The Photos of Where I Am At

  • 18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Pupua crown and Antipo whip crosses path on the road in and out of the Church grounds. Pupua is Lenten sacrifice practised by women, while Men goes with the self-flagellation, locally called Antipo. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)
  • DSCF1591

Latest

Two versions of Self-abnegation

Two versions of Self-abnegation

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Pupua crown and Antipo whip crosses path on the road in and out of the Church grounds. Pupua is Lenten sacrifice practised by women, while Men goes with the self-flagellation, locally called Antipo. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Pupua crown and Antipo whip crosses path on the road in and out of the Church grounds. Pupua is Lenten sacrifice practised by women, while Men goes with the self-flagellation, locally called Antipo. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

 

 

(17 April 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines)
Every Good Friday in Gasan in the island of Marinduque, Philippines, men and women of faith have a different way of emulating the passion of Christ. Women in black don a large crown of green thorny leaf, while Men without upper clothes, cut with blade the most vulnerable part of their body skin until blood drip out.

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Two Pupua women shares a light moment prior to the procession. (Photo by: Joel S. Mataro)

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Two Pupua women shares a light moment prior to the procession. (Photo by: Joel S. Mataro)

 

 

An elderly 80plus -year old woman when interviewed stated that, the donning of Popua leaves, an endemic plant in Marinduque, could be traced back to the Spanish times. She recalls that her grandmother would dress up in full black, neck to heels, in puritanical fashion during Good Friday, then walk bare-foot to the Church to hear the Siete Palabras or Seven Last Words of Jesus. As it was before, so it is until today.

The ritual of the tradition starts with the choice of green thorny Pupua leaves,   about a foot long of stalk and leaf. They would then fashion it in circle like crown of cascading leaves, heavy and massive enough to cover the whole head, scalp and face. It would take the whole morning to arrange the Pupua. At around three-o-clock in the afternoon, these women would go to the Church on top of the hill, they would not yet wear their Pupua crowns, not yet until the procession starts.

18 April 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Leaders of the Pupua group checks on the name of early arrivals. The list of Pupua participants are sorted out according to barangays for recognition. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

18 April 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: Leaders of the Pupua group checks on the name of early arrivals. The list of Pupua participants are sorted out according to barangays for recognition. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

 

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: An 80-year old Pupua peniten, gestures as she explains. Pupua practioners are all-over Gasan, Marinduque. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: An 80-year old Pupua peniten, gestures as she explains. Pupua practioners are all-over Gasan, Marinduque. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

 

The line of bare-footed Pupua women in black clothes, white candle on one hand with heads adorned with massive green crown is a sight to behold. Here are women in their 20s and a handful in their 80s ages practises this Lenten Tradition in solemnity and in prayer. Aware that that this is their outward expression of participation in the passion of Christ, they do this sacrifice as a form of Prayer, a form of Thanksgiving for the blessings received, a form of Atonement and Penance for the sins committed.
After the whole town procession goes back to the church, the Popua women goes to the cemetery and removes their head gear then burns them. The removal and burning symbolizes new life without sin.

 

18 April 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: A Pupua woman, dons her crown as she gets ready for the procession. (Photo by Jayvee S. Mataro)

18 April 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: A Pupua woman, dons her crown as she gets ready for the procession. (Photo by Jayvee S. Mataro)

JV2

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines. Old women who had practised Pupua gets themselves into the line for procession. (Photo by Jayvee Mataro)

 

About the same time as the Popua Women marches into the church, bands of Men troop to the cemetery almost naked with only a small short as cover.

As one enters the cemetery, the hotness of the afternoon only magnifies the strange mixed smell of alcohol and blood. On the skin surface, the “Antipo” as these flagellants are locally called, is a tradition of machismo and masochism rather than penance and faith? Under the skin, one hopes it is not, for what else could be the reason of doing it?

??????

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: The designated cutter incised small cuts to create a tear of blood all-over a penitent’s body. The same blade would be used again for anyone who wants to have a cut of his own. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

Persons chatted for a small talk, reveals that they do this as a form of penance for their sins. Remembering how Christ was flagged by roman soldiers before his crucifixion, the Antipos first have another person cut their skin on the most vulnerable skin part. Using a razor blade, the assigned person delicately makes a cut in small strokes, just enough to make a tear of blood. The cuts are made on the stomach, at the back, at the side arm, at legs, soon the guy is almost covered by his own blood. Soon thereafter, to aggravate the bleeding, the penitent torments his own flesh with a whip made of an odd number of 6-8 inch long, thin-knife edge bamboo sticks, cluster and tied together on a string or thin rope. While all of this is done while sipping gin or a local coconut wine, nobody seems to utter prayer or at least do it with sacredness, instead you will hear laughter and conquest of something. And when one is ready, the penitent goes out of the cemetery, out on the street for all people to see until the end of the procession where every Antipo takes a river bath, believing they will emerge from the water scar and wound free.
????????

18 Aptil 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: . Detail of bamboo whip, drenched in blood. While penitent is framed by the arm holding the bamboo whip. Included in the photo are the onlookers and friends sharing a drink or two insde the cemetery. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

18 Aptil 2014, Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: . Detail of bamboo whip, drenched in blood. While penitent is framed by the arm holding the bamboo whip. Included in the photo are the onlookers and friends sharing a drink or two insde the cemetery. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

Antipo

 

 

Both Popua and Antipo joining the same procession of the Santo Sepulchro seems like an ironical interpretations of faith in observance of Good Friday, it is as if, we do not have enough suffering. While Popua is a more acceptable, demonstration of atonement, is Antipo an insult to suffer like the Messiah? Unless the local Church issues a more definitive guidelines of observing the Holy Week, traditions like these would continue to thrive, of raw faith, regardless of theology or not.

 

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: An Antipo penitent poses for a portrait. Almost covered with self inflicted cut, the Antipo holds a bamboo whip for self-torment. At the back is the church of Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines and some Morions walking on a Good Friday afternoon. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

18 April 2014. Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines: An Antipo penitent poses for a portrait. Almost covered with self inflicted cut, the Antipo holds a bamboo whip for self-torment. At the back is the church of Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines and some Morions walking on a Good Friday afternoon. (Photo by Joel S. Mataro)

 

 

(Documented with Jhuly Panday and Jayvee Sotto Mataro.April 2014.Gasan,Marinduque,Philippines. )

The Next Four of the Seven ABCs of Street Photography

The next Four:


4. Analyze Before Clicking
It is good to take a long shot first. You will have a sense of place and see the scene and relative situation objectively. Shooting is a vice and clicking quite addicting, most true when you only have a seeming cheap SD for an ammunition and a fully-charged battery for your arsenal. Sometimes you shoot from the hip in a burst mode, sometimes you shoot (in your shyness) without even looking, hoping somewhere, somehow you can capture a moment that may garner the social media likes that would boost your ego. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, it does not. It doesn’t even make you a good photographer. Street Photography is depicting what it is about being with people in-public. To be with them, you have to be close enough to understand the rhythm, the dynamics of the street. To see it, you should open your eyes. To depict it technically sound, master your tool, know
 your camera. Know the appropriate exposure triangle of any given situation. Analyze Before Clicking. The secret of a good composition is to see it in your mind’s eye first, anticipate how people will move, grasp how gestures will gather, consider how the conundrum will communicate the idea. Picture the surreal and analyze what is real, and the moment will surely come, always be ready for the click.Image 

5. Already Been Chewed
Be yourself and have that freshness of vision. Do not chew up what’s Already Been Chewed. If some photos and style are quite popular, it is because they managed to stand out among the rest and not just a copy cat of a well-known photographer. Emulate them for what they are worth, but always look inside yourself. You are in yourself unique, and can only be what can fit and fill you. An “Anything But Cartier-Bresson” including others mentality when shooting the streets will push you farther, your only limit is your creativity. Same thing goes when looking at photos of others, do not fit it to the image of your liking, do not tweak and trample it so it may become the image of the masters. Photographs will never surrender its facts. If you want to improve your photos, study, practice, study, practice. Have a mentor, so you will get acquainted and be familiar with beautiful forms. Mentors will show you the way to the table, but only you can eat on your plate, and spoon the food to your mouth, for they know learning is not spoon-feeding and they cannot chew for you to swallow.
Image

6. Always Be Careful

Dare to go where nobody else does, but it doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot to hurt yourself. Always protect yourself. It is the only one you’ve got. When going to places for a photowalk, dress yourself like a usual person of the street, that is your camouflage. Do not dress-up like bird watchers or hikers going to a camp or mountain climbers in a similar knapsack gear. This is Street Photography and stay invisible, the way to be careful is not to attract attention, keep your feet on the ground and stay alert always.
Image

7. Apathy Breeds Condescension
Remember that the street is not an aquarium. They are not fishes that you fish for your consumption. People living on the streets like beggars, street children and the like, and all the others in public deserve respect. Shooting them in their sorry state doesn’t automatically mean you are sympathetic to them, be clear on your intent why you shoot them. Frames that compromises their being could hurt them. Be intelligent to figure it out. The keyword is respect.

Image

And that’s it the Seven ABCs of Street Photography. It will eventually evolve as we bring it to where we want to the go. The DEF, Designing Every Frame could come later, but that would be in another time.

The First Three of the Seven ABC’s of Street Photography

The First Three of the Seven ABC’s of Street Photography

Learning Street Photography shouldn’t be that hard, if you are curious like a pre-school child. Being observant, enthusiastic and open to new way of looking at things, will unfold a new universe, rock and rolling to the brim. And if you are into it, it is guaranteed when you begin to see Street Photography, Street Photography will begin to see you.
Image

1. Always Bring Camera.
This is the start of seeing enthralling things, seeing interesting images and poignant moments. The play of light and shadows, the allure of graphics and colors, the smile or smirk from someone’s face, the gesture you had been waiting for – all of them are for you to capture; if you have your camera. Well if you don’t have it, you still have the best camera, exercise your eyes. See in frames, recognize juxtapositions, perceive patterns, relate the odds and you will always have a new world. That’s the gift of photography, letting the world see what you had seen, thru your eyes.
Image

2. Avoid Boring Compositions.
Great photos, interesting scenes, do not just come in front for you to click. This is the street and it is as mundane as ever. You make the picture and it demands creativity. Always Be Creative. Study what “forms” resembles art and look for “content” that is a story on its own. Learn perspective, know by heart the emblems of a good form, draw what you like to see and in time exciting compositions is like breathing, it would be as natural as it can be. If you go beyond the rule of thirds and carabao-eating-grass  you will never live again in utter boredom. Image


3. Accept Being Confronted.

The street is a street. Its beauty is in its chaos, the dynamism that breathes life to it. Finding yourself shooting there is a continous flow of derivatives, that is what makes it exciting. It is therefore advisable, if not imperative that you must know what you are doing. You will never know when people will ask: what are you doing? Why are you taking pictures of me? Always Be Calm and be ready for an answer. If you have a prior vision on why you took the camera, peeped thru the viewfinder and shoot, the answer is like a click of a hand. Know yourself. Confrontation is clarification. You are not intruding their private lives you are doing the noble work of Street Photography. But please do not explain like a politician to his constituent. Smile and converse candidly. People gets it, if you are not a threat and you do not mean any harm. Your acceptance is your access.
Image

The next Four:
4. Analyze Before Clicking

5. Already Been Chewed

6. Always Be Careful

7. Apathy Breeds Condescension

Flag Down, Hop-in, Get-off

Kung sa kalye titignan

wala na sigurong pangkalahatang sumasalamin

sa ating pagka-pinoy

sa anyo, tindig, kulay at gamit ng jeep.

Isang sasakyang dayuhang pang-digmaan
na ating niyakap at inangkin

sinakyan at ginamit para sa ating pupuntahan.
Papara at sasakay basta alam ang patutunguhan

Ano pa nga ba’t pagsakay mo pa lang sa estribo

para ka ng akyat-panaog sa bahay

ang pagtuloy ay ang pag-usog ng mga katabi
at parang isang pampublikong pagtitipon

pwede kayong mag-kwentuhan

Magtalakayan. Maglambingan
at ano pang maibigan.

At sa pag-para, at pagbaba siguraduhin lamang
na naipa-suyo na ang bayad may sukli man o wala
God Knows Hudas Not Pay 

———

Everyday millions of Filipinos ride a jeep, an icon of Filipino ingenuity, creativity and mass culture. The Jeepney evolved from two distinct kinds of transportation: the Spanish influence horse-driven calesa and the American’s world war 2 General Purpose (GP) vehicle, hence the name JEEP. From its calesa ancestry comes the personal artistic touch of the owner and driver and from the Jeep’s shell is it’s ability to be a real general purpose. It is used from the farm to the city, school or work. It is for anything a Filipino can think of. Used for anything and for everything you can see it in any street around the Philippines, each city with a code of its own, each region with a taste of its own. To ride it is an experience. Every time unique.
Image

Image
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

What is Street Photography for me?

DSCF1591

SP for me is the vision of and for the Divine, the pursuit of happiness when nothing is shown, photos of where I am at and thankful I am there.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.