(Text-heavy feels post. So heavy that I can't be bothered to check any errors.)
As of March 26, 2013, I officially graduated from college. It was a very tiring day -- mostly because of the heat -- but it was a blast. There were barely any waterworks that day, but thinking back on everything kind of makes me tear up. Like right now, for example.
I was in school for the past three days, albeit for varying amounts of time. On Monday I made my final, pre-graduate, complete commute to school to pick up the invites and stuff for graduation the next day. That day I wondered how many times I've made the long trip to school just to pick up a piece of paper or some other kind of document. Just how many times was I in school for much less time it took to actually get there? I also tripped that day as I was on my way home; I was climbing a broken escalator at the MRT and suddenly tripped, wounding my knee in the process (since, y'know, those escalator steps have sharp edges.)
Tuesday was The Graduation. I think I nursed a headache for well over 5 hours that day, and so I had to sit through the entire ceremony with a migraine. (It's a little reminiscent of my high school graduation, in which I had a really bad stiff neck that lasted me two weeks.) I will admit, there were times when I teared up (my eyes watered as early as the prayer, okay) because I was thinking, "Oh God, it's ending." But of course I sucked it up lololol.
When the whole shebang was finally done and over with, the picture-taking with blockmates commenced. I couldn't stay long as my family and I were already late for a dinner reservation elsewhere. Still, at the end, there weren't any waterworks. (Sorry but I totes cried during my high school graduation hahaha.)
Wednesday, yesterday, I was back in school just to return the toga. Now this trip was a stressful one: I received some news from a blockmate that the toga returning was only until 11am, and when I got the message it was nearly 10am. Thank goodness my parents had to be elsewhere so they got to take me to an LRT station which totally saved me half the travel time.
It was a little weird being in school after graduating. Granted, it would've felt off, graduate or not, because the place was nearly deserted. But it felt weirder knowing I wouldn't be coming back for another semester.
I was alone yesterday. I didn't see anyone I knew. As I left the gates of the school, a sudden ache and loneliness crept up on me. I slowly looked to my side until my building was out of view, and I was overcome with the reality that I was done with my chapter here. Later that night I cried because the reality finally sank in (and it didn't help that I was listening to Yellow by Coldplay, a song that hold some relevance to my college life hahaha masochism.)
More than anything -- and this is exactly like when I graduated from high school -- it's the people I'll miss the most. Especially AD2, the family God blessed me with in UST. There will never be other people who can best understand my entire college life more than AD2. I still remember when college started and I made unnecessary comparisons between college friends and high school friends. While high school friends can never be topped, my blockmates are now a very, very close second. They're more than blockmates, and more than friends. They're family.
I remember the first time I was in UST: I was a high school sophomore who attended Inkblots, a journalism seminar of a sort. One of the lectures was even held in Beato, and I had no idea that it'd end up being my future building because back then I had no intention of studying in UST. Come senior year I kept on shifting which college was my priority; UST was ultimately the first school to accept me. I even remember the day when the USTET results were out, and I was jumping in my school bus seat the entire ride home all anxious and nervous. I ran upstairs and turned on my laptop and screamed when I found out I was accepted in my first choice.
I still remember my first day of college: the entire day was freecut. =)) I remember we were in the Eng building, and there were only a handful of us in the room. I only remember a couple of them though: myself, Tri, Renz, Erika, Portia, Sunny, Jennifer, Julian... there's prolly more, but I forgot. Apparently a lot of our other blockmates didn't know our class was in another building, so most of them were in Beato. Schedules were still wonky so none of our professors showed up that day. I still remember when we finally decided that we should just leave and Jennifer was like, "So? What? Can we leave now?" and a voice that seemed like she just really wanted to leave. =)) That day I had no idea she was Taiwanese; if anything I thought she was Fil-Am or some other mix. I remember Renz sitting in front of me with Erika next to him and they got along so well that I thought they were friends from high school. They weren't. Renz even PR'd himself and gave us his business cards. =))
I remember I was such a quiet kid during my first two weeks of college, and always sticking to Tri 'cause she was the only one I knew, having been batchmates (albeit not close at all until college) in high school. I was mostly an introvert in high school, but became more extrovert in college. Maybe it was because college was like a fresh start: there were no presumptions from previous school years and there were no cliques that divided the class. It was just so refreshing to not have to deal with things like that anymore.
There were many instances in freshman year that made me doubt myself. Instances that made me think, "What am I doing here?" because I struggled to keep my head above water, what with the massive amount of plates. I could not illustrate or paint well. It made me wonder, "How the hell did I even pass the USTET, especially with that drawing portion of the exam?" (I also remember that part: they asked us to draw a food mascot. Mine was Polly the Cracker, and I still remember what she looked like.)
I remember the reservation of slots, and what I wore, and how some of my blockmates (back then we didn't know we'd be put in the same section) thought I wasn't straight because of my outfit. =)) I remember I was seated next to Tri who wore red pants and whose bracelet broke, and I remember being told off about my tattoo when I had no idea that the lady who told me off was a prof and I had no idea how to find her (she said to "see her in June") because I was technically still an outsider at the time. How dafuq was I supposed to find someone whose identity was unknown to me? (Ironically, said lady became my English professor later that sem.)
I remember what I wore to my first enrollment, and how one of the people in charge of enrollment stuff assumed I was in CFAD based on my outfit. It felt nice that they could tell my college just based on what I wore. I remember how accommodating the people were during graduation, but I later on deduced that it was just exclusive to incoming freshmen because my future enrollment processes were far from what I had first experienced.
It was in freshman year that I wanted to just move to another school. CSB was my top choice, but we couldn't afford the tuition fee so that idea was shot down. So instead, I persevered. No matter how much my plates looked like crap next to my blockmates', I stayed. I can't believe I made it through without any delay whatsoever.
I remember commuting home alone until one day I reached Recto station, only to find it dead. It was there that I encountered Jelle and Marnie (at the time I still called her Steph) who were supposed to ride the LRT as well yet none of us knew how to get home (we would all get off at the same station) without the train so we stressed out together. After that, we became a small trio that went home together until our group grew bigger somewhere down the road. I remember asking to get picked up at school during this school year because I'd be getting out at 7pm, when, just two years later, I'd be getting out of school 9pm nearly everyday and would commute home without a problem. I remember deciding at the last minute to sleep over at Trina's with Iwi the night before we had to submit our final plate in MDR (also the final day of first sem) because none of us knew just how to do it. I remember that night at her place, and how I was falling asleep while painting my plate. I remember how relieved I was to know I passed my MDR final (I even remember the grade I got: an 83 pfft) and how excited I was for the next day because it was Tri's debut. That party was AD2's first party/get together outside school.
I remember that crazy installation art we had to do just to pass MAT2, and how I had schoolmates at my house for the first time. I remember the awkward lunch I spent with Dg because we weren't as close then as we are now. (I remember we had spaghetti for lunch and were waiting for our other groupmates to arrive, and we didn't really talk much...)
I remember always hating P.E. class; my first was Fitness, then Badminton, then Track (!!?!?!) then finally Softball. In Fitness I met Sara, a girl from the Painting course. During the first half of my college life I often had 7am classes, so I was brought to school really early (I always got to UST at 6am) to avoid the traffic. I often went to sleep at Pav1 while waiting for 7am to come around, and when I'd wake up, Sara would be there, along with a blockmate or two. It was through her that I met Julian, who couldn't make it to our graduation or BaccMass, and may or may not still be in Japan, and whose thesis sounded so magical but I never got to see it. I wish the both of them the best and plzgetmarried loljk ormaybei'mnotjoking HEH
I remember staying up until I had to get ready for 7am classes because of plates, and it became so frequent that I knew the cartoon schedule of Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network (I'd keep the t.v. on while working on plates.) I remember seeing The Wild Thornberries and panicking because when that show popped on, it meant I almost had to get ready for school so I had to double time.
I remember our block being threatened by a professor to be de-blocked during our second semester (and on our one Saturday class: that dreadful 7am-6pm Saturday schedule ugh) because the noise our class made seeped into another classroom. I never found it fair because really, is it our fault that the classroom we were using had a hole that allowed our noise to be heard in another classroom? While the threat was a little scary (we were nothing but naive little freshmen who were afraid of a lot of things), I never took it seriously because I figured it would take a lot more time and effort for the faculty and office to de-block us than to just keep us together. In the end we were never really de-blocked until senior year, when all blocks had to be dispersed.
AD2 also got into a little bit of trouble with one prof during freshman year, all because we pulled a freecut (while following the amount of time required, mind you) when in fact, said professor specifically told a certain little someone in the office that she'd be back, so it looked like we boycotted the class. Naturally, said someone had told the prof otherwise once we said our part of the story. This certain someone handed out these poster things to each graduate as they stepped down the stage during our graduation, and when he handed me mine, while commenting, "Nice shoes," I was suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that this was the same person we had some beef with in freshman year, and then suddenly he was assisting during graduation. Where did the time go?
In sophomore year I had my first Math class and hated it to no end. I got all stressed out because my grades were so poor, but I passed anyway. Prolly 'cause the professor just guessed our grades? Go figure. We also had our first photography class that year, which excited me because really, out of anything, photography is my ~*~art~*~ This was also the year our block had a relatively long break between classes, and I remember spending a lot of time in Jon Clark. Our group was there so often that the staff knew us pretty well, and we were just a little devastated when that little coffee shop was gone. It was our little 'barkada' place, so to say.
I also remember always rushing home right after P.E. class (my P.E. classes were usually placed on a vacant day of the week, so I often got to go home early) so that I could catch The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and watch it with Dg as we talked online.
I'm pretty sure junior year was the beginning of all those 9pm classes. I remember several blockmates becoming dormers because of the late dismissal, and our commuting group suddenly decreased in number. However, I got to kill some time during long breaks at a dorm or two of some blockmates. Junior year was also the year we had elective class, and I remember mine always ended early so I had a long break until my next class. I'd usually stay at MaryaDgPortia's place, but there were also times I'd stay at Trina's until NatSci class at 6pm. One time during a long break before NatSci, Trina and I drank a bottle of Tanduay Ice each, and we watched (or rather, I forcibly made her watch) kooky YouTube videos. That day became known as the Pokpok-Sindikato Day, and we said we should devote more dates like that in the future. It never actually happened again.
There was also that one time in Trina's when we watched Beauty and the Beast, and I learned that it was Trina's favorite Disney film. I remember some blockmates arriving and taking a smoke outside, and how it felt weird going back inside campus when it was dark out and many other students were on their way home.
Junior year was also the beginning of all those midday classes, and I found it so hard to move and leave the house and into the heat. Mondays of junior year, if I remember right, were only from 5pm to 9pm, and it felt weird going to school at a time when most would be on their way home.
In junior year, AD2 went to UPD for a picnic. Not just any simple picnic, but a picnic to film as our class final in one of our classes. It was a little aggravating getting to that point, but the final product was just magical and it's a beautiful memory of my college life. The thought of just watching it makes me sadder.
The reality of our third year being our last year together as a block didn't faze me much until senior year arrived, and we were all placed in different sections. I had a hard time adjusting because I only had one other AD2 kid with me, while the others were in other sections but were together in big chunks. It got to a point wherein I'd tear up whenever I saw 4AD5, which contained a huge portion of AD2. Senior year was also the return of a Saturday class, and another Math subject taught by the same professor from sophomore year.
Senior year is mostly known as #THESISIT, so it's a bit of a blur. I remember missing AD2 like crazy during first sem, but growing accustomed to the separation come second sem. (Then again, I was probably drowning in #THESISIT stress to be bothered.) In senior year I was placed in 4AD3, and I suddenly reverted to that quiet kid in freshman year. It wasn't as bad as my frosh self, but I couldn't be as loud and obnoxious as I usually am with AD2. In my senior block I couldn't just delve in to a conversation or hang out with any group in the block because my senior block was composed of different groups and friendships that were already established within respective sections in the past 3 years. I felt like I was in high school again. Nevertheless, come retreat, I was a little more open with my block later on. What AD2 will never have over 4AD3 is the fact that I spent my final year as a Thomasian with the latter, and while we hardly saw each other in a week (I usually had to be in school twice a week, three times max), it was a fun ride and I feel like a bond was formed one way or another. I really appreciate 4AD3 and the camaraderie we had despite coming from different sections. (I heard others didn't sit well with their new sections, so I was grateful.)
There's obviously a lot more memories that I can recall, but to write all of them here would be writing a novella.
A big part of who I am now and what I've become lies in my time with AD2. I broke out of my shy shell when I was with AD2, and while I still have introvert tendencies, I am at least now half extrovert and half introvert. There's just a comforting companionship in AD2 that I could always rely on, especially when I was stressed. While I found a few karamays in my new block, it still wasn't the same. I'm not sure what I would've been like if I were placed in other section. In fact, I don't think I would've even made it this far if it weren't for AD2. I could lean on them when times were tough and we were all struggling with plates, only to barely come out alive. Barely, but still in one piece.
The gravity of graduation didn't sink in until last night, and when I think about everything I am still overwhelmed. I think I was relatively lucky with the roster of professors I had during my stay, but I was even luckier to be placed in AD2. I am so proud of my blockmates and I am so blessed to have them in my life, and to have even become a part of theirs. To be surrounded by so much talent and yet be accepted by everyone was magic. I was always at home when I was with them; I could go from group to group and still feel welcomed (I could never, ever, EVER do that anywhere else. No joke. I couldn't do that in my senior block, or any of my previous sections from high school or grade school.)
I was so used to being in their presence nearly every day for three years, so senior year was a huge blow to that routine. Despite being de-blocked for a year now, knowing that most of us will no longer be in campus makes everything more official. It doesn't help that we all live so far apart from one another.
I will miss UST. I'm still not sure if I'll miss the long commutes to school (I always said I'd never miss it even after graduation, but little emotional me is beginning to have second thoughts) or wearing the uniform in the heat, but I really will miss UST and CFAD. The rules and schedules and stuff in between always aggravated me, but it was comforting to know that I at least had AD2 to suffer with me. There were a lot of things I didn't do at school, but the most important thing to me was just to graduate on time. And I did it. I don't know how, especially evaluating my performance in certain classes, but I did.
Ultimately, my college life was fantastic and magical and beautiful and every kind of positive superlative because of AD2. They made the sleepless nights and stressful days bearable, and I found that I could still laugh and have fun despite all the stress because of them. I SURVIVED, because I had them with me.
I love AD2 and I always will. I have so much love for these kids and I thank God for blessing me with this crazy family, and I am going to miss them terribly. I already do. I'm so excited for their lives and my own as well and I know it won't be the last I'll be seeing of them.
I love you AD2. :") Go conquer the world and make me prouder than I already am.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
Plaything is what it is: the story of a plaything. It's about a doll (portrayed here by Janelle) who was set aside by her owner as an effect of adolescence. It's also about childhood memories and how some of them may be forgotten while growing up. All the shots in this shoot have a toy or some doll in the picture for a continuity in theme. I also used a lot of backlighting to sort of give a nostalgic sort of feel so as to go with the concept.
Janelle's another one of those subjects whose face makes it easy to consume hundreds of shots in one sitting. This shoot is one of my favorites from my thesis, right up there with Alex's shoot. I miiiiight've circulated the concept around her look, because really, Janelle's doll-like features were perfect for such a story.
This shoot has a special place in my heart for two reasons: one, because I have a doll from childhood that I always went to bed with. While the habit of going to bed with her has long gone, I still keep her around. (I remember watching Toy Story 2 as a kid and tearing up during Jessie's montage.) I'm easily a nostalgic person and I obsessively latch on to things that have sentimental value to me. (That being said, I have hoarder tendencies.) This might be the reason why I remember so many, albeit some of them very irrelevant, life moments but I'm horrible with information retainment when it comes to school.
The second reason why this shoot is special to me is because it was my last shoot with Haru-chuu, my 400D. Haru-chuu was my partner-in-photography-crime for a good five years (I actually got my new camera about a month shy of Haru-chuu's 5th birthday) and I learned so much with her in those 5 years. In those five years I documented so many school events, life happenings, and even got published for the first time. But because I exhausted her so much, she began to falter (I screwed up an assignment as an intern last year because of camera fluctuations.) That still didn't stop me though; I made do with what I had. On one hand I needed an upgrade, but on another I was like, "Hey, my camera's still not dead so s'all good." I will always love Haru-chuu. (THIS WHOLE PARAGRAPH IS A TESTAMENT TO MY BEING A NOSTALGIC SAP WHO PUTS SO MUCH SENTIMENTAL VALUE IN THINGS HAHAHA)
Anyway, here are some outtakes that I didn't include in the thesis. This isn't even all of the outtakes, but the others that will never be posted were way too similar to some shots so it's not like you're missing out on anything.
You'd think I would've had this up sooner, considering all I have to do with these photos is resize them for my blog. BUT NOOOO, THE GAP BETWEEN THIS POST AND THE PREVIOUS ONE IS STILL TWO WEEKS. I have no excuse. I've just been lazy, and a lot of my time has been spent reacquainting myself with video games. KH1 in particular, as I never got past Traverse Town as a kid because... I was scared. BELIEVE IT. (I made it past Hollow Bastion now though, orange you proud?)
Thanks again Janelle for modeling! We don't frequently shoot together, but when we do it is always a joy. Thanks also to Stephy for making time to assist, even if it was just brief. LABYU GAIZ
Friday, March 8, 2013
The title for this story is a little self-explanatory. It's basically about a lingering spirit wandering the land of the living because she has some unfinished business to take care of. What that business really is, well, I'll leave that as an open interpretation. The entire shoot was consistently photographed with this white cloth (which many must be sick of by now, because I've been using it in shoots for years!) because it actually symbolizes the unfinished business that is attached to the spirit, and because of it she cannot pass on into the light just yet.
The flowers used in this shoot were actually from the bouquet I had as a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding the night before the shoot. I brought it just in case, because you never know right?
Ana's shoot was actually the first thesis shoot that involved a helping hand, a.k.a. Carlos Rosales! He even made a BTS video which is omgwtfbbq so pretty YOU HAFTA WATCH IT OKAY!!! If only all my shoots had bts footage like this one. This is also what practically all of my shoots look like: me, the model, and a huge mess HAHAHAHA Thank you so much for all the help Carlos!
One of my favorite shots from the entire thesis was also from this shoot a.k.a. the cover shot!
Again, the following are some outtakes that I didn't include in the thesis, although this time it was mostly because the shots were already a little too similar to the others.
The thing about Ana's shoot is that it actually had one more set that was completely cut out of the study. I didn't include it because it didn't seem to fit well in the theme, which is kinda sad because we had to wait for nighttime to shoot, and we kind of struggled a bit to get some decent shots. It just didn't meet thesis quality, I suppose. Nevertheless, here are a few shots that I liked enough to share!
Thank you so much for always being game, Ana. :") And thank you for all the help, Carlos!!!
Saturday, March 2, 2013
The Public's Image is the story of a girl living up to society's expectations of her. She is oppressed by what the public wants from her, but in reality seeks to live out her own ideals and image. Despite having sought out her freedom, she still cannot fully break away from the influences of society that have trapped her.
In a way you could say this is about non-conformity within a society, and the struggles of surfacing one's individuality in a sea of similarities and constant comparisons.
There was something I didn't notice until I was done with thesis altogether, and it was something Maronne pointed out. That is: most of my shoots took place in the living quarters of the model HAHAHAHA. This is what happens when you're pressed for time and adjusting to other people's schedules. MAKE DO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE Y'ALL! That being said, you might find the areas in this shoot to be very familiar if you've been following my work since, I dunno, high school.
I remember as a college freshman looking in awe at the then-seniors' best thesis exhibit, and thinking, "I'm definitely going to pursue photography as my thesis." I remember asking Maronne if she could model for me when that time comes. The time has now come and gone, and it's a little overwhelming to think how fast (and stressful, stressful is a permanent word attached to thesis) it all happened. One minute I'm thinking about my future thesis, and the next I'm blogging about the already-finished thesis. Wow.
Maronne was my first ever model when I first started shooting. Looking back, I'm not really sure how that shoot was prompted (Maybe I needed something for the photography club I was in? Idek anymore.), but it launched a spiral of many future shoots ahead. It's amazing to see how much we've both grown -- not just individually as artists, but even together as friends -- and I know she's going to go places. I'm so excited for her life. ;__;
The pink wig shots are a little Just Be Friends-esque, but that's not a problem to me. There are some outtakes in this post, and the photographs that follow are the ones that didn't make the cut. My thesis adviser actually commented on one shot, asking about the relevance of this detail and that detail to the concept. While I was able to justify them, I did get scared and decided to just scrap it from the thesis altogether LOL. After the comment, however, I did become much more wary and conscious of little details in my shoots, and until now I find myself scrutinizing various details in a photograph and all that jazz.
It just makes me cringe at all my other older works though.
Thank you for being my forever model, Maronne! <3