Photography enabled me to capture a typical day in this tropical country. It never goes without the bustling streets, the frantic passengers going in and out of jeepneys, and the warm weather. This is my home: the Philippines.

I have been living in Davao City, a city in the southern part of the island of Mindanao, for almost 22 years. During the shifting years of my adolescence, I stumbled across Photojournalism and loved it dearly. When you look around Davao City, it must be a story-telling haven. This is how I was able to develop my education of capturing tales. In between interesting people and their musings, one can pick up stories from this certainty: the country is thriving, almost crawling, for development. It seems that along with this developing country, I was developing my photography.

How does one develop their photography through their developing surroundings? Here are some of the things to keep in mind:

 

PAINFULLY ADJACENT. Boxes of milk. Physically reachable. Economically distant.

PAINFULLY ADJACENT. Boxes of milk. Physically reachable. Economically distant.

 

Open your Eyes and Observe

Since all have different perspectives, seeing and observing people and events may be different for everyone. For me, one trait a photographer must possess is sensitivity. In this way, he or she can see the real story. Context and composition come to play once the photographer sees the vision. In my case, street children always catch my attention. I observe how they talk, play, and interact. I also ask them how they are and what are their views about their present situation. I also do the same with street shop owners, vendors, and the like.

 

Don't stage your story. Take candid shots.

Don’t stage your story. Take candid shots.

 

Size Matters

People in your surroundings are oftentimes wary of being photographed. Always keep in mind that somehow, you are entering personal space. Personal space doesn’t just mean people’s physical spaces; it could also mean private property and personal business. Therefore, try your best to bring a small camera. A bridge camera would be great. A DSLR would also do, but I recommend using a prime lens. I suggest 50mm for close-ups or 35mm for wide-angles. When I photograph people or events in busy streets, wet markets, or even inside slums, I always make sure that my camera won’t seem intimidating.

 

Take advantage of signages to effectively convey your message. Pair it with actions as well.

Take advantage of signages to effectively convey your message. Pair it with actions as well.

 

Composition is key

After you’re done contextualizing your story, you must capture the thought in an understandable. The subject must be visible and direct in your photo, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be in the center. The rule of thirds, though heard many times, is a way to let the viewer examine your photo from all corners.  You can also use juxtaposition to emphasize differences. Basically, go with the angles that can best explain your story.

Exposure can depend from the storyteller. High-key or low-key exposure could imply a light mood or a sensitive mood.

 

Playing with light brings mood and contrast.

Playing with light brings mood and contrast.

 

Stories don’t stop

Development for me means continuity. It is amusing how I can capture my developing country through my developing photography skills. If one happens to also live in a developing country, the stories absolutely don’t stop. Take advantage of it, and use it for the awareness among members of the community.  Finally, track your development by using SlickPic.
Go! Capture and create stories.

 

Subjects cooperate if you simply ask for their permission. In this case, this man willingly said yes when I asked politely.

Subjects cooperate if you simply ask for their permission. In this case, this man willingly said yes when I asked politely.