Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#THESISIT: The Traveling Mermaid

One of the things I forgot to mention about my thesis is that it was about conceptual photography. I won't say what my thesis topic was exactly, but just know that it involved conceptual photography, which meant all shoots were conceptual/had a story to them. For Alex's, it was something akin to The Little Mermaid story, in that it was about a girl wanting to rise above the waters, finding her own feet in the world. It's also a metaphor to how some country gals want to become city girls, and how some people can forget their humble beginnings after reaching a certain status of success. (I discussed this more in the book, and indicate how some images depict these themes -- as I did in all the shoots -- but that's the gist of it.)

The thing about going for conceptual photography is that I had to come up with concepts before I planned the shoots. However, because I am a crammer, things went in reverse and I actually came up with Alex's theme while en route to her place on the morning of our shoot. For the most part I was brainstorming around the idea of shooting in a swimming pool, because Alex's place had that, and... well, I ended up with the traveling mermaid concept. I know it's bad to latch on to one idea and not move on from it, but the more I thought about it the more feasible it felt.

Ultimately, Alex's concept is actually the most joke time of them all, because of the relevance of what 'traveling mermaid' really is to the both of us. 'Traveling Mermaid' is what we call our beloved Demyx (yeah, from the Kingdom Hearts franchise) because we have a plot bunny that Demyx, pre-Nobody, was based in Atlantica and was a mermaid who would travel to worlds as a musician.

I know right. I can't believe I went with that concept either. But hey, it just goes to show how you can find inspiration in the most absurd of sources. Even fandoms.

Like most of my shoots with Alex, this was not without a certain level of fail to it. When Alex and I went downstairs to the swimming pool, and were done with the first set, we stopped and looked at each other and said, "Um. Towel?" I DON'T KNOW WHY OR HOW WHEN THERE WERE ALREADY TWO OF US BUT WE BOTH FORGOT TO BRING TOWELS TO DRY OURSELVES WITH HAHAHA.

But like most shoots with Alex, the outcome was wonderful, and the shoot became one of my favorites from my entire thesis.

Alex is easily one of my favorite people to photograph because LOOK AT HER FACE SKJGHSDKJG. I always have hundreds of photographs by the end of our shoots, and I had so many this time that I had a hard time cutting down which ones to include in the thesis. Terry's shoot was relatively lesser in number, but like I mentioned I wasn't able to think that shoot out very well. (I was actually considering doing a re-shoot with Terry, but I ran out of time.)

Below are some photographs that I didn't include in the thesis, but still really liked nevertheless.

Thank you again Alex for all the help! I'm sorry for making you lie down on the swimming pool steps even if it hurt, but thank you for being so game. I'm sorry you got stuck with the joke time concept, but I don't think I could make art out of that concept if it were with anyone else. I love you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

#THESISIT: Detached

Welcome to the first of many (actually, just 7 or 8) posts on my thesis... or rather, just the shoots I did for thesis.

I'll be blogging about the shoots in order of when they happened, and Terry's was the first I managed to bring together. Being the first shoot, it was a little all over the place compared to the others. I was also just a tiiiiny bit panicky and very much stressed because I was already so behind on shoots late in the year. But like all shoots, it was the best kind of stressed.

The concept of Detached is that of a contemporary manananggal. I remember during my defense, when I mentioned 'manananggal' as I was explaining each of my shoots, one of my jurors suddenly lit up with a smile, as if he completely understood my concept. I dunno man, I got this overwhelming sense of fulfillment with that smile. ;__;

I know this isn't one of my best shoots, but we did get a few gems somewhere along the way. Thank you again Ted for being so game and for lying down on the ground even if bugs were already devouring you!


Friday, February 22, 2013


I passed my thesis!!! (You all knew that, but this is a very delayed post thanks to YouTube.) Defense went relatively well; in fact considering the circumstances I think I did a pretty good job (where circumstances = I didn't get to rehearse my defense flow, I was running on 3 hours of sleep with a headache and an empty stomach -- basically, EVERYTHING I SAID SHOULDN'T HAPPEN.) Because I was such a nervous wreck with no program flow, defense ended up being 80% word vomit (which happened to several of us, I've heard) -- srsly, I ended up saying something that dug my own grave and I said in my head "WTF INA DAFUQ DID YOU SAY THAT WE'RE SCREWED", 15% internal freak out, 2% stutter, 2% mental block and 1% of what I actually planned to say. (I was actually half-tempted to have a glass of wine or some other alcoholic substance before I left the house, just to calm my nerves, but I already had that headache to deal with and I never drink on an empty stomach.)

I didn't think my jurors would like my photographs THAT much, to be honest. I thought they'd just be of passable quality, but I got some great feedback. There were weaknesses in my book/thesis (some were what I had feared from the very beginning of my study, others were things I couldn't even comprehend) but all in all I got through it. From the start I was okay with just a 3 --  a pasang awa grade, because I was that desperate to graduate on time -- but in the end I actually got a really good grade! (Not enough for best thesis or anything, but still pretty good.) One of the jurors even showed me the grade she gave me and I was like "OH GOSH YAY" while another out of the three jurors kinda pulled down my grade, but I could understand her perspective so s'all good I'M JUST GLAD I PASSED OKAY LIKE YOU HAVE NO IDEA SDFKJLAS

When defense was over and I was cleaning up, I ended up crying. While still in the classroom. In front of my jury. HAHAHAHAHA ALL MY NAMIDA I already knew from the start that I'd be crying by the end of defense, be it a good outcome or bad a bad one. I was just SO happy and even more relieved because it was all finally, FINALLY over. All those months of sleepless nights, stress, emotional turmoil and everything in between finally paid off.

Thesis was the most toxic and stressful time of my life so far though. Besides the several mental and especially emotional meltdowns (not to mention all the weight I've gained thanks to stress eating), at some point I got so stressed that I began to see the bad and only the bad in people, especially the ones closest to me. It was horrible. I didn't even tell anyone of my plans for 2013, be it outings or personal projects because I was that scared of thesis. I barely posted thesis updates on my Facebook account (if anything, it was just an outtake or two from a shoot as a ~*~teaser~*~ or thanks to the model) because of the fear that I wouldn't pass thesis and graduate on time. What if I talk about this and that but they don't pull through because I flunked? While everyone on the first day of senior year were gushing, "I can't believe it's my last first day of school!" I on the other hand kept mum because... what if I said it was my last first day of school, but I'd be repeating anyway? Not once did I say it was my last first day of school. I hardly even thought of graduation because I had no assurance of graduating until I was through with thesis. I'm generally a very nervous and paranoid person, and thesis just increased that to the highest degree.

But I did it. I don't know how I managed to pull it off (read defense experience above) especially since a lot of my content was actually crammed. (procrastination station crammerlyf) For most of sem break I was in Hong Kong, and as much as I didn't want to go BECAUSE I HAD #THESISHIT TO DO, I had to comply because of my parents. That's why come second sem I still had not been able to shoot anything for my book, so I was panicking all throughout.

Just recalling defense and how I'm basically done with thesis still makes me teary-eyed. LIKE RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE MY EYES ARE ALREADY A LITTLE WATERY. (Then again, this post was written like two weeks ago now or smthn.) I want to cry. It's all very overwhelming, and having this much freedom and time and sleep all feels very surreal, since for most of the school year I always got weighed down by the terror of thesis and it was as if there was this permanent dread at the pit of my stomach that made my heart heavy all the time.

TL;DR: I PASSED, THESIS WAS STRESSFUL, THANKS ERRBADY (Thank You God especially)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, this is what my photo book (my thesis category was photography - coffee table book blahblahblah) looks like, for those who were curious or were part of the book and wanted to see the outcome. You know who you are! I guess this is a teaser for what to expect in my future posts since I'll be blogging about each and every shoot I produced for thesis. Not to mention the epic backlog I've piled up because of my thesis-induced blogging hiatus. Hope you like it!

I would've had this up sooner but I encountered some problems with file output and uploading. Please note that the attachment of Folded & Hung and Summit Books is all hypothetical okay lolz.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stars Live in Manila 2013

The first time I encountered Stars was some time in 2007. Maronne told me to listen to this song called Your Ex-Lover Is Dead. I immediately fell in love with it and consequently had it on loop for a few days (... or weeks.) Back then I never, ever dreamed that I'd ever hear this song live by the band. (Back then I never really thought about concerts anyway.) It became my favorite song. (Or one of, at least. But if anyone ever asks me for a favorite song, I always say it's this one because most people aren't familiar with the anime/Japanese/video game music I have.) It's funny because lyrics-wise, I can't even relate to the song at all. Then again, I've never listened to song lyrics since I was a kid.

When I caught wind last year that Stars would be having a concert here, I of course freaked out. This is the band that made my favorite song, OF COURSE I WAS GONNA WATCH. There were hardly any details on the concert so I was a little doubtful of the news at first. In fact, I think I only really got details on the concert sometime late in December/early January, which is really late since the concert was this month. The concert venue was even changed. The event itself was a little shrouded by obscurity, but I wasn't surprised since Stars isn't very popular here.

I got my ticket in January even if I wasn't sure if I'd be watching with anyone. I was supposed to watch with my friend, but because of #THESISIT finances, she wasn't able to go. In the end, I went to the concert by myself. I was also supposed to watch with my cousin's girlfriend, but we weren't able to meet up once inside the venue. So essentially, I was alone.

There's something about attending a concert alone. I dunno, it may or may not be better than watching with a friend, but it's an experience. The venue itself was pretty tiny for a concert, and it wasn't even filled up. I was relatively close to the stage but it was still really hard for me because I AM JUST WAY TOO SHORT FOR CONCERTS OKAY. But at least the crowd was pretty mellow (save for a few upbeat songs) compared to the TBS crowd, because hi, the TBS crowd was like... an orgy or smthn.

There's also something about hearing your favorite song being performed live by the band that created it. I teared up when they played Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, even when I had no one to hold on to while I drowned in my feels. It was the same when they played Calendar Girl and when they played their finale.

Really. When I heard Your Ex-Lover Is Dead I couldn't help but look back on that time I first heard the song and kept it on repeat. (I still remember I didn't have an iTunes and I was listening to it via Windows Media Player.) It felt so surreal just experiencing the song after so many years. It was a magical experience all on its own.

I think I was also a little emotional because I was thinking about how I was finally done with #THESISIT and how I'll be graduating next month.

When they sang the line, "Live through this and you won't look back." I got just a little bit more emotional. Just a little.

The experience was beautiful. I am so watching Stars again when they come back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Wow, long time no see huh blog? I've been meaning to make a post since last week and I've been meaning to get back into the ~*~blogging groove~*~ through a return post about my beloved thesis, but I've been getting some hiccups with video uploading (yes my thesis post will have a video innit, wow right?) on Youtube lately so my ~*~comeback post~*~ keeps on getting postponed. I didn't want to prolong my blogging hiatus any further so I just set aside my thesis post for now until I figure out what the hell it is I've been doing wrong with my video exporting. (On Youtube it takes me 45837495 hours to upload a minute-long video and when it's finally processing, it won't actually process. And when I export the file from iMovie into an mp4 file the quality is just NO. Will someone please tell me what I've been doing wrong because this has been driving me up the wall for over a week now.)

Well, anyway, here is my belated recap of 2012. I couldn't do this before 2012 ended because of #THESISIT, but I thought it needed to happen because a lot of things happened in 2012. (Then again,  lots of things happen every year.)

• Started the year really bad. According to my planner, I had a bad breakdown on January 5. Only the 5th day of the year and already things were looking bleak. I took that as a sign.
• My planner also says "WEEK OF DEPRESSION </3" on the last week of January. Apparently the first month of 2012 was rather horrible for me. (I'm pretty sure a lot of it was because of Illust. -__-)

• Made the official move from my LJ to this blog. (For the record, my LJ's pretty defunct now, especially since my old image host is dead so my LJ has no visuals at all now. R.I.P. crayoneyeliner)

• Had my junior year retreat with AD2.
• Met some special people who became part of a very important chapter in my year!
• One of my grannies passed away. R.I.P. Nana.
• Finished junior year!

• Caved and got a PS3! Mostly because of Alice: Madness Returns, but ended up getting Final Fantasy XIII instead. NO REGRETS WOOP!
Watched my first ever concert (with a meet and greet even) thanks to Jam! Taking Back Sunday totes popped my concert cherry y'all.
Cut my hair short for the first time in years.
• Started my internship at
Went to Boracay for the first time since... 1998?

• Started the month still in Bora.
• Ended my internship at Stylebible.
• Turned 20!
• Went to Batangas after so long.

• Started my final year of college. Ultimately, the start of #THESISIT.

• Made some goodbyes. (I make it sound so dramatic wow.)
• Started documenting the first of three gigs for MaryMoon and Tonight We Sleep!

Habagat a.k.a. The Week That Got Suspended a.k.a. The week Alex and I kept on spazzing our Kingdom Hearts feels a.k.a. KINGDOM KOKORO (This was all written in my planner.)

Senior year retreat with 4AD3. Last retreat for school ever.
• Pleasant surprise visit from my mom!
Got featured in both Meg September 2012 and Chalk September 2012! Thanks again Elisa and Andrea!

• End of first semester a.k.a. temporary freedom!
KH Day with Reku and Ted!
• Traveled to another country (Hong Kong) for the first time in my life.

• Still in Hong Kong.
• Shot my first shoot for #THESISIT. (Ikr so late right? Most of my sem break was spent in HK so I started shooting pretty late.)
Shot for Young Star! And then got published for the first time ever.
• Had one of the worst thesis-induced meltdowns thus far.

• Got to document a wedding for the first time ever! WITH PAY!!! (For the record, I think I did really poorly. U__U)
• Shot for Young Star again and got published!
(Partially) Dyed my hair blue/turquoise.
Shot the rest of my #THESISIT content.
• The world didn't end but a new world opened up to me: I GOT A BRILLIANT CAMERA UPGRADE HUHUHU THANK YOU PARENTS :(((((( (This pressured me even more to pass thesis and graduate on time.)
• My very old tripod finally died on me so I had to get a new one.

I would put visuals per month but not all months have quality documentation (July to September especially; those months in my planner are pretty empty) so it wouldn't be consistent. To sum it all up, 2012 was a lot of opportunities for me, especially as a photographer. I mean I got published for the first time -- in the newspaper, no less -- documented my first wedding, and even got commissioned to cover gigs which was SO MUCH FUN because I was a frequent gig-attender in high school. A lot of shoots took place too, but those were mostly for thesis. (Ultimately, my thesis is actually great portfolio content.) While I might've started 2012 kind of bad, I ended it on a very, very high note! (Thesis stress aside, at least.)

I also met a lot of people this year. As if the first Young Star shoot wasn't enough of an opportunity to make new friends, I also encountered several people in the fashion and photography industries thanks to my internship. I GOT TO SEE A KERMIT TESORO SHOW FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE FINALLY! I made new friends, really. 2012 was filled to the brim with blessings, and looking back I'm still at awe with everything that has happened. (Thank You Lord! U da best \m/)


At the end of 2012 I also realized just how much of a paranoid and nervous person I am. I mean I've always said that I get paranoid a lot, but I never really, truly labeled myself as a paranoid person until the end of the year. I also know I've always been a worry-wart, but I never called myself a nervous/anxious person until 2012. Somehow I feel like #THESISIT played a big role in these labels.

For 2013 though, I once again started the year a little wobbly, but only because of #THESISIT. There was catching up to endorsement week, and even shooting Kevin again because I had to scrap our first shoot. Come February was of course D-Day a.k.a. Defense which was one of the most nerve-wracking days in my life. (I will extensively discuss this in my #THESISIT post but in any case: I passed!)

I don't know where the universe will take me this year. (Loljk, I know at least that I'll be in HK again in May.) I now know for sure (WAIT INA DON'T FORGET YOU STILL HAFTA PASS YOUR MINORS OKAY!!!) that I'll be graduating and will be entering the real world and become a member of the Unemployed Club (hopefully not for too long.) I'm going to be internationally legal this year. For this year I've considered studying again, but I've also considered interning again. Who knows.

Thanks God and thanks everyone in my life for a wonderful, magical 2012. I know we're well into 2013 already (I mean c'mon February's ending next week) but I hope it's not THAT late to wish you all a blessed (rest of the) year ahead! I haven't made any resolutions yet because thesis consumed me, but I'll be working on a list soon enough.

2013 excites me now. (I say 'now' because everything in the near future had the terror of thesis looming over it.) I'm so excited for everyone's lives, and of course for mine. Welcome to 2013, Ina.