Stories in Colors
By Angelo Greñas
Photographer | HAPI Scholar
They say that pictures are unspoken stories. Some of these stories are futile but the best of them are like memoirs of nostalgia laid through colors and dots. These are the things that I want to capture in my journey as a photographer — the realities that exist just outside our perceptions of this world.
I see this as a new medium to show the nobility of the struggle we humans wage every day
It has been years since I formally started working as a photographer, but ever since I was a kid, I already loved taking pictures of moments worth remembering. I did not have my own camera back then, so I had to learn the craft by myself through experience, questions, and experimentation. I was fortunate to have had a few family relatives who were willing to lend me gear to pursue my passion. As years passed by, so did the experiences and learnings. Eventually, more people came along to help me pursue my interest. However, I must note that this interest did not prevent me from setting out and discovering the world.
Human interactions provide the best expressway to convey empathy without the use of words. When I go out of my house and dwell in the busy thoroughfares around our town, I feel an urge to walk and meet people and be a witness to anything human. I’ve found that the human experience provides spontaneous moments of vulnerability that show undeniable authenticity. Away from the comfort of feature photography (in which I previously partook), I see this as a new medium to show the nobility of the struggle we humans wage every day, just to show that there is something to live for. With this interest in incorporating an honest depiction of modern humanism in photography, street photography allowed me to tell real-life stories from visions of daily experiences.
As I go and lurk around the busiest streets of our town, I started learning from other people’s experiences. It is like going on an evangelical mission in search of something – only it wasn’t exactly God’s work that I do. Every day, I walk along the streets and tell myself to embrace being in the moment, seeing through the reality of our daily struggle. Through the countless faces that I encounter on the streets of Batangas and other nearby cities, I came across countless unheard tales – mirages of human experiences that are worthy of stories. When you take a photo of a busy marketplace, there is more to that scene than an old woman trying to sell her merchandise to wary customers. It has the power to convey stories of daily experiences.
A picture of an old beggar resting under the shade of a tree along Quezon Avenue can launch your mind into speculations about her struggle to survive amidst the cruel roads of this city. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she manage to stand still under the scorching heat of the sun? Not only can it provoke emotions, but it can also tickle questions to satisfy our quest for understanding the nature of life.
It is never a quest to see through the lens of my camera but a journey to fully understand this world that we live in – the poetic realism of selective framing, exact timing, and lyric-less spontaneity of our daily lives – a “slice of life” as they say. That’s what my passion is all about.