Interview #30 - Ed Enclona

Ed Enclona is a 20 year old photographer from Manila, Philippines. He is colour blind. Before he started photography, he loved painting, both were discovered when he was in college. It's no surprise he incorporates his art into his portraits and fashion.

What’s happening with you lately?

Lately, I’m doing a lot of passion projects (well, that’s all I have). I’m really enjoying my time after graduating college through shoots. I’ve been also doing exhibits for a cause. I love immersing in the scene. It gives me a sense of fulfillment.

What draws you into photography, specifically shooting portraits?

First, I want to meet new people and be friends with them. And, also having such a creative bond will make them more memorable, right?  I also love sharing stories with people because I think that’s what makes us interesting - our stories.

Do you remember your first ever shoot?

Yes, my first shoot was with my best friend. She’s a pretty girl. Our shoot happened in our place. There was a river nearby and we just enjoy the place and capturing the moment.

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

Here in Manila, Photography scene is huge and hyped. There are a lot of different creatives from street, events, portraits, fashion etc.  There are individuals who are very distinct in their genre and passionate enough to hone their skills. They always shoot in groups because camaraderie is important for us. Some help each other and some bash. All I can say that this scene here in the Philippines has its potential - very competitive in a way of being creative and hungry for creating new and fresh concepts.

What are your challenges being a photographer?

I’ve encountered so far are the fear of having no room for improvement and no new concepts to execute. As a true creative, you should start with something fresh or original.  I am afraid that I just feel I’m not improving, losing my potential and get jealous with others' works.

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

We all know that Philippines is a third world country and I’m living near the area where you can see the evidences. It fascinates me what a grungy and gritty place can do in my photographs’ vibe. I am always inspired by the people surrounding me. They are all passionate and keen in their work. It helps me to keep my fire burning and keep on shooting portraits and editorials. I love riding public transportation specially the buses. I enjoy the traffic. It gives me an ample amount of time to think, to know myself, discover more of my place and watch other people’s lives.

Do you have certain aesthetics or method of shooting?

I don’t have very specific method in shooting. I am a fan of guerilla shooting. It is like walking around the location and work on that spot. When shooting, I always keep in my mind that I should sell clothes and tell a story. That is how the fashion editorial works. I should make a statement and make the audience more curious about my work and let them ask questions.

What draws you into shooting fashion?

I always wanted to look unique and that makes me into fashion. I really love clothes and I’m dreaming that my background in art and my love for fashion will meet halfway. Fashion editorials catch my heart because you can do the art with the clothes and make a statement with it. I can consider the fashion editorial as a form of high art. It makes you think what’s with this and why it is. I really want to make more of it someday.

How’s the fashion scene over there?

I’m not in the fashion scene yet - the professional side of it. But all I can see is that the fashion is kinda fun and interesting. There are a lot of crazy minds that can make your mind blow. They help each other by mentoring others or by shooting together. They all want each a part of the team share the same spotlight. We cannot deny there are a lot of issues and bad things but what makes me excited to go with them is that they celebrate fashion and promote the Filipino fashion or talent in every possible way.  I wish with the next few months, years or moments I’m with them sharing the creativity and celebrating fashion. 

What are you incorporating when you do your fashion shoots?

I just keep in my mind that there should be my touch in every shoot. I just want to let them recognize that once they see a photo they can easily say that it was shot by me. I can’t say all my shots we’re made from scratch but all I can say is there will be my art, personality, my creativity and love for the art.

Describe how do your approach your work

I always consult my creativity.  I always ask myself what to show or what kind of fashion to shoot with. Once I’ve came up with the idea, I’ll look for inspirations from movies, textbooks, music or just travel around the city. And when I got the concept for the kind of shoot, I’ll go with the visuals to check what clothes I need, where to shoot, who will I shoot, and how will I frame the shoot. When there’s a chance that I need a team, I’ll look for people who want to collaborate with, from the makeup artist, model, assistant and stylist. I also consult and propose the concept, if it is solid enough and shoot worthy.  I also play the role of stylist sometimes because not all the time you have a team, you should know what their functions are. 

In the shooting day, I always orient and clarify the things we will do in the shoot. First, I let my model embrace the concept and feel the mood. Once he/she gets it, I slightly direct them to what I need in the frame. I always talk to my team especially with the models. Sometimes I also make jokes to lighten up our mood.  I also want to know more of my team and be friends with them so I do a lot of talking.

In selecting photos, I used Adobe Lightroom and select the possible photos and pre-enhance them. When I say pre-enhance - I color them, correct the shadows, highlights, contrasts etc.  Once I’m finished with selecting and pre-enhancing, I move to Adobe Photoshop to do the major job like retouching and color correcting.

What’s your post-processing like?

My post-processing varies according to the vibe of the shoot. What I usually do is to play with colors and textures to complement the vibe. I love desaturated photos. I love creating subtle meaning from layouts to colors. I’m kind of a person that has always something to say.

Do you have preferences for choosing subjects or models?

I only shot once with a foreigner but my preference are the locals.  I always want to support and promote what we have in our country. Other than that, I look for the models with the character, a unique character that I need for my shoots. They are very important. But I’m wishing to shoot more foreign faces - they have lots of things to teach me.

Any other works or photographers that you follow? 

I’m not good at remembering names but on their works.  I have two photographers that I stalk a lot here in the Philippines - Mark Nicdao and Shaira Luna.  Mark makes me want to try fashion.  He does fashion with substance and without much effort. Shaira is my thrift shop hero, she is good with that. I really love how she does the story-telling and laid back style of shooting plus with the distinct film vibe. 

Do you value quality or quantity?

Quality, of course.  I’d rather have one with a solid and perfect concept rather than a hundred of good shots but no substance.  Quality beats quantity in all aspects. The scene is not living for the numbers.

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

It would be nice to have all the equipment a professional could have but to me, I think what really matters are the creative process. Gears and applications let you achieve them to perfection but a basic camera can do the same. Just know your gear and understand the basic principles then let yourself do the art.

Who do you think are the audience of your work?

I think the people value and respect the art the most. It’s not just the fashion. I’ve put my heart in my every work which they can see it through. I know they see the same.

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

I stay humble and give thanks to those people. I feel pressured and overwhelmed but I cannot let it through so I have to stay focus and feel happy. Keep the chill.

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

I’m listening to The Lumineers and lately, Eden.  I also explore my taste in music and I try different genres. Try Yung Lean. I haven’t reading any novels lately. And there is also a book that I always recommend - The Secret by Rhonda Byrne for us to keep on the track.

I really love Christopher Nolan's films. I love films that make me think. 

Anything that keeps you excited in the future?

I will be trying to contribute for magazines. I’ll be doing a lot of collaborative works  during this first quarter of 2017 and continue my revamped collection for MAED and hopefully release an editorial with it. Portraiture-wise, I’ll be having an exhibit with my photographer friends in the south. I’m really excited to see what is coming this 2017. Hopefully, there will be some gigs and features.

Any last words?

Thank you for this Interview! I really enjoyed it. It makes me think of myself again. I think I have matured in a lot ways. To all the aspiring photographers, just keep on shooting and make yourself more original. Art and heart - keep that in mind.

You can find more of Ed's work below: