Interview with Kevin Brent Sanderson

Kevin Brent Sanderson is a photographer hailing from Manila, Philippines. His photography mostly comprises of portraiture and fashion

You can find more of Kevin's work on Behance and Instagram

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What is your most favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?

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This is probably one of my favorite photos that I took lately. Every end of the year, I would look at the pictures I've taken and see if I've grown or not. I feel that this photo represents my progress overall.

What inspires you in doing your photography?

Lately, I've been focusing to try to get out of my comfort zone and shoot things that I usually wouldn't. I guess my pursuit for greatness is what drives me to take photos.

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How do you prepare yourself before shooting or doing any assignments?

It depends really. There are some shoots where thorough research and proper planning make me feel confident about approaching it. But there are some shoots that are spontaneously planned that equally excite me. But the common denominator is the perfect playlist I listen to beforehand.

What is your one tip/tool/mantra when you’re shooting or creating work?

When it comes to portraits/fashion, I always try to envision that the outcome of the shoot should be viable enough to be published in a magazine. I believe the photos that you create will lead you to which path you want to end up in.

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Is there an element that you incorporate in your photos?

I used to be proud to have a signature style. But now I'm trying to stray away from it. I'd rather be known for taking great photos instead of a trademark angle or editing method.

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What are your go-to songs when you’re shooting?

I have different playlists for different moods. But there are artists that stand out the most like Childish Gambino, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and pretty much any song from Arctic Monkeys' "Favourite Worst Nightmare"

What is ultimate goal in your photography?

To travel the world because of the photos I take, and take my loved ones with me.

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What is your advice to other photographers? 

Your fellow photographers don't have to be your competition. I'm grateful to have photog friends who are all about supporting each other.

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Interview with Sarah Hadi

Sarah Hadi is a portrait photographer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

You can find more of Sarah's work on Instagram

What is your most favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?

I have two favorite photos. Both are quite personal for me.

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This is my good friend. Her name is Aunger and she is a refugee from Myanmar. We were in the same program in university and we happened to sort of click together after several months in that program. I found out she wanted to become a model and she was a looking for a photographer to build up her portfolio. So we did several shoots. This picture represents the start of my photography career and modeling career for Aunger.

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And another one. This is my long-time best friend back in high school. Her name is Nadine. When I first started photography, she was always up for shoots. From taking photos at the parking lot to the side of the road. She kept me motivated in doing photography and is very, very supportive. We bought four flowers for this shoot and each of us kept two of it when the shoot ended.

What inspires you in doing your photography?

My family inspired me in doing photography at first. My brother was a school photographer back in high school so I got to play around with his DSLR camera and from there, I felt inspired to do photography but it went on and off. Not long after that, I was on Instagram and I came across this feature account - @dark.daisies. I was stunned with the photos they featured and at that moment, I thought “You know what, I’m gonna do it.” I picked up my camera and shoot.

How do you prepare yourself before shooting or doing any assignments?

I usually go to Instagram and look through some of my favorite photographers’ work. That makes me feel positive and fully prepared.

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What is your one tip/tool/mantra when you’re shooting or creating work?

Challenge yourself. Sometimes when I take photos, they don’t turn out the way I want it to be. I challenge myself to try to make things work. 

Is there an element that you incorporate in your photos?

I’m not sure because whatever feels and looks right to me, I’ll go for it.

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What are your go-to songs when you’re shooting?

Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home", Selena Quintanilla's "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", Coldplay's "Hymn for the Weekend" & Westlife's "Uptown Girl"

What is ultimate goal in your photography?

My ultimate goal in my photography is to capture people that I love and places that I travel to with a film camera.

What is your advice to other photographers?

This one is for the new photographers out there. Get out of your comfort zone. Try taking photos in different situations and give yourself some assignments for you to improve.

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Interview with JB Ribleza

JB Ribleza is a photographer from the Philippines. Her work is a blend of portraiture, fashion, glamour and street photography, or she likes to call it neo-expressivism photography. She also blogs about food, travel and daily adventures. She enjoys web design, plus a mother to her two children.

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What is your most favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?

This is hard. I have to choose this one because it is so me when I shoot. Also, it is of "neo-expressionism". We were in a hotel in Bangkok with no proper lighting. A photographer’s eyes and vision will always be different and I improvised to show it in this photo. Art is fluid, always moving, always improvising. The hallway is an ordinary, with crappy yellow ceiling lights which looked like a spotlight when I underexposed and burned everything else.

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What inspires you in doing your photography?

The art itself inspires me. Photography is my self expression. I feel connected in every shoot/ project, which is why it was so hard for me to choose a favorite. For me, photos are fragments and stories of my creativity. I feel giddy just talking about it. People around me would know how I am when I see a good light or any frame that has potential for a good photo. Whatever project and genre, having the opportunity to create this art as an expression and an extension of your soul in a frame, that itself, inspires me.

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How do you prepare yourself before shooting or doing any assignments?

I charge my batteries and make sure I have enough memory cards! Seriously, I don’t prepare that much aside from knowing my subject or the goal of the project. It has something to do with my first love - street photography. I prepare by being open to all possibilities and to create something I will fall in love with.

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What is your one tip/tool/mantra when you’re shooting or creating work?

“Art is fluid” - my art is never about constants and constraints, it is all about freedom, exploring everything it can be and cannot be. Once you understand and in sync with this idea, you maximize every potential and making everything work in your favor. 2nd mantra because it’s so

“Do everything with good intentions” - that balances out our creativity and prevents us from going overboard in a bad way. We all are passionate about something. We just have to remember what’s our intention in doing what we are doing and make sure it’s all good.

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Is there an element that you incorporate in your photos?

Neo-expressionism and movements. As mentioned earlier, my first love is the streets. I am in love with raw emotions, movements (both natural and weird) and dramatic lights. I love seeing those in my photos. I also love post-processing. Although I experiment, I tend to have (try to achieve) a signature editing style.

What are your go-to songs when you’re shooting?

I don’t have that. I am boring and weird at the same time. I am super expressive though, I feel everything personal when I shoot, I get comfy with the people around me and I talk a lot.

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What is ultimate goal in your photography?

Goals are flexible. My goal when I started was to escape anxiety and depression. Then my goal eventually is to get my work out there and get paid. Then I realized, I want to inspire others and create something beautiful and positive through art.

Photography is a happy pill for me, at least. Which is why ultimately, my goal is to create tons of photos, improve, experiment and get my work out regardless if a million people or no one appreciates it but me.

What is your advice to other photographers? 

They should give me advice, I barely know what I am doing technicality wise but I create photos anyway because my art for me is pure goodness. Seriously though, the tragedy for a photographer is when we lose our identity and compromise our values just to get the highs of photography which eventually hurts the purity and awesomeness of the art itself. So whenever I am asked with this question, my answer has always been consistent - do it with good intentions. Do it because it makes you a better person or it helps other people. Do it because creating photos makes you feel good. Do it for whatever goal or reason you always do it with good intentions!

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You can find more of JB's work on her blog and web folio, Facebook and Instagram

Interview with John Bulos

John Bulos is a photographer from Manila, Philippines. His main work comprises of portraits, fashion and commercials. He is also a business and marketing student, deciding to take photography after he graduated college. He has been incorporating his marketing background into his photography through commercial works

You can find more of his work on Instagram.

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What is your most favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?

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I love the aesthetics of the scene. It somehow reminds me of Pop’s Diner in Riverdale. Or it probably reminds me of burgers and milkshakes. lol

What inspires you in doing your photography?

I love fashion and aesthetics. I like to believe that putting on clothes is so much more than just the way it looks, but rather a form of self-expression. The way it defines different people and personalities. Your style defines who you are. I absolutely love seeing that distinct personality and attitude of my model every time I look through the viewfinder of my camera.

How do you prepare yourself before shooting or doing any assignments?

I surround myself with positivity and avoid the negatives. I am the type of person who’s easily swayed by the things around me, but I’m trying to overcome it. So I make it a point to always stay inspired and in the mood to curate. Your mood affects the overall creative output of the shoot.

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What is your one tip/tool/mantra when you’re shooting or creating work?

Be flexible. Sometimes, if not most of the times, things don’t go always as planned.

What is your signature style?

I like shooting street fashion - pulling off that undone look. There’s something about street fashion for me that is so full of attitude and personality.

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Any songs that sets the mood with when you’re shooting?

I have a lot on my playlist! Haha. But here are some of them:

  • I Feel It Coming by The Weeknd
  • One For Kenny by Idjut Boys
  • Slide by Calvin Harris

What is ultimate goal in your photography?

To be acknowledged and become an inspiration to other people. I’ve always wanted to be an influence to create. Put your work out there!

What is your advice to other photographers?

Never doubt yourself. There will be times when you’re just not into it. A creative block as most artists like to call it. I get it a lot. I look up to different photographers and artists who are already way up the ladder of success. I envy them, honestly. Sometimes I even ask myself if I can make it to where they are or is there even a point to what I am doing? In a way, my mind somehow creates this ’excuse’ to not even bother creating. FIGHT that resistance! Stay true to your direction, your goal, your passion. As long as you are passionate and love what you are doing, you’re on the right track.

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Interview with Chester Ng

Chester Ng is a portrait and lifestyle/fashion photographer from Manila, Philippines. He wants to be a filmmaker and he can eat a Big Mac in 2 bites!

What is your most favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?

I took this photo 3 years ago. I was just starting photography, and to this day, I’m still in love with this image. In ballet terms, I think this is called the firebird leap. This was shot at an empty lot at the side of a building. I’ll admit, this was sort of a lucky shot. But ultimately, I think this has been my favorite. It’s a mix of the gracefulness of ballet, the urban/modern feel of her wardrobe, the way her arms rest off the side as she leaps and her hair keeps up as her head tilts back, the pain of kneeling on hard soil and little sharp rocks piercing through my knees under the hot Manila sun as I tried to get this shot, and finally, the joy of seeing this shot finally coming through the LCD screen of my camera.

What inspires you in doing your photography?

Anything, really. Sometimes I would see a location (usually with a good window light), or a model then a certain idea instantly pops up. Sometimes, a song will inspire me and give a certain mood for a shoot I want to do, or even a photo from another photographer that makes me want to do something like it or makes me say “why didn’t I think of that?” But really, it’s the people who appreciates my work that inspires me.

The critiques (good and bad) that I get from people who are much more experienced that I am, help a lot. Even the ones who bring me down, those naysayers, they light up some sort of fire inside me. But also, it’s the community. You get to meet new people and make friends, who can help you in your works and vice versa. You can also teach and learn from the people you meet.

Of course, not everyone will like you or get along with you, but it’s just a part of the dynamic. The entirety of it all and the experiences you go through as a photographer is amazing. It really inspires me and it’s what keeps me going.

How do you prepare yourself before shooting or doing any assignments?

Usually, I would look up  for “inspirations” on the web or a shoot that has been done with the same concept or something close to it. Then I try to study it, ‘how was it done?’, ‘why it was done a certain way?’, put it all in a mood board (in an album, folder, Pinterest, etc.) then I try to get the idea behind it and hopefully I’d end up with something of my own.

For my gear, I make sure everything on my cards are backed up and all the batteries are charged. And make sure you have extra cards and extra batteries and few extra shirts as well! You’ll never know when you might need it.

What is your one tip/tool/mantra when you’re shooting or creating work?

Be professional but also have fun. Get your subjects to trust you and make them feel comfortable. The last thing you want in a shoot is some hostile vibe. Making sure that the people you’re gonna be working with is comfortable with you is very important. Especially if you’re working with them for the first time. If the subject trusts you and is comfortable working with you then most probably everything is gonna go well.

What is your signature style?

I'm not sure what my signature style is, but I think I do have a certain look to my photos. I know this because people start telling me that they know it’s my photo based on the look and vibe. And maybe the way I edit because I pull a lot of inspiration from photographers that I look up to, I’m sure that plays a big role too.

Any songs that sets the mood with when you’re shooting?

Yeah, I really like listening to Calvin Harris during shoots, also a little bit of Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. I like putting on chill music too, they usually have a playlist set on Spotify. Or jazz, sometimes, when I’m editing. But lately, I really like listening to Khalid.

What is ultimate goal in your photography?

Well, I haven’t really thought about that. I don't know, but I do have a lot of things that I have yet to check off my photographer’s bucket list. Like getting to be part of an exhibition, or shooting ad campaigns for the more famous brands, both locally and internationally, and I’d really like to help out others, those who are just starting out, just basic stuff, just to get to know the ropes. 

What is your advice to other photographers?

Just keep shooting. That’s really all you need to do. You get better and better every time. Don’t try to be a know-it-all because you don’t know who you might be talking to. They might be smiling and nodding to whatever you’re saying but really, they just want you to shut up. Take all the criticism in. Take it all in. Analyze what they had to say and why they said it. Look up other photographers, especially the legends. They had to work with film. Our generation works digitally. We are spoiled by the digital age, might as well make the most out of it. All the information we need is on our smartphones. We can get information about anything and everything in just a few clicks. Watch movies, listen to music, look at paintings, or even stare blankly into a wall. Anything that will draw inspiration to you and try setting the bar higher after every shoot to challenge yourself. Sometimes a little alcohol helps too. Get lost in it. Photography, not alcohol.

You can find more of Chester's work on Facebook and Instagram

He is also on Twitter, Tumblr and Vimeo