Gentlemanly and always calculated in his moves, he may be considered a late bloomer in his long-held passion. His is a classic story : a curious aficionado of photography who goes all-in when he finally gets a camera of his own. From that point on, he has never looked back... except on one photo, taken at a time when he was still learning the intricacies of the craft. A Civil Engineer who hails from Malolos and works for the country's biggest expressway concessionaire, he quickly rose through the ranks in Focus Bulacan, exhibiting teamwork and leadership qualities, aside from a commitment to service. More than enough reasons for him to be designated as officer just a year into his membership.
A creative mind with a keen eye for details and a dedication to get better. Jovit Caballero is our featured Focus photographer of the month.
How did your affinity for photography start?
J : My photography journey started last December 2016 when I finally got to afford an entry level camera with a kit lens.. which is still the only camera I have now, with just an addition of a few lenses. Back then, as a new and young professional, taking photos had occupied most of my spare time outside work. And during those times that I remember my high school days when I used to dream of having my own phone with a camera. Yes, it was a big deal back in 2008. I would always borrow my classmates’ phones and take random photos around the school premises. This made me realize that my passion in photography did not just pop out of nowhere, it has always been within me.
You’re an engineer by profession. Does photography serve as an outlet for you? And do engineering and photography have something in common?
J : Civil Engineering can be physically and mentally draining, so yes, photography is one of my outlets during stressful times. I am currently assigned as a Contracts Engineer which focuses on even the smallest details of a project. This is the same with photography where details are important, different elements will tell you a different story.
What were your usual frustrations when you were starting out in photography?
J : Like most beginners, I would say that my limited resources are my usual frustrations. I always thought that to become a good photographer, one has to own the best equipment, have plenty of budget, and a lot of spare time. But I’ve proven myself wrong. The most expensive equipment may not necessarily be the best, and those who have less, will always know how to make the most out of it. I think we just need to have that drive to pursue what we want, and surround ourselves with creative and supportive people.
You took quicker than usual to be appointed an officer of Focus Bulacan. How did you handle the load and pressure at such an early stage in your membership?
J : First of all, I would like to thank the officers for trusting me that early. At first, I was quite worried because I am concurrently leading a photography club in my company, Expressions Photography Club. But because I’ve always wanted to do something for the people I share the same passion with, I accepted the challenge. It was really difficult to find time for the meetings and activities, but we always find a way. Photomeets and club events are very complicated, but they always end successfully. I think the officers have the same set of goals, that’s why the heavy weight of the load and pressure has become something that can be shared by each and every one of us. It has always been hard but definitely fulfilling.
What’s the most difficult aspect of being a Focus officer? What’s the most fulfilling?
J : The most difficult part of being an officer would be the consolidation or finalization of a group consensus. An organization this big is accompanied by a meticulous decision-making process. While the most fulfilling part will definitely be the end results, of course. Not only the good photos, but also the good memories.
To date, what has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
J : I would always be proud of the recognitions that Expressions, the Photoworld Cup, and Focus Bulacan have given me. In fact, I have them displayed in my room to remind me where I started. But nothing will beat the compliments and the support that I am receiving from my family and different circle of friends. Every day with those people who believe in me will be my proudest, they are my living trophies.
Care to share us the most unforgettable lesson you’ve learned in photography?
J : I think the most unforgettable and valuable lesson that I’ve learned in photography, which I think is also applicable with our daily lives, is that you cannot please everyone. Photography is an art and a way to express yourself. We can’t avoid comments that we don’t want and expect to hear, but always be wise enough to choose and filter those criticisms which can help you be better at your craft.
If you could pick just one photo among your favorites, which one is the most meaningful to you, and why?
J : I think the most memorable one is the "Flower Girl", taken at the St. James Church in Plaridel, because up to now I can still remember the comments that I received on my photo. In 2017, Focus photographers Jer Sandel and Gerson Domingo conducted a 3-day workshop in celebration of the municipality’s town fiesta. It was the first ever Focus Bulacan activity I’ve attended, and a segment wherein we can shoot around the vicinity is conducted and then the photos will be criticized by the speakers. It might not be the most technical, but it brings me back to that moment. And for that, I consider it meaningful. (Photo is included in image gallery below, the first in the group.)
How would you describe your style in shooting and presenting your photos?
J : Honestly, I can’t specifically describe my style but I would say it’s more of “clean and colourful” conceptual photos. I do try a bit of every genre, but I usually enjoy conceptual and portrait photography more than anything else.
What remains in your photography bucket list? What would be your dream destination or project to shoot?
J : I have always been fascinated by landscape photography. I want to learn a lot about this genre, and maybe own my complete set of landscape portfolio from around the Philippines. My dream photography destination is definitely Batanes. I’ve been there once, but my time was just occupied by my amazement of the majestic sceneries. I definitely enjoyed my stay there, and as promised, I will be back to capture what I’ve witnessed.
What photography advice would you give yourself five years ago?
J : So that was 2015, maybe “Buy a camera now and join Focus Bulacan as early as possible! You’ll learn and experience a lot, for sure!”
Jovit's Other Favorites (Click thumbnails to view photos in full)
In your own words, what is photography?
J : As I would always say, photography for me is a means of transporting myself to an imaginary and creative world where it seems that I’m not bothered and don’t care about anything at all.
Tip you’d like to give those who are starting out in photography, how they could become better faster.
J : We all know that every learning process takes time. In fact, I’ll still put myself on the beginner’s bracket, maybe just a few steps ahead. There are a lot to learn, so surround yourself with the best mentors that you can meet. Keep your fire burning, but be careful not to get burned. Put in extra time and effort from conceptualization up to execution, because that little extra can be the difference between failure and success.
Your message for fellow Focus members, then message for Focus followers.
J : To my fellow Focus members, thank you for the first 2 years full of learnings and experiences! Amidst these trying times I see a lot of great photos in your posts from different social media platforms. I am also happy that our first-ever virtual photomeet has been successful, and our group is as active as ever. Let us all participate and contribute to all other succeeding activities of the group so we can continue to bring honor not just to our club but to the province as well. Ingat mga ka-Focus! To our followers, thank you for the usual support that you guys are giving us! To those who plan to join the club, there is no more room for hesitations, I’ve been there before and I assure you that the only thing you’ll regret is that you didn’t join earlier. You are all most welcome! Keep safe everyone.
Let's not lose sight of the fact that Jovit also won the "Newcomer Of The Year" award in Focus Bulacan's 2018 competition, and the "Rookie Of The Year" distinction in the national PhotoWorld Cup competition of the same year. All these while navigating through professional and social life, and discovering a niche in his creative pursuit.
He has come a long way, indeed... yet he has only just begun.
Every month, we have a feature on our members, our photography idols, and other photography issues we feel deserve a heads-up.