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geloy con­cep­cion

Scout - - contents - In­ter­view by NICO PAS­CUAL

VIS­UAL ARTIST Geloy Con­cep­cion knows that he doesn’t need to travel far to cap­ture that de­ci­sive mo­ment. He en­coun­ters th­ese mo­ments ev­ery­day while walk­ing the streets of Manila, tak­ing pho­to­graphs or do­ing graf ti art on th­ese very streets where he grew up.

Af­ter nish­ing his ten­ure at the 7th Angkor Photo Work­shops in Cam­bo­dia, the long­est run­ning pho­tog­ra­phy work­shop in Asia, he came home to nd “beau­ti­ful and hon­est” sto­ries in his home­town of Manila. Af­ter no­table works such as Black Nazerene, which fol­lows the famed pro­ces­sion and doc­u­ments the faith shown by its par­tic­i­pants, he nds him­self work­ing on his most per­sonal work yet en­ti­tled Reyna De­las Flores. This project touches on the lives of the Manila Golden Gays, who through Geloy’s pho­to­graphs have found their own unique sto­ries to tell.

What fas­ci­nates you the most about vis­ual arts and pho­tog­ra­phy?

What fas­ci­nates me about pho­tog­ra­phy is the con­cept of cap­tur­ing a mo­ment of re­al­ity. I also like paint­ing, be­cause it is like cre­at­ing a mo­ment you can never see in re­al­ity. I no­ticed you do com­mer­cial work for clients yet still find the time to tell sto­ries through your photo es­says. How do you man­age to bal­ance your work with per­sonal work? Yes, bal­ance is the key. They say that you have to feed your vices. My vice is cre­at­ing. I do com­mer­cial work to fund my per­sonal projects. Of course I have to live too, but I only take enough. I don’t ask for much.

Why did you choose to be­come a pho­tog­ra­pher?

I was in­ter­ested in street art dur­ing my rst year of col­lege. I was given the chance to visit dif­fer­ent places in Manila and meet dif­fer­ent kinds of peo­ple. I was in­spired by the sto­ries of those peo­ple and I won­dered how I could tell their sto­ries us­ing an­other kind of medium. That was where my de­sire to be­come a pho­tog­ra­pher emerged.

Could you de­scribe your artis­tic process to us?

Most of the time, my works are based on what I see on the streets: the de­tails of street scenes, the peo­ple, how they live, and Filipino in­ge­nu­ity.

“They say that you have to feed your vices. My vice is cre­at­ing. I do com­mer­cial work to fund my per­sonal projects.”

So walk­ing out­side and talk­ing to peo­ple are big parts of my process.

I first no­ticed your pho­to­graphs in the Black

Nazerene photo es­say. What can you tell us about that ex­pe­ri­ence?

I am a devo­tee of the Black Nazarene, so that is why I thought about do­ing a photo es­say about it. I ad­mire peo­ple who have strong faith re­gard­less of what re­li­gion they have.

Most peo­ple see Manila as chaotic, scary, dan­ger­ous, and dirty among other neg­a­tive things.

Maybe those are true but shoot­ing in the streets of Manila is all about per­spec­tive. I al­ways try to see some­thing beau­ti­ful and hon­est when I walk around: the lights of Avenida and Malate, Manila Bay, the tam­bays of Tondo, kids play­ing at San An­dres, color­ful clothes along a clothes­line, the train tracks at Pan­da­can, and chaotic jeeps. Some­times when I walk along Quiapo in the morn­ing, I look at the other peo­ple walk­ing and I can see in their faces that they have a mis­sion they need to ac­com­plish to sur­vive that day. Isn’t it beau­ti­ful? Shoot­ing in Manila, you just need to talk to the peo­ple and al­ways smile.

What’s your fa­vorite pic­ture that you have ever taken? Fa­vorite project so far?

Any of the pic­tures from my cur­rent project en­ti­tled Reyna De­las Flores: The Manila Golden Gays.

I also re­call that pho­tog­ra­phers are al­ways on the go. What keeps you go­ing?

The idea of meet­ing new peo­ple keeps me go­ing. It is a never-end­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

You men­tioned in your “Dear Hanoi” photo es­say, that you will con­tinue learn­ing. Do you still feel the need to con­stantly grow as an artist?

I am only 23 years old. I have so much to learn, a lot of room for im­prove­ment and mis­takes. We al­ways need to grow not just as artists but also as hu­man beings. I al­ways think that be­fore be­ing a good artist, I must be a good hu­man be­ing rst.

Do you fol­low or col­lect other artists’ work as well? Who are your fa­vorite artists?

I wish I could af­ford their art­work. Be­ing their friend is enough. My fa­vorite lo­cal artists are Elmer Bor­lon­gan, Jake Ver­zosa, Mm Yu, Vee­jay Vil­lafranca, Egg Fi­asco, Jose So­ri­ano, Santi Bose and many more. For in­ter­na­tional artists, I like ARAKI, Basquiat, Mary Ellen Mark, Roger Ballen, and Muham­mad Ali. When you go out and shoot, do you have a goal in mind on how a photo should look or feel?

No, I like to sur­prise my­self.

What would you be if you weren’t an artist/ pho­tog­ra­pher?

I would be a sol­dier.

What’s next for you? Will you con­tinue to cre­ate im­ages in the fu­ture?

I will spend my life­time cre­at­ing. Al­ways. All ways.

Sammy Caquioa, Tat­too Artist. Pureza Manila 2014

Reyna De­las Flores: Manila’s Golden Gays 2015” Al “Car­men dela Rue” En­riquez, 73, from the se­ries “

Un­ti­tled from the se­ries

“AMA: Black Nazarene” at Roxas Blvd., Manila 2013

A street bar­ber at Es­colta Manila 2015

Marik­ina, 2015

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