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Shooting from the Heart


By Arlene Donaire

‘I want my images to be able to connect to the mind, eyes, and heart of the viewer. For me, this is what an effective photograph must be able to do.’ – Eugene Geronimo

He draws inspiration for his photography simply from being alive every day. Each day for him gives hope, representing a renewal of his lease on life—a miracle. Eugene Badiable Geronimo or Ugin, channels his yearning and passion for survival through his depiction of people in the streets who are going about their daily lives, in his favorite vibrant warm shades of sunshine as backdrop.

  • Enjoy little moments (Eugene Geronimo)

  • keep it cool (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Focus (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Nothing is impossible (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Take me anywhere (Eugene Geronimo)

  • No tripod (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Keep smiling (Eugene Geronimo)

  • The blue sea (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Jump (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Click and click (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Do your best (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Life goes on (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Pain is a part of life (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Just keep going (Eugene Geronimo)

  • The dark place (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Don’t lose hope (Eugene Geronimo)

  • Into the dark (Eugene Geronimo)

    “I am essentially unschooled in photography, mostly shooting instinctively whatever attracts me but I especially love to shoot people in the streets because I want to portray the mood of the subjects in their locales,” explains Ugin on his background and motivation for shooting.

    Back when he was only using a mobile phone to capture images, he had constantly received feedback from those who’ve seen his work, that he had a remarkable eye. This encouraged him to save up and buy his first DSLR only a few years back. He has been a hobbyist photographer since then, shooting in the streets of Metro Manila, whenever his resources and health allowed him to do so. For someone who has never had any formal schooling in photography, he comes across as a very skillful practitioner, a master of sorts in his chosen style—dominated by crisp silhouettes and dramatic naturescapes in sometimes subdued moody hues but more often in captivating colors.

    Ugin first caught our attention via the Instagram platform when a group of his follower-friends organized a benefit street shoot in Intramuros to gather donations for his treatments. Unlike other shooters who can readily pack and go to places, he has to juggle between raising a family and keeping a tab on his state of health. His medical condition, however, paved the way for his most significant experience to date, as a lensman.

    “Not too long ago, when I needed help to support the chemotherapy and radiation treatments for my stage 3 nasopharyngeal mass cancer, I became the recipient of the generosity and kindness of the photography community. I was profoundly touched by this amazing gesture of people I didn’t even know who gave freely, expecting nothing in return.” Ugin exclaims that when his Instagram friends talked to him about this fund-raising event, he was initially surprised and when all proceeds finally came in, he was heartened even more to realize that people do care, faith in humanity restored. He is endlessly thankful to everyone that contributed; the funds covered the last three cycles of his chemotherapy and crucial daily care expenses.

    He professes his love for the streets, which he considers his shooting playground. The preference for backlit, silhouette, and high contrast images depicting a combination of human, landscapes, and natural elements is his way of interpreting life, which has acquired a new meaning for him.

    “I want my images to be able to connect to the mind, eyes, and heart of the viewer. For me, this is what an effective photograph must be able to do.” Although he is not a part of any camera club now, Ugin has a significant following in social media, which he considers his learning community. His most recent win in the 2015 HIPA contests, where he landed among the Top 16 finalists in a field of over 10,000 entries for the black-and-white category, is his highest photography award so far.

    As a visual artist, Ugin’s ultimate goal is to travel to the lesser known areas of the country, to create meaningful images and share his artistic creations in the rural areas while also spreading God’s words. Because he has gone through a tremendous ordeal in life and continues to struggle to reach that stage of being fully worry-free about his health, he wants to make the most of his time and skill in photography by making it an instrument for encouraging others to appreciate God’s creations and the gift of life.

    On his personal philosophy as a lensman, Ugin emphasizes the value of respect: “I think the basic and most important principle to follow as a lensman is to respect the images created by other photographers and to try to create and share, to be able to inspire more people, promote understanding of what life means.”

    Ugin was born in 1979 to Epifanio and Rosalina Geronimo of Tondo and is married to Irene, who with his two children (Anfernee and Andrei), proudly support him in his passion for photography. He completed his secondary education at the Jose Abad Santos High School and currently works as sales specialist in a sanitary care company.

    More of Ugin’s works can be seen in his instagram accounts: ugin_x and ugin_xx.

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