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FREEDOM: Of Light and Shadow

10 June 2019 No CommentEmail This Post Email This Post
Maestro Robert “Bob” Shroder, FASO (Filipino American Symphony Orchestra) conductor and flutist by Vics Magsaysay

“Both
light and shadow are the dance of love…..”   –Rumi

   Yes, there are images like those of a sunset
or trees in fall; colors in an awesome display of blazing colors that will
truly move you into tears with their ineffable beauty. But there are also
nondescript images of leaves, flowers, trees or scenery that do not hit you
hard. Why? For a photographer, what needs to be done? And what’s the role of
freedom of the creative spirit in the pursuit of beauty and excellence?

“FREEDOM:
Showcasing the creativity of free-spirited Filipino American
photographers”
is a group photo exhibit of ten
Filipino American photographers–Nikki Arriola, Joanna Allas-Fojas, Robert
Gamo, Rick Gavino, Vics Magsaysay, Phillip Ner, Randy Ordoñez, Rodolfo Samonte,
Bienvenido Sibug and Benny Uy–slated this June 22nd at the Filipino Cultural
Center, 1740 W. Temple Street in the Historic Filipinotown of Los Angeles. The
exhibit runs up to August 31st. Presented by the Filipino American Press Club
of California, Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) and Pamana ng
Lahi. Bernie Targa-Ganon will emcee the event. 
Special
guest performers: Genise Sarino, Mark
“Bagyo” S. Villamac Ho, Mon Concepcion and Nikki Arriola. 
Sponsors: Fiesta Fastfoods, Mervin Luwee Villamac Ho, Margie del
Rosario-Canlobo and Belle Gonzales.

   A camera is a camera. It is a tool that is
used to capture images. The camera can only capture the physical attributes of
anything–shapes, forms, colors, and textures. The captured image does not stop
there if it has to win the hearts of viewers. For many photographs there is
still a need for a creative and expressive void to be filled. For beauty to
enter our hearts easily, it needs a vehicle–a vehicle that goes beyond the
boundaries of the physical. What is not within the camera’s capturing power,
the energy of the emotion, has to be added. And this is where the soul, the
passion of the photographer, enters.

   Well-known landscape photographer Ansel
Adams was so passionate in his craft. He spent much time in the darkroom with
his brand of dodging and burning, thus bringing about a metamorphosis of his
captured image into a beautiful butterfly of natural beauty. The celebrated
photographer infused his prints with the added value of his own passion during
the darkroom process to bring out the iconic landscape photographs for which he
was so well known. This, in turn, elicited the vehicle of emotion that strikes
a resounding chord in one’s innermost feeling.

   It is in pushing the envelope of an image’s
emotional content that its physical nature is transcended.  And in so doing, a dance of sharpness and
blurriness, of light and darkness, kindles the overall mood, thus transforming
the form and design into something non-physical, into something that truly
uplifts the human spirit.

   In one of our Facebook exchanges, painter,
essayist and versatile artist Alfredo Roces echoed and wrote this: “Vics, the
camera lens does not arbitrarily distinguish sharp and soft. The most one can
do with a camera is to use the lens opening to blur the background, or the slow
shutter to blur movement; but otherwise, the camera gets everything as sharp as
the lens can. The artist’s eye and mind, on the other hand, makes arbitrary
decisions and you, with your “Photoshop blur”, have added the
artist’s capability and given the image an “artistic” feel. This is
why I cannot empathize with artists who insist on copying a photograph exactly,
thus dispensing with the ability to use the artist’s sensibility regarding
sharp and soft focus.”

   For documentary purposes, I agree that a
photograph has to be technically as sharp as possible—that is the purpose. But
when it comes to fine-art photography, the interplay of light and dark, sharp
and soft has to be dispensed with, much like an acupuncturist tonifying or
sedating the acupuncture points of the patient to achieve the necessary balance
of yin and yang to promote homeostasis or well-being.

   And for a photographer–or any person–there
is always this inherent freedom of the spirit to search for this relative
stable equilibrium of life. For me, “homeostasis” in an image elicits a feeling
of serenity, bringing a kind of solace into our frenzied phase of living. It is
a time when the continuous chatter in our minds stops for a while. This is
simply what meditation means—no mind.

Jannelle So by Phillip Ner

   Art is beauty. Beauty is art. They are
interchangeable. And when we see beauty, our hearts are at peace; we are
transported back to our essence.Vics Magsaysay, Ph.D, is a fine-art nature
photographer, painter, sculptor, writer, graphic designer, alternative healer
and holds a doctorate degree in clinical hypnotherapy.

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