12 July 2010

A Photographic Memoir - The Philippines

Pamaypays waving, beautiful voices chirping, emotions raging, sun beaming, cats purring, videoake booming, drinks slamming, food flowing...
Well it took me three months to finally confront and edit the photos for the following post.  For personal reasons, it's something I've been putting off, but as an artist, I wanted to share these souvenirs of my experience like I do with all my others.

Having family and friends all around the world and very far from me, I've become somewhat used to suspending my affection for my loved ones.  It may be a defense mechanism, sure, but when I had to say goodbye to one of the most important people in my life that I hadn't seen in over a year, all of my walls broke down.  My Inay, mother of eight, grandmother to eighteen, great-grandmother to two, queen to us all, had passed.  When the sudden news broke, I quit my job at Japanese retail hell, packed my bags, headed back to Philadelphia, and so began my 32 hour trek halfway around the world for her funeral.  

As most photographers would say, I struggle to use my eyes without a viewfinder, but, as a granddaughter, I promised myself I wouldn't pick up my camera until she was buried.  I decided to discard most of my personal photos and shoot the deceptively disparate characters of the Filipino ghetto.  With the rhythm of the street, I appropriated the scenes of the barrio to display the traditions and values a family being collected from Philadelphia, Norway, and Abu Dhabi would know.

I dedicate this post to a woman who raised me - my heart and soul of twenty-five years.  (16 May 1921 - 04 April 2010 ) Maraming maraming salamat po! 

[Filipinos practice the Catholic the tradition of praying the novena/rosary nine days following the death.  After the ninth day, it is spent feasting and praying.] 

[Later in the week, we held a birthday fiesta for my uncle.] 

[A day trip to Kamay ni Jesus - Luchban, Quezon]

Love always, your bunsoy.