We find our passion in random fields of interests. But what if our interest randomly found us?
Gerson Domingo is like any other photography enthusiast - started getting curious about photos, dreamed of having a camera, then finally experienced taking snaps. What sparked his passion, however, was when - after attending a photo exhibit - he was picked as the winner of a photography book in a contest. He took it as a sign and challenge to pursue photography with more determination. From then on, he had been trying to absorb as much as he could about photography and putting it into practice by shooting regularly. From being an outsider, he has made his way into Focus Bulacan and quickly developed rapport with members due to his polite demeanor. A Psychology major who now works as a parole review officer, he now takes on the big responsibility of being a Focus logistics officer. He's come a long way. And here's his story.
Q : How did your love affair with photography develop? Tell us the story about your first camera.
G : I was young then when my curiosity with cameras started. I was thinking what kind of thing is it, that even my parents kept on reminding me not to touch it! Well, that time it was still a film camera so you know what the reason behind their restrictions is. To make the story short, I kept on requesting if someday I could take even one snap! My father did allow me to take a family snap during Christmas eve. Finally! That was the first time I felt I was starting to become a big boy. Unfortunately, it happened to be our last Christmas with my father as he passed away the following month. The thought of capturing special moments or the power to freeze time made me fall in love with photography. It makes me feel that I was blessed to be in that exact place and time to witness, capture and let that moment live till eternity. My first camera, a family camera, was a Kodak Pro-Star 333 with a focal length of 35mm. My mom gave me a Canon digicam, but I forgot the model, as a birthday gift which I even considered as my oversoul.. hi, Shaman King kids! I hid it at school just to take pictures.
Q : How did you get started with Focus?
G : I heard a lot about Focus since my college days. I became a fan, even a stalker, of their mesmerizing works. I and my beloved girlfriend were invited by my friend Charles to vote for kuya Chi’s (Lopez) entry at Focus Bulacan's 2nd anniversary exhibit. His entry had won as the People’s Choice and luckily I was picked as raffle winner. SJ (Sir Jer Sandel) reached me so he could give me the book titled The Ultimate Photography Guide for Generation Now. It was kind of a wake-up call to pick up my camera and try shooting again. Sana may kasamang talent din yung pagkakaabot ni SJ, hahaha! Michelle gave me the guts to persevere while the rest is history as I joined the prestige photography club of Bulacan.
Q : What did you enjoy the most in joining Focus?
G : I simply enjoy the treatment and camaraderie of the group. Perhaps I must call it as a family of photographers. It is something that you can treasure, where you share the same desire and passion with these different kinds of people. You have different stories to tell but have the same results. Superb feeling! Before I forget, I enjoy eating with them. Eat photomeet!
Q : What was the biggest misconception – if there’s any – about Focus that you realized once you started joining their activities and becoming a member?
G : I thought they were stars who were impossible to reach and be with. I was wrong then. They were all pleasant and sociable. Promise mukha lang talaga silang nakakatakot. I also thought that my works had no place with them... yet another misconception. They will guide and support you no matter what. Cheesy!
Q : What is your ultimate favorite photo?
G : The photo of a child flicking its finger to a number one and his mother was trying to take care of him despite of being busy selling at the market. I entitle it as “Number One.” I decided to go with my mom to the market so I could take some snaps. It was the first time I tried shooting while she was behind me and I felt how proud she was of me. I am proud of that shot! (Photo is shown below.)
Q : What remains as your photography frustration?
G : Something from Google : “Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success”. Honestly, I have a lot of frustrations, for I always aspire to do better. I feel that I do not know anything in everything so I have a reason to keep on learning.
Q : What or where would be your dream shoot?
G : I guess to take a long exposure shot of my own house. I also dream to document how my future children would grow up. As in lahat kung kakayanin.
Q : Who are photographers you look up to and why?
G : Steve McCurry and Ansel Adams. Their works and words about photography were my inspiration. Sir Rommel Bundalian for his street works and unique and cool way to shoot it. Sir Jeremy, Kuya Jay Salvador and Kuya Chi. They were the first members of Focus whom I joined in a photomeet. I also tend to stalk their works, hehe.
Q : Which skill or aspect regarding photography do you think you need to improve or work on most?
G : Portraiture. I treat it as a staged shot and I don’t have any feelings for it. Kaya nagagalit si Michelle kasi hindi daw siya 'yung subject ko hahaha.
Q : What would you say is your forte or genre? And how would you describe your style?
G : Street and landscape photography? 'Yun na kasi 'yung sinabi ko sa application ko dito sa Focus, haha! However, I just shoot whatever entices my feeling, mood and attention. Nararamdaman ko kasi parang may spark kasi kapag dapat pitikan.
Q : 10 years from now... what would you like to have accomplished in photography?
G : I am hoping to have a photo series wherein I could blend Psychology into Photography. I still do not have any idea how to do it.
Q : You are a new Focus officer. How do you feel about the position and challenges ahead? And what would you like Focus to be years from now?
G : Pressured! I don’t have any clue why the club selected me to be one of its officers. I am glad and overwhelmed for the trust they showed me. I am also challenged to do the role and contribute to the success of the club. I hope that Focus could sustain its prowess and charm. I wish that I could see the club to have its own cafe so we could entertain a lot of aspirants and professionals at the same time.
Q : What has been the most unforgettable shoot or photography experience you’ve had?
G : 'Yung shoot para sa Eraserheads theme contest!!! Grabe kasi sinunod ko naman lahat ng tips para sa street. I took it at Cubao, doon sa kinakainan nila Popoy and barkada nila. Ayun pinitkan ko sila tsaka ako nagpaalam. Akala nila para sa mga nilalagay sa dyaryo. Hahaha!
Q : If you knew then what you know now, you would...?
G : I guess I would have taken a photography course or had a psychological thesis about it.
Q : What advice would you give those who just got their first cameras? And those who'd like to join Focus?
G : Simply love and be thankful for what you have. I like to share the attitude of Dory, the friend of Nemo, anyone know her? Well, she always keeps on blurting out to just keep swimming but for us we need to keep shooting. Para sa mga gusto sumali sa Focus, 'wag kayo mahiya just approach us kahit ano pa gamit ninyo. Basta mahal n'yo ang photography, welcome kayo.
Q : What's your message to Focus followers and fellow members?
G : To all our friends and followers, thank you for giving us inspiration to shoot better through the appreciation you are giving us. Just continue supporting our group to strive for Bulacan. To the Focus family, thank you for all the knowledge that you taught me. I do not have proper words to share how grateful am I to meet and be with you all. I hope we could still be together in the coming years. Thank you, my Focus family. Sana dumami pa lalo ang members para mas masaya! Keep shooting, everyone!
More of Gerson's favorite photos (Click thumbnails to view in full)
His interest became a passion after he won a photography book as prize. Imagine what more could people do if they considered blessings as challenges. Imagine if they had the support of their loved ones. Imagine if loved ones serve as their inspiration. Gerson Domingo knows too well : photography makes you imagine... and turn visions into reality.
Every month, we have a feature on our members, our photography idols, and other photography issues we feel deserve a heads-up.