Marlo Bien : Freedom from What Ifs
"Life is an adventure."
"The real fun begins at the end of your comfort zone."
"Dare to discover."
Probably some of the statements Marlo Bien keeps in mind as he lives everyday as if always looking for the next adventure. A wandering soul who loves to explore, Marlo is happy-go-snappy and one who wouldn't shy away from an exciting idea. He works at the Department of Transportation (formerly DOTC) as a site acquisition staff for his weekdays routine while constantly planning his weekend and holiday breakaways.
With Marlo, there are just no excuses for failing to take photos or not trying new experiences. A fun-loving soul with the gift of artistic expression, Marlo Bien is our featured Focus photographer of the month.
Q : Tell us how you began your love affair with photography.
Marlo : I discovered my interest in photography when I was in high school. Not every cellphone had a camera back then and being a member of the school’s Multimedia Team makes you a superstar. Our job was to cover every school activity, create audio-visual presentations and other multimedia matters. Covering events was my favorite. Pagkakataon ko makagamit ng mamahaling camera and kapag nakasabit sakin 'yung camera ng school, taas-noo ako nagpapalakad-lakad, nag iikot-ikot sa campus para i-model 'yung camera. Big time.
Q : You have an interesting combo working for you : photography and love for adventure. Tell us how it's like to combine the two.
M : Being in the adventure gives you a better point of view to the scene. Right now I am into biking, my bike takes me to different places I’ve never been to. Kagaya sa atin, sa Bulacan, I never imagined that we have these magical places in Bulacan. Then being a photography enthusiast, pagkakataon ko na to take photographs. Uso na ang smartphones, action cams, and compact cameras. Wala akong excuse not to take a photo. Parang isang malaking kasalanan kapag hindi ako nakapag-take ng photo sa iba’t ibang lugar na napuntahan ko. I always think that it will be the last time that I’ll visit the place.
Q : Have you ever considered being a daredevil photographer?
M : I don’t know if it’s ‘daredevil’ but I’m not afraid to go out of my comfort zone to get an epic shot whenever there’s an opportunity.
Q : Let's say you can take your bike anywhere. Where would you go and which photography gear are you going to take with you?
M : (Quotes the Eraserheads song) “Kung ako ay papipiliin ay nag Amsterdam na ako…” I’d like to go to Amsterdam. Bike around the city with a camera, no specific brand pero mas okay sana 'yung mas magaan pero kumpleto din ang settings. Tapos magmamala-Sherlock Holmes ako.
Q: You also shoot events. What feels mostly different when shooting a confined event as compared to an outdoor adventure?
M : The big difference between shooting events and shooting an adventure is when you’re in events, you need to satisfy your client while shooting an outdoor adventure, you just need to satisfy yourself, you have the luxury of time, and you have the privilege of experimenting.
Q : What's the most memorable event you've covered?
M : Every event that I’ve covered is memorable. But the recent event last July was my most unforgettable experience. Everything was going smoothly, natapos kami mag-details, beauty shots, group shots and other creatives just on time. Then on our way to the church, nagsimula ang pressure. Sobrang traffic tapos ayaw gumana ng GPS ko. We arrived at the location a few minutes before the ceremony started. So ayun, we need to unload our equipment and prepare for the ceremony as quickly as possible. Iniwan ko 'yung team near the chapel to shoot some details and I went to the bride to check if she’s ready. Noong pabalik na ako, nagpapalipad na sila ng drone para sa aerial footage and then the wind blew hard, I witnessed the drone trying so hard to return to us pero wala na, para lang syang hinipan ng hangin. And that made it unforgettable. Haha!
Q: What was the most unforgettable adventure you've had with your camera?
M : Just like in events, every adventure is memorable. Depende naman sa’yo iyon on how you define adventure. 'Yung pagsakay sa MRT at paghabol sa bus during rush hour is a form of adventure kung sa ganoong paraan mo s'ya titignan. Pero isa sa pinakagusto kong balikan para makapag-adventure ay yung province namin, Bicol. Nandoon na ang lahat, adventure plus photo opportunities plus beautiful ladies.
Q : Have you imagined yourself going full-time into photography?
M : A big yes. Sabi nga ni Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you don’t have to work a day in your life.” Siguro by the time na established na ako, kumpleto na ang investments and secured na ang future, makakapag full-time na ako. Dadating din tayo diyan. Hehe.
Q : What's the photography genre you're most frustrated about?
M : Portraits and model shoots. I love shooting portraits in different concepts. Hindi ko alam pero I love the pressure I feel every time na magshu-shoot ako ng model. Ang totoo, hindi ako masyado marunong magpa-pose ng model pero okay lang, I have discovered the secret para sa magandang output kapag nagmo-model shoot. Make your model feel comfortable and wala ka nang po-problemahin.
Q : If there's a camera feature you want engineers to develop, what would it be?
M : Wala na akong maisip, our present photography technology is already amazing. Pero noong nag-aaral pa ako, kapag magpi-picture-taking for ID or graduation picture, lagi kaming nire-remind for perfect grooming para magmukhang maayos sa picture, tapos magpabango daw kasi baka maamoy kami sa picture. Maamoy??
Q : Tell us about a photography lesson that you'll never forget.
M : One that landscape photographer Edwin Martinez said during Focus Bulacan's first anniversary exhibit opening : “For me, I cannot consider my photo as photographs kung hindi siya printed. They’re just images.” Kaya nga photographer ang tawag sa atin kasi we produce photographs.
Q : What's an advice you can share to photography beginners?
M : My advice? Hmmm... simple lang. There’s no such thing as a bad photograph. There is a reason behind every photograph. There is a story. Kaya mo kinuhanan 'yan kasi there is something in that subject that attracts you. Posibleng hindi ma-gets agad ng viewer, pero that’s photography. Just like in paintings, some painting may appear so plain and shallow for the viewer but in reality, it has a deeper story.
Marlo's other favorite photos (click thumbnails to view photos in full)
Q : How about a message to Focus followers and your fellow Focus members?
M : To Focus followers… You are following our page for a reason. It’s either you are amazed by some of our photographs or you are interested in photography or kung ano pa man. Thank you. Thank you sa pag-appreciate sa amin, and if you are interested in photography, do not hesitate to join us. Hehe. To my fellow members, marami ring salamat. I don’t usually get involved in groups pero this one is amazing. It’s not just a group, it’s a family. And ang family ay nagmamahalan so… I love you all mga ka-Focus!
"Life is an adventure." So take risks.
"The real fun begins at the end of your comfort zone." The sooner you get out of it, maybe the earlier that you feel alive.
"Dare to discover." And you'll also discover a lot about yourself.
Just guessing what might be Marlo's retort to the statements. For him, life is better with a lot of "Oh, well" rather than a ton of "What If".
Every month, we have a feature on our members, our photography idols, and other photography issues we feel deserve a heads-up.