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Eugene Smith in Black-and-White

I think this is one of the most powerful black-and-white photos:  W. Eugene Smith’s Tomoko in the Bath. The image of Tomoko sticks on one’s memory many many years after he has viewed the photo.  It’s not just the subject itself – the tragedy of Minamata disease, it is how beautifully the photo was exposed in black-and-white.

Reading the account in that post – in Mr. Smith’s own words – about how he dodged and burned the photo just to get the right exposure makes me really thankful I wasn’t born in that era.  Digital photography is so much easier these days.  But, if you hear the anecdotes of those who shot in film (my elder brother, K, included), you’d be amused at how lowly they think of digital photography.

Oh well.


It’s been a long time since I was last here.  After taking up classes (again) at the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging’s Institute of Photography, I think it is about time I pay more serious attention to my favorite photography genre: street photography.  And I discovered a new one that I think I am beginning to like, too: food photography.

Let’s see what I can do and let’s see how far I go.

Hello again!


Kulon means pot or pottery.  These are the clay pots, vases, statues made of clay and hardened by heat.  There are two places in Negros Occidental where these wares are abundantly sold – one in Pahanocoy at the southernmost tip of Bacolod City and the other one in Guinhalaran in Silay City, about 10-15 minutes north of Bacolod City.

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Dahon means leaves.

Each time I come home and it’s just before sunset, I always look up to this tree on the other side of the concrete wall.  The sun touches the leaves before it goes down as if to say goodbye.  I always stop to watch this beautiful show of nature.  It’s a fitting close to my day.

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The Onset of Summer

I know when summer is on its way.  The weather change, especially the heat, always makes me sick.   Which has given me time today to post these photos I took last year.

How good it would be to be able to go back to these carefree days – just you, the beach and the glorious sunset.

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Finding Buddha in Borobudur

My trip to Buddha in May, 2011 was an accident.  Let me rephrase that: last year, I bought a ticket to Jakarta because I wanted to catch the Maroon 5, one of my favorite groups, in a concert.  I booked my plane ticket and my hotel but when I clicked on Maroon 5’s website, horrors!  Tickets to the concert were already sold out.  So I had a dilemma: what was I going to do in Indonesia for 5 days?

I researched and only then did I remember that Borobudur, a childhood dream, is also in Indonesia.  So off I went.  The rock-concert-trip turned to a search-for-Buddha-adventure.

Borobudur is near Yogyakarta (which the Indonesians fondly call, Jogja; pronounced JOGH-jah) which is about 9 hours by train or about an hour by plane from Jakarta.  I chose to ride the train (which was a mistake – I took the 8 p.m. train and got there a little before 7 a.m. so I didn’t see a lot of countryside like I wanted to; I took a plane back to Jakarta in the late afternoon).  A rented private car took me to Borobudur which was about an hour’s drive from the train station.  My driver was nice.  Like chauffers of the genteel era, he would run around the car to open the door for me but, like almost all the other Indonesians I met in Jakarta, he could barely speak English so we communicated by sign language.  That was a pity because I could have understood and learned more from his anecdotes about their culture, the recent eruption of a volcano (Mount Merapi which, I later learned, also caused the abandonment of beautiful Borobudur) and the two other temples (there are many, actually) which are usual tourist destinations, Mendut and Prambanan.  I went to the latter but passed up on Mendut.

I had to walk some distance from the entrance to where the temple was but when I first caught sight of the temple, I had to stop.  It was a grand sight, so awesome I could only whisper, “Buddha, I have come.”  I went around not only taking photos.  Here and there, I stopped and tried to transport myself back to the time when they actually used the temple.  I felt a calming peace whenever I did that.  I can still remember how the cold morning breeze gently touched my face, how quiet it was (Angkor Wat is noisy!**), how serene and grand Mount Merapi looked from the top of Borobudur.  I could have stayed there the entire day (but, of course, at nearly 11 a.m., the heat began to bite).  It was time to say goodbye to Buddha and leave in peace with my favorite Buddha quote:  The way is not in the sky; the way is in the heart.

**I actually liked Borobudur, the temple itself, better than Angkor Wat but, of course, the entire Angkor Wat area was not only larger, it was also more impressive.

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Graffiti. Term applied to an arrangement of institutionally illicit marks in which there has been an attempt to establish some sort of coherent composition: such marks are made by an individual or individuals (not generally professional artists) upon a wall or other surface that is usually visually accessible to the public.

I am not usually amused by graffiti but this one was irresistibly cute.  Couldn’t help but wonder if my students sometimes (aah, oftentimes?) wish their school chairs were equipped with that button.


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