After working for 10 days straight with very minimal rest, I am finally home. As I sit here and share with you all the storm I had gone through last week, I realize how grateful I am of it all. Exhausted, nevertheless, grateful for all the effort and passion I poured into work for those 10 days.
In celebration of the fiery passion that’s still burning in me, I’d like to share a portrait session I curated a couple years ago. I used my younger sister as my subject. I just thought I’d share it as these were the times when my passion for photography was at its peak! Crazy how some things turn out to change so drastically in time.
I’ve been jumping from one draft to another finding the perfect photos to accompany the perfect words, and I guess you can say that I still messed up on this one. I haven’t been able to write anything “good” for months and I just realized why it has been that way – I am completely and utterly consumed. I’m distracted, overwhelmed, and outright exhausted. I’m consumed with life and work. I’m distracted by jumbled thoughts and unbaked plans that are constantly being made up, one after the other. I am overwhelmed with feeling of fear, worry, and excitement. To feel all these emotions all at once baffles me. It’s a strange sensation.
My photography started off as my own little hobby I was obsessed with. It didn’t have to be perfect, it didn’t have to follow rules, it didn’t have to be anything else other than what I wanted it to be. It just had to be mine and knowing it was mine was what I loved.
I try my best to approach each post I publish with structure, direction and a hint of emotion because, well, it’s me. 2017 has been a whirlwind and it seems that there are no signs of slowing down. I’m thankful for it, don’t get me wrong! But it feels like I’ve just started, and already, things are… like this.
All I hope for is that things start looking up from here. Rather, my spirit and energy gets a positive punch into them.
Well hello again, dear reader! my, has it been months since I last voiced out opinions. It’s been a whirlwind of events and emotions have been spiraling out of hand. To sum it up, things have been crazy. Life has been throwing tomatoes at me left and right, and here I am dodging my way past each one. I’m thankful though, to be given numerous opportunities in work, in my career, and just life in general.
Now for the good part! I’ve decided to share with you all new decisions and changes that are currently being made in my life as of the moment. I woke up on the morning of my birthday a few days ago realizing how awful Mother Earth has been treated and how fast she is dying – she is nearing her end and it’s crazy scary! Studies have shown that approximately by 2050 there will not be any more ocean left to swim in due to the vast amount of plastic we humans have thrown in it! And it’s all because of our irresponsibility. Just.. crazy. I decided that morning that I am going to make a change, one that’ll influence those around me to help out and save this planet from humans.
Get rid of plastic! Nowadays, almost everything is made with, made in, or made of plastic. Not enough consumers are aware of the drastic implications plastic has on nature. The smallest steps lead to great changes, believe me! You can start by bringing around a water tumbler instead of constantly buying new water bottles that you’ll end up throwing in the garbage anyway. Klean Kanteen and Keep Cup have some good choices! Another way to keep from plastic is to bring along with you metal straws as well as metal or wooden utensils. Numerous local online shops have been selling these items together organic and reusable casings. Go Zero, Sip PH, and Island Happy have some good choices.
Think twice before you purchase. With the immediate satisfaction this generation craves leaves our world in such a tragic place. Like the fast pace of trends in fashion and retail or the impatience for deliverables of things that are convenient to us but harmful to the environment. Do you really need a new shirt? Maybe try recycling your old ones. Have them altered. Maybe try rummaging through your mom’s closet or better yet, shop in a thrift store. If you can’t handle the second hand stuff, do your research for the brands you’d like to order from. Know their workflow process – where do they get their materials? Is it organic? Is it fair-waged. Aim on finding local and sustainable brands!
Be mindful. The choices you make today can completely alter tomorrow’s outcome. A person makes and average of 14 lbs. of trash a day! Imagine the accumulated weight of trash you make in 5 years and multiply that by billions! The plastic and trash free choice you start and/or continue to make will have an incredible positive effect in the future. It’ll influence those close to you too!
I myself continue to make the choice of zero waste as much as I can. I bring water tumblers with me as much as I can as well as metal utensils so I don’t need to use plastic ones. I’ve also decided to give up film photography (or put it on pause for now at least). The chemicals that go into processing the film and simply the creation of the film is pretty toxic already! This deserves a separate blog post completely – although unnecessary – but that’s pretty much the gist of it all. It’s quite a big sacrifice that I’m making, to the point where it feels like a part of me has died. I guess we’ll just talk more about this soon.
As someone who is slowly making the change, I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’ve been doing perfectly at it, ’cause I’m not. It’s been really difficult for me but I’m really pushing for a trash-free lifestyle. In spite of it all, I know things will be amazing in the end.
Are you going zero waste too? How are you doing it? Share with me your stories!
A start of new beginnings this post is. Since I can remember, I’ve been dying to do some sort of project that would have the essence of the subject in my art. I think I’ve found the solution.
I decided to interview a few people I know (I’ll be starting off with this scheme) and ask very personal questions. Some of which tackle sensitive topics that may or may not get them very emotional. Each interview is accompanied by a photoshoot which aims to reflect on what the interviewee and I talked about. My first subject: Ervin. We talk about his weight problem and how it affects his views towards what he believes as an artist.
Iza: How does it feel when people tell you you’re too thin?
Ervin: My confidence vanishes. By them saying that, I feel like all the things I do on a daily basis are wrong – my lifestyle, my thoughts, my feelings, everything. You know there’s that saying “you are what you eat?” When people tell me I’m too skinny, I end up overthinking. It’s like unconsciously, the physical value you have for yourself slowly disintegrates! And by the time you notice, it’s too late. I grew up with this thought inculcated in my head when you’re too thin you aren’t attractive
I: Does it make you feel broken?
E: Sometimes. there came a point in my life where one day I really noticed that my appearance was awful and that being thin was awful. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, not even with clothes on. I just couldn’t bare to look at myself, i was ashamed. Right that next day, everyone around me – or at least everyone personally close to me – voiced out their opinions about my weight – or the lack there of – during breakfast. All I could hear was “You’re so thin, Ervin! You should really eat more!” And out of nowhere I just cried. I silently cried whilst eating breakfast. I knew they were somehow just trying to care for me and I knew it was coming from an honest and genuine place. I don’t blame them for saying those things.
I: Have you ever gotten to a point where you were just like “fuck this, i don’t care what any of you say”?
E: Inspiration drove me to think that way. Seeing works of artists and other photographer wherein they highlight the human body
regardless of the form, specifically, androgynous models. I’d think to myself, “if they can make a thin body work, why can’t I?”
It’s been the root of inspiration for me when it comes to weight issues. I ave also seen fashion as an advantage for me
because I get to wear anything I want and it looks good on.
I: Would you say you’re in a comfortable state with yourself?
I: Why? what made you say that?
E: A friend of mine once told me a few months back, “Ervin, you should really try to gain some weight. Men don’t look good skinny. Only girls do.” I was hurt. Very hurt. I may be gay but it doesn’t change the fact that my appearance is of a male.
I: What were the specific emotions you felt towards what your friend said?
E: Maybe on a universal standard in regards to weight, I wouldn’t even mind. It is what it is I guess?
I: Hmm.. But don’t you think there shouldn’t be a standard?
E: In the concept of the majority, I would think it is correct: that there is a standard ‘look’ that is more fitting for women and not for men. But I am not one to say really. I must admit, I am not strong-willed. It’s is not all the time that i get to stick or follow the things I believe in. There are times when I feel I know better than what society makes us out to believe. At other times, I submit to what the majority tells me is supposed to be.
I: Could you say that maybe you haven’t found yourself yet? Your essence as an individual?
E: No. No, not at all. the fact that i continue to have lapses due to the idea of my weight problem, just means I haven’t found myself yet. I’m not comfortable with myself, so to speak. I may not care about what other people say today but that doesn’t mean i won’t get hurt tomorrow. I have not found myself at a point where i have permanently turned my back on the weight comments.
I: Let’s try to change things up a bit. As an artist, what are you trying to share with the world? How do you want to influence people? Are you trying to make a statement? Does your art have a specific purpose?
E: My mission is to show people that even if there may be a mistake in something, there is beauty in it. It’s own unique beauty. I don’t try to seek perfection in everything. I shoot what I wanna shoot, who I want to shoot. It doesn’t matter if they are model material or not there is beauty in all.
I: Do you have a purpose as an individual, as just Ervin?
E: I just want to make things right. I want to do good and show good. I’m not saying that I’m perfect because we all have our flaws but I do want to be able to show people that there really is good in everything. I try to practice that mindset everyday.
I: Ervin, what are you hopeful for?
E: I guess… I am hopeful for the truth. I am hopeful for my vision to be seen as others as not just art of a photo but something they can apply into their lives.
I: Would you say that it’s hard for you to stand out among other artists?
E: Maybe in this day and age it’s a little harder since the field of art I’m in is easily accessible these days. But I know who I am, I know my art. I know I can stand out from what everybody else is doing. I’m very forgetful though. I know it’s out of context but i wish it was something that was different about me. Maybe I would be a better artist if remembered more. But then again, it might just be a challenge The Lord gave me to beat.
I: What if your forgetfulness is your strength and you just don’t see it yet?
E: Possible. I’ve given that a lot of thought especially after I watched Finding Dory. I’d say to myself, “Hey, maybe being forgetful isn’t really a boundary. It’s my way of finding myself.” I see a lot of myself in her.
I: I can’t help but think that maybe your forgetfulness is a result of a lack of something in you. A lack of happiness perhaps? You mentioned earlier that you haven’t found yourself yet or your place in this world. Do you find yourself in a trance at times?
E: At times, yes. But I feel like I just really need to build myself up, you know? Maybe after then would I have a perfect memory. We don’t know. But I really feel like finding myself is the answer to it all.
I hope you all enjoyed that post. A little lengthy, I know, but doing this project feels right and I hope you appreciate its content and the artists featured. Stay tuned to this project as I’ll be interviewing a new artist every month.
To Ervin… There is nothing more satisfying as an artist than being able to share your thoughts with one another. Thank you for opening up your soul to me. I know it was very hard to do but thank you for trusting me still. You are an amazing artist. May your creative mind live on to create wonderful photos to be shared with the world and beyond. Your ideas astound me. I believe so much in you.