This blog is primarily dedicated to street (and documentary) photography, a hobby I started sometime in 2010 when my brother gifted me with a DSLR camera. I am enamored with photography in general and interested in other genres but I have strong affection for street photography because of my fascination with urban landscapes. City streets and urban spaces appear to me as major arteries of social life whose lifeblood is the traffic of people. The interface between and among pedestrians, sidewalks, and walls, among others, reveals to me the underlying contradictions and associations that give character to a specific time and place and deepen my understanding and appreciation of different societies and culture. I am, moreover, drawn to photographing city streets because of the kind of relationship it fosters between the photographer and his subjects. The photographer is very much part of the streets and moments he/she captures because he is every bit a pedestrian himself/herself. As a pedestrian passing through time and space armed with a camera, the photographer makes it possible to render permanently visible that which will shortly or eventually disappear from a hurriedly moving and changing domain.
The title of the blog is derived from the film of Philippine National Artist for Cinema Lino Brocka called Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag (version of that Philippine classic has recently been restored and is being screened at the Cannes film festival as I write this). The title translates to English as “Maynila in the Claws of Neon Light.” I was particularly drawn to the use of the word “light” because it is the heart and soul of photography. “Liwanag” or “light” can also be taken as a metaphor for epiphanies, hence the word enlightenment. Suffice to say that my immersion in city streets and my practice of photography aid in or facilitates many moments of enlightenment and understanding. In addition to this, I believe that Brocka’s work is one of the more accomplished cinematic and photographic exposition and documentation of the concrete jungle that is Manila.
I am 30 years old as of 2012. Street photography is something I try to squeeze in my schedule dedicated mostly to being a father and a husband, working as a university researcher, and being part of a multimedia collective engaged in activism. Despite my fascination with cities, I am actually quite averse to living in it. I have, in fact, managed to live in a part of the metropolis that is somehow still forested and less crowded. Symbolic freedom provided by wide open spaces, mountains, seas, and riding a bicycle is something I dearly value and always eagerly look forward to. Thus, some materials I might be posting would be related to my non-city/urban travels and expositions.