Some of the photos from my “film challenge.” Films used: Kodak Gold 400 and Fuji Velvia 100. I think you can tell which is which. If not, click through for photo descriptions.
Sometimes I think I forget about why I do things.
I think I forgot about why I liked to blog in the first place. My first blog was born because my best friend gave me the link to her secret one, and although she was a much better writer than me, I wanted to tell stories, too. I got my LiveJournal because someone I liked had one, too. It resulted in Nothing Special, but I moved on to making bonds with people over the Internet, which was, at the time, kind of a creepy, shady thing to do. We talked about obsessions, and real life, and asked no one in particular why the world was so unfair. We grew up and moved on, but LiveJournal has always been a safe place for me.
I got Nothing Spaces because of envy, mostly. I read a lot of personal blogs that were “.coms” and I admired the honesty and candidness of those journals and diaries. Back then, people didn’t really Google people, and no one really plugged their blogs. They just poured their hearts and souls and pictures in these repositories, and people from all over the world somehow connected with them.
Mary Oliver wrote the “instructions for living a life:” Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
Sometimes, I’d like to think that that is why I do what I do. It’s not something I earn from (although a lot of people who get in touch with me for work find me through here), and it’s not something I use to share what I do (although I have been wanting to do so for a while). It’s just here, because I am “living a life.”
I like taking photos, I like writing, and I like telling people about things that I find. I like telling stories on blogs, because truthfully, it’s the best way I know how to. I’m not very articulate, nor am I particularly good at adding flourish to my story-telling. A lot of people kind of hate on blogs, and I understand why. It doesn’t mean I agree, but I get it.
When I see blogs today, I realize it’s very different from what I grew up with. It feels kind of like how old people don’t really “get” the learning curve of computers. All of a sudden, there is an influx of blogs that were monetized and sponsored, and I couldn’t wrap my head around how it all worked.
I was obsessed with figuring it out for a little while, and it was a huge blow to the ego when my stats began to dwindle. And it got sad when I realized that what began to motivate me to post were my stats. So I stopped caring.
And now we are here.
I don’t think I can recreate the earnestness and honesty that gave birth to so many funny, endearing blogs that I used to spend hours reading in high school. I don’t think that writing here even improves the quality of my writing.
But I’m paying attention, and I’m being astonished, and I’m here to tell about it.
I have a soft spot for series and projects. I keep on starting and restarting personal projects myself, but I don’t think any of them have taken off so well (LOL). A few of my online favorites are Jessica Hische’s Daily Drop Cap, Austin Radcliffe’s Things Organized Neatly, Nerd Boyfriend, The Selby, The Fox is Black’s Space Suit of the Week, Miss Moss’ Things I Like Right Now, Molly Ford’s Smart, Pretty, Awkward, and so on.
I also like Nick Zinner’s “Beds” series, where he took photos of beds he’s slept on when he was touring with the rest of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I suspect that this aspect of sameness-but-not is what drew me to the Roberto Chabet show in Galleria Duemila last month. There’s just something satisfyingly whole when it comes to collections and series. You see connections and similarities, and also differences.
A lot of people have also been asking me to share a few of my favorite local blogs, and I figure that this would be a good start! Here’s a list of some of the local projects and series that I enjoy quite a bit.
1. ANIK ANIK LOVE
by Mitch Mauricio • http://anikaniklove.blogspot.com/
Anik Anik Love is a series that I stumbled upon when my friend linked his other friend’s feature on the site. Mitch Mauricio goes around and photographs creatives from all walks of life and their sacred space. I’m kind of a nomad (I share a room with my sister), so I just work wherever, but it’s inspiring to see where beautiful things are made.
Right now, Mitch’s own space is featured in Real Living Magazine (October 2011). She’s a photographer, and I met her about a month or so ago. She’s really nice, on top of being quite talented. Also! Isn’t this one of the best projects? I made a few attempts at it a long time ago, but Mitch captures space in a pretty extraordinary way.
by Zet Diaz • http://spaces.withstrangers.com/
Newly launched by Zet Diaz, Spaces is a look into “spaces” all over the world. Unlike Anik Anik Love, this isn’t limited to workspaces or living areas, but explores what the personal idea of “space” is.
It’s not simply a show and tell of “this is where I work,” but a telling of the story of these spaces, and what it means to these people. I think her goal is to sort of find a way to make each base in the world covered. So far, she’s gotten pretty awesome people to be a part of the project. I’m so excited for future entries—for one in particular—and this is definitely a project to watch.
by Sarie Cruz • http://vimeo.com/sariecruz/
Sarie Cruz likes making films and looking at art. Merge these two interests together and you have a pretty genius project that I’m surprised no one I’ve heard of has been doing yet. Display is, essentially, a series of films that showcase art shows, exhibits, and events in Manila—in video form.
I document shows with pictures and words all the time, but that doesn’t quite capture the “thereness” one feels when going to an art show. Display is a step closer to that. It’s awesome because it captures part of the feeling of being there, despite the temporariness of exhibits. Because of the fleetingness of these shows, Sarie wanted to make the viewer feel somehow a part of it, despite not having been there or being far away.
There are, so far, only two up right now, but I know that she has a lot of footage she’s working on piecing together.
4. THE GRIM REPAT
by Mara Coson • http://thegrimrepat.wordpress.com/
I don’t know if you guys know this, but I had short-lived dreams of being a vlogger. If I did manage to make that work, I’d have loved it to have been like this. The Grim Repat is Mara Coson’s approach to repatriation, after being away from Manila so long. Three episodes are up now, and all are pretty fun to watch, despite the general vlog rule of “3 minutes and under.”
Part of what makes it interesting is the format. Typically, vloggers just set up their desk with a webcam and sit and talk in front of it. Sometimes, they go outside. Mara puts together videos of her day and her environment, coupling them with other tidbits and clips from films and videos. Then, there’s the good writing. I like that her videos have a theme and a point. It’s just a refreshing change, with a strong, overarching idea to back it up.
5. THE HANDY-DANDY MAP PROJECT
by Kasey Albano • http://kaseyalbano.tumblr.com/
Kasey Albano has always been one of the designers in school that I felt “had it.” The Handy Dandy Map Project is one of her design series that I love. Currently, there are about three entries, and I sincerely hope that she pursues it.
She has another series up called the 30 Day Song x Design Challenge. She is barely halfway, which excites me a lot because it means that I have more to look forward to.
Other local projects I love and enjoy:
- Missed Connections Manila
- Drunken Dispatches
- Daylight by Gabby Cantero
“Cause in the daylight anywhere feels like home.” — Daylight by Matt & Kim
Portraits on a Saturday. Why? Really, nothing. All for fun. For hanging out with friends under the sun!
I’m just naming some off the top of my head. So, if you have any series or projects, or even blogs, that are dear to your heart, please know that I would love to hear about them.
I’m working on a series right now, with Cat, which I’m hoping will take off by this month. It’s exciting, and we both love it—which is why it is puzzling as to why it’s taking so long for the both of us. We’re both busy, but it’s sort of like a passion project, so we’re pretty excited for it, too. Hope you stay tuned!
You know that part in The Lord of the Rings where Bilbo tells Gandalf how he feels like butter spread over too much bread? That’s how I’ve been feeling. The meaner part of myself is quick to say: “You brought it upon yourself.” After all, no one is really making me do anything I don’t want to do.
Anyway. A few snapshots of the last few days!
1. MY DUMB FILM CHALLENGE.
I went to an Iloilo-Bacolod trip for ten days. We were supposed to go to Concepcion, a nice beach three hours away from Iloilo’s city proper, but the rain fell down in drizzles. The sun beat down by the time we reached Bacolod, and it’s still following me here, over in Manila.
Stupidly, I brought only film cameras (save for my iPhone), so not everything I wanted to capture translated the way I saw them. I suppose that’s the risk! But sometimes, nice things turn up, too.
A more complete post coming up. Saving a lot of the nicer ones for later. I’m trying out a lot of different film, and so far so good. A pretty expensive experiment, but what can you do. So far, I am in love with slide film and the LOMO color negatives, but I am not a fan of the 800 ISO, which I got a bunch of. Oh well.
2. YSTYLE COLLABORATION
For October, I collaborated with YStyle, which is the style section of my favorite broadsheet. I added my stuff on top of their logo. They do it every few issues (not sure if it’s a monthly switch), and it’s awesome to have been a part of that. Pau made the one that came out before mine!
Bea Ledesma wrote up a super nice feature here, too.
3. I WROTE FOR ROGUE!
It’s always been my dream to get published in a magazine. I don’t think people know this, really, but before I made a living off of art and before I even considered going to school before art, I have always wanted to be a writer. So far, I’ve only had my work in three local magazines, but it was absolutely thrilling to have gotten a call to write one for one of my favorites, Rogue. I have had my graphic work published there before, but getting a call for a writing assignment was—excuse the extreme fangirling—a dream.
I was just asked to write about food, which is truthfully not my forte. But hey, it involved three things I loved: food, writing, and Rogue!
It ran in the October issue (Anne Curtis explosion), so get a copy while you still can. Personally, my favorite is the black-and-white one.
While walking around Bacolod for a Bong Bong’s, I stumbled upon a stall that sold nicely packaged local coffee. I bought two bags (because I’m a sucker), but I’ve only tried the Mt. Kanlaon roast.
For a medium roast, it tasted pretty dark to me! I’m kind of dreading tasting the Negrenese blend. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I’m a coffee wuss. I like coffee a lot, but I haven’t reached barako levels of reverence. Although, I’ve tried civet coffee. It’s pretty good, considering it literally comes from shit.
I admire the venture, though! It’s a project that aims to promote sustainability. I’ll talk more about that in another post.
5. A DESIGN STALKER’S DREAM.
I came upon Dribbble first when I was perusing Melanie‘s portfolio. I was hooked on the idea immediately. In the vein of the hyper-updates of social networks, Dribbble revolves around the question: What are you working on?
Users update other users with 400px x 300px screenshots of their WIPs. You can also do “rebounds” where you update previously uploaded work with edits, etc. It’s great, and awesome, and I love being a part of it. (Thanks to Dan Matutina, infinitely.)
My brain is muddled and such right now. My site stats are depressing me, and yeah, I still do feel quite like butter. I got back in from Bacolod last night, and I’m flying to Hong Kong two days from now. I’ll be in Singapore the week after. A part of me is celebrating because of all the fun I’ll be having (hello, The National!) but another part is also dreading the intervals in which I work like a dog.
But, speaking of dreams: I’ve come to realize that you really need to push and stretch yourself to get to where you want to be. I don’t think it’s bad to have lofty dreams, but I think I do need to touch base with myself every once in a while, so I remember what those dreams require of me.
Right now, when I look at my to-do list, my heart just crumples up into a little ball. When I sit down and start working, though, I feel like I can maybe actually make it work.
I’ve taken a lot of photographs over the years—back when I didn’t have Nothing Spaces yet—and I always feel compelled to share them, without really knowing how. Digging up photographs from 2008 seems kind of out of place, but I loved these places back then, and I still love them now.
Cities I Love is just sort of a travel diary, where I post about beautiful and interesting places. I suppose you can also kind of see it as a backlog dump site, but I hope you see what I see in these cities, and why I always want to share them with people, years after I’ve been to them.
Today, I’ll talk about San Francisco. I’ve always said that if New York doesn’t work out, I’d love to be based in San Francisco instead. Despite my body’s disagreement with the hilly terrain, I love this city because it’s beautiful, exciting, and full of so many different sorts of things, people, environments. Rounding a corner can take you into a completely new place.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that I didn’t use to pay enough attention to my experiences, and I didn’t use to tuck away these little bits and pieces of information. I got to know the city by walking through the streets and taking the cable cars and buses. I couldn’t tell you what to do or where to go or what to try and go see. What I can tell you is that I love this city, and I hope these photos make a part of you want to love it, too.
Quick entry because I am away on a long vacation and I miss my family. I meant to write this post when my mom got discharged from the hospital after she was confined on
her my birthday. It was meant to be a welcome back post because I know that she reads my blog. (Heh, hi mama.)
I guess it’s just a small update because lately, I’ve been appreciating my family more. It’s not perfect, but I’m slowly realizing how my parents really brought us up the best that they could. I like looking through old childhood pictures, because we always seemed so happy.
I don’t know when they will see this post, or if they will even see it at all. But I suppose this is a big thank you to my dad and mom, Soler and Mona, my kuya, Luis, and my little sister, Isabel (who is a brave little toaster, through and through).
I love you, and I love being part of this family.
If you have family—or friends who are as good as—I hope you take this time to let them know how much they mean to you.