Thursday, June 5, 2008

Licuala palm

Photographer: Elmer Borlongan
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 2: The Many Patterns of Mother Nature

licuala palm

Only an artist who has an eye for art can decipher that a simple and backlit licuala palm can be a great subject of photography. And that is no other than Elmer Borlongan.

Larawang Pinoy is honored to have Elmer Borlongan, as one of its members. Emong, as he is fondly called by his friends, is a full-time painter who has done exhibits in galleries in Metro Manila. He grew up in Mandaluyong but moved to San Antonio, Zambales to concentrate in his art-making.

Aside from learning painting, he I enrolled in the Mowelfund Film Institute photography workshop under Bahaghari and Rey Castaneda, which offered darkroom printing where he also fulfiled a a dream to develop and print black and white photos. As such, he had been into photography even digital cameras became a fad.

He had a Nikon FE2 film camera in college, which he used to document his paintings and take snapshots for the family album. Since film photography was expensive, he had to set it aside. However, the coming of digital photography rekindled his passion for fine art photography, and he has not stopped since then, and perhaps, follow the footsteps of his favorite photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Alan Harvey, Raghubir Singh, Romy Gacad and Sonny Yabao.

Over the years, he considers his photography quite eclectic simply because he wants to discover the many possibilities of this medium. He prefers spontaneity--which could be in the street, in the garden or inside his house. He prefers to shoot in available light like how he did it for this photo.

He was in a garden store in Castillejos when he saw this palm. The beauty of the morning light falling on its transparent leaf inspired him to capture the beautiful repetitive lines. He only made some adjustment on the contrast to get a lighter green.

Having been schooled in fine arts and an accomplished painter, Emong still continues to learn photography. This he does by browsing photos in Flickr and reading books he acquired like that of "The Photo Book" by Phaidon, "National Geographic:The Photographs" and a coffeetable book on Magnum photographers. He also goeas around galleries and exhibits like the BlackSoup Project in Cubao Expo and One Workshop Gallery in Makati for his exposure. He is also subscribing to Digital Photographer Philippines and i-mag Photography.

His gears?
His digital cameras include: Canon Powershot A80, Rolleiflex MiniDigi and a Canon EOS 20D with 18-55mm kit lens. For film, which he admits he rarely use are the Nikon F601M, Lomo Frogeye and a Lomo fisheye.

His opinion on digital post-processing?

"The evolution of modern technology has developed quite significantly over a quarter of a century. It has, as a consequence, nurtured an "instant gratification" mentality that humankind quickly adapted to. Digital cameras and computers gave us instant gratification to just point and shoot. Software allowed us to achieve the desired effect in photographs, without the long laboring hours in the darkroom that required the use, exposure and expertise in handling toxic chemicals. Embracing new technology is a good thing because it's available in the modern age. It has, however, given us the license to be careless. Despite these options to manipulate the photo, the eye must be well trained and know the controls of our camera to get the right exposure without compromising form and composition."

A word of advise to newbies:
"They can start using cameraphones to learn the basics of light, color and composition. And then move on to a camera depending on one's budget. It's best to study the functions of your equipment and just shoot regularly until you get the results you want."

What challenges him in photography?
"The excitement of capturing the moment and translating what you see in photographs is amazing. It serves as a memory and historical record of how you perceive the world."

SEE MORE OF Emong's Photos at Flickr

Based on the Interview of purplbutrfly of Larawang Pinoy Group Flickr Site

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