Wit fuels young lenswoman Tammy David
People in the arts and media industry know Tammy David as someone who can make anyone laugh five seconds into the conversation. “[She is] quick-witted. [Her] smarts and sense of humor come through not just in her words and actions, but in her photographs,” Isa Lorenzo tells. Aside from her freelancing, David manages all online content for Silverlens Galleries. “We always love having her around.”
She started out as a writer. At 16, she wrote for 2bU!, the youth lifestyle section of the Philippine Daily
Inquirer. “I got paid more whenever I would submit my text with photos,” David recalls. She wanted to take better pictures, hence she joined workshops, took internships, read books, signed up for portfolio reviews and attended photo festivals here and abroad. “Writing helped me value context in my images, especially as a documentary photographer. And like writing, one of the things that help me improve in photography is to read more.” Soon enough, she began getting less writing and more photography assignments. She shrugs, “I guess my pictures are better than my articles.” Today, almost 15 years after her incidental transition into photography, David’s works have been exhibited in Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Jakarta, Seoul, Hamburg and London. She has also been awarded twice as one of the special artists of the ASEAN-Korean Multimedia Competition.
The photographs in this story are from three of David’s photo stories: “Crown and Country” is a visual study of pageant culture in the Philippines. “Size Matters” is about fat rights activists in America and “It takes an Island” is a series of self-portraits. David noticed that she is obsessed with how people perceive beauty and body issues — that is usually the common theme of her personal work. “People remember these images and it’s always a good feeling that your work leaves an impression, so I like these photos,” she says. “I’m grateful that I found stories or personal projects that I genuinely loved working on and that got great feedback. I can only wish the same for all photographers.”
David gets her inspiration from material she finds online: Profiles of people, odd news items and images she finds on Tumblr. She keeps up with the times; she is active on Twitter and Instagram, and her posts frequently TOP: "Size Matters" is a series on fat rights activists in America. LEFT: "It takes an Island" is a selection of selfportraits that revolve around David's favorite theme: The perception of beauty and body issues. For more information on David's work and portfolio, visit www.tammydavid.com. come with hilarious puns and captions. “I come across a topic, do a lot of online research, then start taking pictures to see if it has potential. Sometimes I put together my pictures and see if there’s a common theme, then edit, then shoot some more. My photography is a lot of editing in that sense, I add and subtract.” And because of Silverlens, she is most of the time surrounded by art, both from here and abroad.
When asked what her dream photoshoot is, she quips, “I might as well put it out there: A portrait sitting with James Franco or Michael Fassbender!” Then adds, “But in all honesty, and as cheesy as it sounds, I’d like to think I’m already living the dream since I get to do what I love.” If given the chance, however, she thinks it would be great to move to London to assist one of her favorite photographers — the awarded portrait and landscape photographer Nadav Kander.—
David's "Crown and Country" is a visual study of pageant
culture in the Philippines