Wildlife Category June 2020 Winner, taken San Juan City, Philippines, captioned “A common garden spider traps its meal, a housefly while hanging from its web”.
As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our IOA Monthly competition – the precursor to our annual event – are pouring in. We have received stunning photos across the categories, and are now featuring our monthly winners in an exclusive interview!
Below is our interview with one of this month’s spotlight, Francis M. Lumahan, the IOA Monthly June 2020 winner in the Wildlife category, selected from the May 2020 entries.
AG: What is the story of your beginning and journey to creating great images?
Francis: I remember owning a Samsung Digimax camera that had 1.5 megapixels back in 2004 and I only bought it to document my college life and take pictures of my friends. Soon I noticed that I was able to take good portraits of my friends but when I asked them to take my photo, it would either be blurred or not framed properly. Fast forward to 2013 when I attended my first Digital Photography Workshop under Winston Baltasar. That was when I started to get clients for event photography.
I love capturing moments, freezing action as well as emotion. The historian in me uses the camera like a time machine where I am able to create return tickets to the past. While the writer in me seeks to find stories through images, it’s the artist in me that treats the camera as a brush, painting images with light.
to me, the journey to creating great images is akin to looking for a unicorn or being on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Photography is an adventure. A never-ending one!
AG: How would you define your style and concepts you enjoy exploring?
Francis: I don’t subscribe to a particular style. I’d say my style is still evolving as I try to explore different genres.
For concepts, I like to draw inspiration from the work of great photographers. I browse through offline and online works and try to dissect the shadows and highlights, hopefully getting an insight into the minds of other photographers. Why did they place this light here? Why did they choose that pose? Why this background? I try to ask such questions and end on “How could I improve what they’ve done or do it differently?”
By default, I shoot cosplay whenever I can.
AG: What is great photography to you, and are there any photographers you would like to work with?
Francis: I think great photographs have great stories. Not just what is seen on a print or captured on a screen but also what is unseen and what happens behind or beyond the camera. Such images stand the test of time. Great photography for me is all about evoking feelings, stirring up deep inside one’s heart and soul.
I look up to Keda Z. Feng, Mark Nicdao, and Manny Librodo. I would love to not only learn from them but shoot with them someday.
AG: What is your preferred imaging gear to work with and why?
Francis: I shoot with my current gear right now which is Canon. I have a Canon 7D and 60D. I also own a Canon 100D which I won from a CameraHaus raffle. My default lens is an 18-135 kit lens which is my all-around lens though I have a bunch of other lenses.
I work with Canon because of the ease of use, service, and availability of accessories and lenses. They have a huge community here in the Philippines. This is where I met friends through various workshops, open shoots, and photowalks, all of which contributed to my growth as a photographer.
AG: What is the next Asian destination you’d like to explore and why?
Francis: Japan has always been my dream destination because of my fascination with their culture and arts. Growing up, I loved reading manga and watching animé.
AG: Can you share more about your current and upcoming projects?
Francis: Since our whole neighborhood was placed under community quarantine due to the pandemic, I started a Facebook photo album called “Photographing the Mundane” which is an ongoing visual journal of the simple things in my home and neighborhood. This is inspired by a quote I read from Henri Cartier-Bresson which goes, “A photograph is neither taken nor seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you…”
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