Winning by Inspiring: Lessons in Photography

Just last September and for the first time ever in my photography (non) career,  I joined a photo contest. Well, actually, I was prodded by no less than Joy Villareal. Yes, Joy Villareal. She is the talented photography protege who got hooked to photography largely because I forced her to.

The Prodding
“Join tayo”! She thought there will be a shortage of entries to Talakudong Festival 2013 Igpat sang Kamera Photo Contest. “We should be ashamed of ourselves” she said. “This will be our third year of covering the festival yet we haven’t joined the contest ever “!

Confident Joiners
So we both joined, panicking at the last moment. We went through the hundred plus photos we took, arguing and clashing ideas which pictures to print and submit. But we were able to submit on time, thanks to the holidays. What’s interesting is that she is more excited in the results than me. In fact, she predicted and knew 99.9% who will be the winners.

Us. (Akalain mo yun?). Until she saw the awesome contest entries and recanted her predictions: We will just land in maybe the consolation prizes. ( Grabe pa rin ang powers! )

More than Winning
I wasn’t around when the winners were declared so when I received an SMS from the organisers, I was really surprised. We won the contest in the festival category, oh yeah!

1st Prize: Stretch and Bend by Remo Aguilar

1st Prize: Stretch and Bend by Remo Aguilar

But what’s more interesting (and heart warming) for me is that Joy, yes my Joy Villareal, won the second prize! That is a sure triumph for me more than the winning!

2nd Prize: Cherubic Chant by Joy Villareal

2nd Prize: Cherubic Chant by Joy Villareal

Like and Dislikes
While I got Joy Villareal hooked to photography, our likes and dislikes are diametrically opposite. She hated my landscape photography but I love her portrait photography. I hated her compulsiveness to “model” me and take my photos (glamour shots?) but I really love to take her photos candidly, without her looking. She’s a strict Sony user, I’m a brand prostitute-Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, and so on and so forth with our differences.

Despite those, I’m so happy she developed a style of her own and got confident with her talent. I never really wanted her to copycat my style of photography, because I’m pretty sure she will hate it. Instead, I wanted her to discover her own niche that fits her personality. That one in which she will be happy most and be passionate about.

Like what the great Peter Adams will say photography:


The obvious is quite not obvious. Photography will always be subservient to those who master their own talent. It will always fit the personality of the person behind the camera. And, its that the twelve inches that (gray) matter.