Category Archives: Photography

Chicago Sunrise

I shot this photo at the break of dawn on the very last leg of the Chicago Night ride of 2006.  It was a bike marathon that starts midnight and finishes around six in the morning.   I did it with my high school batchmates Kevin Limas, Patrick Hilado (who was the consul of Chicago that time) and Alwayne Tulayba.

Eventually this photo won and came out in Time Out Chicago.

Refugees in Chicago

Summer of 2006, July, Chicago, IL.

Falling in love with a whole new genre in photography and listening to Thatcher Cook in Maine made me go home to Chicago yearning for an output.  So I searched and volunteered as a photographer for 2 NGOs working with refugees from Somalia, Russia and Africa. I took a ton of photos following them through their summer programs.  In hindsight, this was a real turning point for me as an artist, I think.

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Back to School (2006)

After 2 years of apprenticing under Lee Briones-Meily, I sold my car and moved to the U.S. to study.  I settled down in Chicago gearing up to take the summer workshops in Maine, before practicing as a cinematographer.

Maine was great. Met a lot of people from around the globe. I particularly liked my classmate from Saudi Arabia who knew Filipino words and loved adobo growing up with a Filipina yaya.  He loved Filipinos.  I also particularly liked my classmate from England because of their humor.

Rode the bike to class. That was really nice. Mind you, I was 33 years old when I went to Maine.

But my most memorable class was a class I sat in after regular classes—Thatcher Cook’s class on documentary photography.  It was packed and it was free. He was great.  He opened me up to a whole different world of photography—and that changed me.

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Growing up with a camera

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My son Ethan grew up around a camera.  Whether I was shooting him or shooting something, anything, his first 5 years were years I shot the most as a photographer.

I did it both as work and as a hobby. I just loved photography. I still do, actually. I just don’t get to do it as much as I would want.

Last time I asked my son what he wanted to be when he grew up he said he wants to be a photographer.  He’s too young to know what he really wants but I’m glad he has the knack for it—even if it’s just going to be his hobby when he grows up.

He’s actually very good and I’m not just saying that because he’s my son. He is.  And he doesn’t like cameras without the viewfinder. He won’t shoot with a screen as a viewfinder.  I’m actually glad he grew up at a time when I didn’t yet use a camera with a monitor.

When he turns 12 which is next year, I will enroll him in his first photography class. We’re both excited about it.