After his acclaimed Vietnam Photo Series spread online, we thought of challenging this promising photographer to create another street photography series, but now, something that's focused in the Philippines. We imagined that someone with a very observant eye like him would do great in representing a location in the country differently. A photo series that veers away from the slew of Instagram-inspired local travel photos we see online. Our quick discussion with him led to the idea of focusing on Cebu for the series, the place where he is also currently based. Darryll Rapacon is originally from Midsayap, North Cotabato, but have resided in Cebu to finish his Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts degree. In addition to the series, we interviewed him to know more about his photography process and inspirations, and his relationship with Cebu. Read the interview and view the powerful Colon Street, Cebu City Photography Series below.
"Walking around the area would give you a glimpse into the city’s vivid historic past... The street has been the best witness to all the changes within the Queen City of the South."
Interview by Marvin Conanan, Photos by Darryll Rapacon
Why did you start pursuing photography?
Like culture, photography is a way of life. Photography allows you to travel and learn about cultures around the world. Not only is it a passport to new places, but to new friends and learnings as well. All these have inspired me to pursue this craft.
What do you love and dislike most about Cebu?
Cebu is known for its rich history and culture. Walking in its streets enables me to access my creativity more readily. The art scene has this sense of community with everyone from all art forms coming together and expressing support. However, being a rapidly progressing city, Cebu’s traffic situation is worsening by the day. A lot of time that I could spend shooting is wasted waiting for vehicles to move.
Why did you choose to feature Colon Street in Cebu for this series?
Colon is the country’s oldest street. Walking around the area would give you a glimpse into the city’s vivid historic past. The street is an essential part of the Cebuano lifestyle, culture and history. Traces of its past as the main commercial district can still be seen today. The street has been the best witness to all the changes within the Queen City of the South.
What's your take away in doing this series? What have you learned in the process?
Finding the right time of the day to shoot is critical in telling a story through photographs. For the series, I decided to shoot at 5am everyday to present Colon in a different perspective - how the country’s first street comes alive. Shooting at the right time will not only show a different personality/character of a subject but also provide the photographer the right light for a more compelling photograph.
Can you give us an idea about your process?
Before starting a series, I spend time visualizing on how the series would be like and its purpose. Identifying the characters of the series is an essential part of my process. Having a clear idea of what story you’re trying to tell prepares you for the shoot. Unlike in countries or cities with distinct cultures, shooting here in Cebu presents the challenge of finding an interesting subject in an environment that everyone sees everyday. The location is as important as the subject. It’s not all the time that a subject is in a scene you had in mind. You have to wait for that decisive moment. I only shoot early in the morning and late in the afternoon. My process revolves on my belief that the transformation of a familiar scene into something different and engaging makes a shot artistic.
Do you see yourself pursuing photography full time?
Photographers who usually go full time and make a living out of it are mostly either wedding or commercial photographers. Lesser opportunities are available for street and travel photographers. Adjusting your style to the clients’ wants can be uninspiring. I can only see myself pursuing this craft full time if the work incorporates travel.
Who are your inspirations?
For my shooting process it’s Vivian Maier, but my philosophy is heavily influenced by one of the greatest photographers of all time, W. Eugene Smith. He inspired me to have a deeper insight into street photography.
Lastly, what's your number one tip for shooting street photography?
Shoot from the hip. It gives you more candid shots and it is a great way to go unnoticed. Since you’re shooting from a much lower angle, you often get a much more interesting perspective.