Geekology 2.0 Book Signing @ The Philippine Literary Festival

Shameless plug by yours truly. It's an honor to participate in the Philippine Literary Festival in any way this year. Would be doing a quick book signing for our Geekology book series. Well we only have two (2), so I guess that still counts? Hehehe.

More details at the poster. See you guys this weekend!

Here's the full schedule for the activity entire weekend if you wanna check out works by other authors:


Model Portfolio: Jinri

It's been awhile since I got Jinri in front of the camera, so this was a reunion shoots of sorts. I got to bring back the original glam team for her as well. 

We're back in the studio for this session, and back to lighting basics. I was experimenting with the lights so much, I forgot most of their formations. The notable one though was the huge softbox (16 ft. in diameter) we placed on the side, and worked off the shadows and reflections from there. Given the light was all over the place, having styrofoam panels on the opposite side made a huge impact on the shadows and/or reflections. The studio had three (3) huge 8x4 ft. of them, and good enough that one side was painted black. Mix-matching the black and white panels gives you this play on producing harsher shadows then a bounce the next section.

The Asian-inspired set got us pleasantly surprised. As most of these shoots go, the final output doesn't really end up like the inspiration. We get to inject our creative takes on the pegs and come up with something unique in the end. You gotta hand it to Jinri, she does her research beforehand and actually provided a good number of the pegs we got ideas from. When you have a model like that, there's no other choice but to up your game.

This obi-on-kimono is another play on a previous shoot we did shooting on-location. The obi was reversible, and having the other side gave us a chance to re-style it anew.

Post-mortem after the shoot, Jinri wished she had longer nails and red polish. Hehehe.

Thanks to the coaches at Ultimate Fitness, Jinri was more than proud to show off her curves for this shoot. 

Production Credits:
  • Make-up: Ara Fernando
  • Styling: Hannah Kim
  • Model: Jinri Park


Model Portfolio: Mayumi #NSFW

This was the first shoot I did with Mayumi, but only found the time to post this as of late. Few times when I get to work with a local model who can also achieve the gravure look I've always been as sucker for. It did help that she was also half-Japanese.

All of these shots were done with natural light with just a silver reflector providing fill in the dark spots. I can't emphasize enough that location is a crucial key in doing gravure shoots since we'd be relying on natural light most of the time. I had fun time working with Mayumi since she doesn't emote too much to connect to the camera. All she needed was stare, the rest was up to you (the photographer). 

Her complexion is almost porcelain flawless. It's gotta be them Japanese genes.

Production Credits:

  • Make-up: Jet Babas
  • Styling: Kristine Toribio
  • Model: Mayumi Yokoyama


Creativity Exercises #4: Mixed Feelings

Music has been a vital component in our humanity ever since man began to make mating calls or would bangs things together to form a beat. Songs have made a significant impact in our history: has made nations come together or has called them to war. But we're not here to take a motherhood of a statement and talk about Philosophy 101, instead this a look at how music, particularly songs with lyrics, affects our creativity.

Music puts creative people in a mood, of course that mood depends on the kind of music being played. Raffy usually brings a guitar during Session 3 of our creative photography workshops, and this is more or less the exercise.

One good example of this would be the renditions of Tears for Fears's song Mad World. 

This is the original by Tears for Fears

Adam Lambert in American Idol

It's basically the same song, but the way they're arranged and sung elicits different emotions. Let's look at something a bit more extreme, but illustrates this contrast rather well. Like A Virgin (Britney and Christina) 

 vs. Like A Virgin (from Moulin Rouge).

There is also a Glee version of this, but we don't have to bother that for now.

The gender of the singer alters the way we perceive a song. Personally, I find the female version more tolerable, if not cute at the least. The Moulin Rouge version just gave me the creeps. Just from that reaction you could already see differences in emotions brought out by the same song but sung by a man vs. a woman. It is also important to note which gender originally sung the song. It makes for a first impression about it. 

Sting's Message in a Bottle: 

vs. Amanda Wood (I don't know her, but I just had to youtube a female version of the song):

Ironic as it may sound, but at the same time it makes sense: it's a different form of the same thing.

Age is also a factor. If we're to take on a contemporary version, watch Glee. Most if not all of the songs there are technically remakes, but are sung by younger people. Somehow an old song gets revived when sung by a younger singer. And inversely, when we get older singers to belt out younger songs, it brings about some maturity in the rendition more often than not. Is how the singers, both young and old, look like alter the way we perceive the way the song is sung? Then maybe perhaps there is a connection between visual cues and songs?

Where are we going at here? I hope it's established that music could bring out emotions.

Now, how does this connect to something visual? This is one of the reasons why music videos and eventually MTV was born. Emotions brought about by music is further enhanced by visual cues. At this stage, we are transposing emotions from sound to sight. And just like the missing senses exercise, it's curious to ask, is it possible to have it in reverse? So here's what we're going to do:

Get a random sampling of five (5) songs cut across various genres, and they don't have to be all of your favorites. As you listen to them, list down the emotions you somehow feel from each. After going through all of them, pick out one song. Look at each emotion you have written, and imagine a time in your life (could be recent or could be as old as years ago) when you felt the same thing. It is important to be as descriptive as you can in this part of the exercise. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel?

Doesn't this feel like deja vu of the missing senses? Because it is.
You are realizing a point in time, and eventually leading into the visual elements that brought you there using your senses as filters from the emotions to the words and then to the images. On a digressed note, this table might be of help as well, since it addresses level of emotions just the same way as color is.

On an updated note, there was a chart based on the movie Inside Out that piqued my interest on emotions and the possible mixed feelings you might have when you combined two (2) emotions. 

If... Songs > Emotions > Visual Cues, then is it safe to conclude: Songs = Visual Cues?
Is it also the reason why most of us attach songs as cues for our past memories? This particular song by Phil Collins, Do You Remember: 

was such a flash bulb memory song for me. Up until now, I still live in the same neighborhood where I grew up. Back in grade school, I had this cute girl for a neighbor whom I had a crazy crush on back then. Somehow me and my awkward self eventually found its way to meet her, and we became sort of friends. Her family migrated to the US one year after, which left poor old me almost sobbing in the curb when we said our last goodbyes (but I wasn't so sure if she did like me back then either). That same afternoon in our living room, my elder sister happened to watch MTV, and lo and behold, Do You Remember was being played. Ever since, the song always brings me back to that afternoon and curb whenever I get to hear it. It didn't matter what the lyrics were, it just brings the moment back for that odd reason.

Inversing the flow, would it be then possible to do such:

Visual Cues > Emotions > Songs?
Would there be images powerful enough to elicit emotions, and eventually attach songs to them? Your guess is just as good as the image you'd be able to make with this exercise.


Model Portfolio: Stella #NSFW

Had the awesome privilege of working with Stella Chuu when I went to the US last July for San Diego Comic Con. I arrived the week before, so I had time to check out Anime Expo and do some shooting on the side. 

Before I go any further, I would like to warn readers of nudity in this post. So if you're in the office, this is not safe for work.