one thing. This camera was with me for such a long time, together we captured different emotions despite of our limitations. She doesn’t have enough add-ons to capture the hidden angles and i doesn’t have enough know-how to execute and eye on the angles..both of us are work-in-progress!
I admit that sometimes she let me down but i let her down too most of the time. I even banged her head once (haha, peace be with you EOS!) but she’s still there. So what’s there to be ashamed of – finally that realization came after i clicked onto this.
LOVE! They say Love conquers all and it moves in mysterious ways – well i say i am happy that i found it with this couple. I actually do not have a sound explanation of love towards a partner like this couple do but I am convinced that love boils into its final point one way or the other – and what would be the greatest love this planet can have than that of the love of GOD. Indeed my EOS captured love and I … was captured by it, after all. 🙂
I had it wrong! Three months ago, i thought that i can only feel my existence in this planet if i get to find a spot for myself – where, of course, i can easily be defined and identified! I struggled so hard and heaven knows how much pride i swallowed just to fit in into something that i think is the suited place for me. I trained myself how to be tough and i think i learned pretty well. I became the woman who’s ready to battle the world just to get her spotlight in this crazy carnival called earth.
Three months passed and beyond that i became the person hungry for something that i myself cannot explain. My entire being alienates into some isolated spaces due to unjustifiable questions, hesitations and confusions. Those three factors became my holy trinity.
I was simply demented as i tried to step one foot closer to my so called “spot”. But reality bites. In as much as i wanted to be special or should i say “extra ordinary”, i floated in a mediocre world and continued on becoming the normal stuff in this planet. I was a prisoner of my delusions and became one of the robotic figures that cannot seem to function without a push to a button. I simply wake to sleep afterwards.
I remember myself fighting for who I am and what I believed in. Got bruises and hardly stood for couple of times during those days but I really didn’t mind at all. I was all there, sticking like glue into a dream that I believe is worth surviving. I was hurt, likewise hurt others unfortunately, but that’s how it should be – I guess. Then suddenly, things came a little blurry. I tried rubbing my eyes, even harder and harder, just to clear things up. Never had I known that it weren’t my eyes that caused the peculiarity of things – it is the thing itself. Too bad, I’ve already brought pain to others and worst to myself. No one told me that i engaged myself in a different battle. In a battle where there’s no war at all.
Chasing a dream is good but failing to do so using one’s eyes in the process is insane. I didn’t watch over it carefully and I never noticed that I lost the touch of it – long time ago. I was caged into something harder than any metal in the phase of the earth. I cannot let go however I struggle and when I couldn’t hold no more, the dream flew along with the person that I somehow loved and hated.
I heard a friend say, you’ll get excited during the morning of your life, and then adrenaline will rush through once afternoon knocks, but then you’ll get bored just before the sun set and then will grew tired when the night sneaks in. It will only be dawn when you decide to lay your back and realized what day it had been. A grin if that is worth grinning or frown if all went out of your expectations. Just before you close your eyes you either want to wake and restart all over again or just shut down and stop all of the nonsense.
I had those days.
Then I met someone.
Things changed all of a sudden. How could meeting someone could change the being inside me in just a tick from a clock? I just really don’t know, but it is hilariously amazing! It’s like artistically choreographed dance that superbly translated by the dancers thru their amazing movements – full of compassion and honesty. It just couldn’t go wrong.
Three months ago, I was dreaming of an old dream to make a come back. Now, God released an overly acclaimed person inside of me. Worthy of any award this world can give, better than any dream I could dream of. Back then, I struggled to find myself a spot on this world. I was totally wrong! I asked the wrong questions! I chased the wrong dreams! I fought with the wrong person!
I was aiming for a bull’s eye from another dart board and failed to see the one in front of me – which is more easy, worthy and valid.
It is not my existence that makes the world turning. It’s not my dream that kept me surviving and this is not the place of my belonging. It is not the spotlight that made you stands out or the “bling-bling” on your body that concluded you the star – it is the blessings from God.
Doing things for me is not the essence of my existence. I live to give that essence to God and I am humbly submitting my dreams to him. This humble acceptance of reality made me the extra ordinary being in this planet and after all the questions, hesitations and confusions I am now at my genuine holy trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Now I can define myself and identify me from the crowd. My seal is set – perfectly suited in my being. I got my identity and who will not be proud to be stamped as Christian!