Interview #23 - Joed Barallas

Joed Barallas is a portrait photographer from the Philippines. He also works as a engineer in Manila.

I've recently posted his Favourite Five and you can find more of his work on Instagram, Facebook and Flickr

Tell us about yourself? 

Hi! I’m Joed Barallas. I started shooting with almost anything in 2012 but I got to do it seriously for the last two years.

What’s happening with you lately?

Lately, I’ve been busy juggling my personal shoots with my professional work. I’m a licensed mechanical engineer so I work on weekdays and I shoot and pour my creativity on weekends.

What draws you into photography, specifically shooting portraits?

With shooting portraits, I get to know other people and I get to know their stories most of the time. I tell them my stories too and eventually I became friends with my muses (or models)

Do you remember your first ever shoot?

My first ever solo shoot was with a high school friend. She was not a professional model but she needed some display pictures on her social media accounts so we got to stroll at the village near her home. She had some tattoos so I got to shoot them as well, made some photos and had coffee later.

How’s the photography scene over there in your perspective?

I live here in the Philippines, the photography scene here is alive. Filipinos are creative and expressive with their work and every photographer/artist tries their best to reach their art to others, usually trough social media. On the downside, some bash others for their personal work. I think everyone is entitled to be creative and express his or her sentiments through photos -  photography is not a competition but a way of expression.

What are your challenges being a photographer?

The challenges that I’ve encountered as far as shooting is concerned is that sometimes I get short noticed about muses not being able to go to the set within the day but to be professional and being passionate for what I do I need to understand some emergencies. I also prefer shooting with ambient light so sudden change of weather could affect the mood of the shots, I usually have a Plan B, I plan my shoots beforehand because I only get to shoot on weekends because of work so I need to maximise them.

How does the environment you’re living in influence your photography?

I am surrounded by people who are also passionate about photography, so I can say that they influence my work. Sometimes we talk about stuff that contributes to what I will do for a shoot on the weekend. I took engineering back on college so if you get to see my work, I am keen to compositions or symmetry. But I’m planning to have a continuing project wherein I will be more lighthearted with compositions soon. I love watching movies so I incorporate some cinematic gradings on my shoot to further enhance the mood of the photo.

Do you have certain aesthetics or method of shooting?

I own a Ricoh GR. I love the filmy aesthetic of my camera so I think that is the key for my portraits, I always “work the scene” I shoot from different angles even I think I got the shot.

Describe how do your approach your work?

I have some concepts in my mind usually a phrase from a song I’ve recently heard or a movie scene that I love that sparked my imagination. Then I will contact some of models through my social media accounts that hold my past shoots in case they wonder if I am a legit photographer. If they agreed then we discuss about the look and feel of the shoot. It is important for me to know about their limits in a shoot so I always ask it beforehand and to respect their rules. I am very particular with details so I need to talk to them about the outfits that they will bring on the set or sometimes I tend to buy outfits for them so that I get the envisioned look that I need.

During the shoot, I talk to my muse about why I am doing this set to remove their pre-shoot jitters. My shooting style during the shoot is that I move according to where the light is, then I work the scene by taking shots in different angles. I always tell my muse that they can also suggest some poses. I am very particular with backgrounds and foregrounds beforehand so the framing is good before taking a shot. I love improvising with any props available within the environment.
Usually, a 3 hour set will get me 500 photos at most so selecting an image will be tough for me, but I get to post process the best pictures first. I will send 3 best photos to my muse. The models are usually far from where I live so it is very convenient to use some online storage sites for them to get the edited photos. 

What’s your post-processing like?

Lately, I’ve been into coloured photos. I love the variations you can do with the treatment of colours in a shot. I love the filmy look of Ricoh GR so I enhanced them using a Lightroom and Photoshop in my laptop. I’ve tried using my phone to edit my JPEG shot once but I am not satisfied.

Do you have preferences for choosing subjects or models?

It depends on the theme that I’m doing

Any other works or photographers that you follow?

I have a ton of photographers that I’ve been following lately. I usually admire the quirkiness of Asian photographers and the sensuality of North American photographers.

Do you value quality or quantity?

I value the quality of a shot. I used to be trigger happy before but it starts to lessen after some time. I usually take 500 photos straight out of the camera but they will be filtered down to 5 photos to create a photo set.

In what ways that camera gears or cellphone apps matter to you in producing the work?

I do not edit using mobile apps but I use them to post and share my work which is very convenient for me instead of using a PC or a laptop. I shoot using what is available with me as long as it produces the images that I want.

Do you earn enough as a photographer?

I earned once in a charity event when I exhibited my photos and sold some of it but the proceeds went to the people who needed it most. I’m glad I got to help others from what I love to do.

Who do you think are the audience of your work?

I have my personal group of friends, online friends, people in the same photography circle that told me that they love my work. I’m humbled that I get a positive feedback from them.

How much you think people will value your work?

I can’t quantify it but the love and the support I got from the people that believe in my passion is very much appreciated.

How do you cope in getting the attention through social media or word of mouth?

I do not believe in word of mouth. I have a fair amount of social media accounts that showcase my work and I am just happy to know that people appreciate my stuff.

Any music that you listen to lately? Books that you read? Movies that you just watched recently?

I haven’t watched a movie recently but I can recommend to watching Oldboy, Memento and The Truman Show. These are the movies that make you think. I’m not into reading so I can’t recommend any. I listen to bands like Deftones, Alexisonfire, City and Colour, Circa Survive, Saosin and Thursday.

Anything that keeps you excited in the future?

Photo shoots have been scheduled if you want to see my calendar on my phone! Hopefully a photo book or a photo zine before the year ends.

Any last words?

Go out and shoot, then let your work speak for you.