With PASSION and PURPOSE. That is what sets award-winning documentary photographer Rick Rocamora apart from others (http://balikbayanjournal.blogspot.com/). Armed with only his camera, he has traveled the world and been to the poorest/marginalized locations to document unknown yet critical stories of our times to share with the world.
I met this inspiring Fil-Am at my alma mater, UP College of Mass Communication in Diliman last night where he gave a talk and shared some of his photo exploits with us.
Upon asking him what he would advise to young/novice photographers & videographers in setting upon our own journeys, this is what he has to say:
1. Develop your skills first. Without your skills, you will not be able to effectively communicate to the world what you want to say. In his case, he developed his photographic skills first before setting on this wild, exciting journey.
2. Promote yourself! In promoting yourself and your work, you are in the long run, promoting your advocacy & the stories you document.
3. In setting out on your journey as videographers/photographers, start with what you are passionate about and let that guide you.
4. You are a visual storyteller. It is your job to share your work (the stories that you capture) with the rest of the world.
5. Find your way into the mainstream. This is the only way to reach a wider audience for your work. The more your can reach out, the more people you can educate and inform!
6. At the end of the day, it's not about who did the story...the question is, "was the story told?"
7. Establish connections in different groups. Do not limit yourself in your own little world. Venture out and create relationships in different areas of society. This will help you in your work.
Regarding photography techniques, this is what he shared with us:
1. Follow the light. Use the light to create your picture.
2. Get as close as you can to your subject.
3. Look at the eyes, see how they react. This will guide you in capturing that perfect moment.
4. Be patient. Wait and see what's in front of you. Wait for situations.
5. Be aware of your peripherals as well (surroundings).
6. The key to photography (which also applies to documentary videography), is not the camera...it is your POINT OF VIEW. You must develop your perspective on the world and tell the story "as you see it". Through your picures (or videos) convey your perspective or what the subject wants to say.
7. Provide a "visual voice" to what you see.
8. Be truthful to what you capture. They (the subjects) allow us into their world, giving us an opportunity to tell the world their story. Let your photos (or video footages) tell the truth.
9. Lastly, what are you trying to accomplish through your work?
That's it! Hope you learned something. We will be doing a video interview with Rick this weekend. We will post it next week! Happy reading and God bless!