By Maria Abigail Ambay
I was invited by Ate Glenda Gutierrez, communication officer of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), to attend a free photography workshop. “A photography workshop for free?” I asked just to be certain and when Ate Glenda assured me it would cost me nothing, I blurted out, “Count me in!”
It was called “Photo-Voice Workshop” and it took three days to finish, from November 29 to December 1, 2018. The venue of the workshop was at Gilead Center, a KKFI-owned farm-cum-retreat-center located in the town of Pulilan in Bulacan. Little did I know that it would teach me a lot.
On the first day, our mentor, Prof. Allan Cledera, taught us the basic lessons we needed to know in photography, such as angling, framing, lighting and other simple things that I could hardly remember because, I had to admit, I wasn’t listening as intently as I needed to. I told myself that I already knew these things, so what’s the use?
I learned very soon after that answer to my “what’s the use?” when he ordered us to capture and freeze in picture moving ants, among other “simple” things.
How I regretted not listening! In any case, I learned to see ordinary things in an extra-ordinary way. The rules of photography “forced” me to look and listen into even the simplest things around me that I only ignored before.
I made sure I listened to the lectures of Mr. Cledera when the seminar-workshop continued on the second day. And, yeah, listening was really very effective. It gave me more confidence in taking photos and writing captions or photo essays. And the third and last day of the workshop went well, too. The key was listening, I learned the hard way.
There’s one word that stayed in my mind—focus. In taking photos, the photographer should not just focus on the subject but also on the story behind it. I also learned the importance of conveying emotions of moments frozen in time by photography.
The whole seminar made me realize that photography isn’t just photography. It’s saving a moment in order for it to be savored and enjoyed again and again in the present and future. Because things don’t happen twice.