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A newborn perspective

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by Jojie Alcantara

Raphael John L. Giberson, fondly called RJ, grew up with pastels for his art medium in childhood. His favorite subjects were people, even the little ones (newborn).

“As frustrated as I was with immortalizing a beauty perfectly, my limited ability failed me. When I was handed my first digital camera in 2005, I fell in love with photography that instant. I saw it as the best instrument in remounting my interest in art. From then on, I took pictures every chance I got. The ability to immortalize people through my lens was purely addictive to me. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, so taking part in actual workshops just wasn’t an option. I learned about photography, the roundabouts of a digital camera from renowned photographers through online tutorials, video blogs—all information I could grasp whenever I hit Google. I even made our cats, household lizards, and laundry pins as subjects.I joined photowalks in the city and started knowing people whose passion on photography were as strong, if not stronger, as mine.Luckily, our humble hometown had a handful of practiced photography enthusiasts who became my mentors as my passion grew,” RJ recounts the beginning of his passion in his town of Butuan, which is rich in cultural heritage.

  • Wrapped with Love (Raphael John Giberson)

  • Bundle of Joy (Raphael John Giberson)

  • Jeralen (Raphael John Giberson)

  • Johanna (Raphael John Giberson)

  • In high spirits (Raphael John Giberson)

  • Jessica (Raphael John Giberson)

  • Spellbound (Raphael John Giberson)

  • Simply in love (Raphael John Giberson)

  • One Heart (Raphael John Giberson)

  • RJ believes an effective photograph is one that tells a story no matter how orchestrated or candidly it was taken, one that could stir the emotions of the viewer (Raphael John Giberson)

  • (Raphael John Giberson)

  • (Raphael John Giberson)

  • (Raphael John Giberson)

  • (Raphael John Giberson)

  • (Raphael John Giberson)

  • (Raphael John Giberson)

    When wedding photography became easily accessible to the community in 2010, RJ started offering small event services for the following reasons: he believes that practice makes perfect;he enjoys seizing unguarded moments of pure bliss; and it makes good money.

    RJ concentrates on special occasions, specifically weddings, but he also shoots for maternity, newborn, food, and portraits. With people as his subjects, the outputs come out differently depending on their planned portrayal. Before any shoot, he prefers meeting and getting to know them to be able to draw a clearer direction of the shoot. He delicately handles newborn infants with the same fuss and concentration as a dad himself.

    “Photography is not an ‘easy on the pocket’ hobby. Although they say it’s not about the bow and arrow but the archer that makes a perfect hit, gaining quality equipment can make a difference. But there is more to wedding photography than just a good source of living. It’s the story behind every bride—struggles and joy, the thrill and anxiety, all depicted in one day. I find bridal portraits fascinating. As they transcend more into womanhood during that day, theirs are the best stories to tell in a wedding. Being able to capture them in their most still seconds are interesting,” he muses.

    RJ believes an effective photograph is one that tells a story no matter how orchestrated or candidly it was taken, one that could stir the emotions of the viewer. He has been to different photographic locations within and outside Butuan City, and has photographed locations more than once, but each picture he took on different occasions on the same location came out differently from the other.

    “It was not just entirely because the subjects vary, nor the weather was better than the last. I realized it was because I felt differently each time. Photography is an art. To produce an art, one has to be creative, and I believe that creativity is extracted from one’s inner energy. It’s not that one picture is better than the other because I was in a better mood during the latter. It’s the story being told in the pictures that differs. A good photographer can come up with a good picture no matter what mood he’s in. Pictures taken by two different photographers at the same time, at the same place may tell you entirely different stories,” he explains.

    RJ is an active member of the Butuan Photographic Society. He used to join festival photo contests, but seldom does nowadays. Though he still has yet to receive significant recognition from major organizations, he believes the commendations from satisfied clients are the best recognitions he’s had as a photographer.

    “I think my style is in the borders of artistic and dramatic. I endeavor to elicit a story by complementing the subject with the surrounding.  But most of my pictures are light and calm. I work generally on colored images especially on weddings. I always prefer light-mood pictures—images that would make you feel good about yourself and maybe life in general. Images that will bring positivity, contentment,and excitement at the same time,” he says.

    His ultimate goal as an artist is simply to just be able to keep on pursuing something better, and something to make him better. That is above making a good fortune out of his passion and to be widely recognized. He aims to always have something to look forward to as a photographer and an artist.

    For this 35-year-old married guy with two kids and a bright future in photography, he agrees that thebest thing about his chosen field is having the ability to capture someone else’s moment.

    “I think it’s selfless. Meeting people in all walks of life is also a bonus. I do not only learn from them, but I get to share a bit of my life to them. It’s an endless opportunity of seeing, feeling, and experiencing more through my lenses. It’s therapeutic.I have always lived by this—to respect other artists and their beliefs. In this field, there is no greater competition other than myself.Photography for me is marrying my own perspective of the world with that of reality,” concludes RJ, whose ultimate goal is to simply survive with integrity in a crowd of new and old and millennial artists.

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