By Macel Feliciano
Perfect!” This is the word that may pop into mind when first viewing Raymond Cabalhin’s photographs. Others may argue that there are better images. Yes, definitely. Technically and conceptually, these may not be the ultimate photos to top all other photos. And Raymond may even surpass his own images in the near future. But to an ordinary viewer, they could scream perfection. Not to say they’re faultless. They just bring to mind a world that is ideal. Utopian.
This immaculate world belies Raymond’s journey. His youth has not been easy. His mother nearly died, his father was paralyzed, and their savings were depleted. So he had to take on odd jobs to support his family and his studies. He had to roam their neighborhood to sell pandesal early in the morning. Being artistic, he would charge his classmates for art projects he would do for them.
This continued until college. His dream was to be an architect and he fought tooth and nail to pursue it. He worked as production assistant and was able to get more odd jobs. To relieve the stress of daily existence, he turned to dancing. This became his first love and the only thing that could make him forget his struggles. But his responsibilities as breadwinner took a toll on his studies. He had to drop out and put his dream on hold.
Color Mist (Raymond Cabalhin)
Light of Love (Raymond Cabalhin)
Choices (Raymond Cabalhin)
Eagerness (Raymond Cabalhin)
Inamorata (Raymond Cabalhin)
Sentiments (Raymond Cabalhin)
Verdoier (Raymond Cabalhin)
Fervor (Raymond Cabalhin)
Whip (Raymond Cabalhin)
Flaxen Princess (Raymond Cabalhin)
Phenomena (Raymond Cabalhin)
Shades of Dreams (Raymond Cabalhin)
Shawl of numbness (Raymond Cabalhin)
His dancing was what kept them afloat. He earned enough from his dancing, but he still couldn’t afford lessons. He had to learn through YouTube. The desire to upload videos of himself spurred him to save up for a camera. In the course of learning his camera’s features, he took still photos. That birthed his passion for photography.
Instead of being defeated by his difficult life, he is grateful because the hurdles he overcame have shaped him into what he is now. So, with determination and even more hard work, he finally became a wedding videographer and filmmaker. But it is still through his photography that he fully expresses himself and shows off his creativity.
“I never really imagined myself as a photographer. I thought of myself as being born an artist but not a very talented one. I had to work really hard to learn my craft and differentiate myself from others. But I definitely knew I wanted to excel in whatever I did.”
For now, Raymond is still developing his own style. “I love colors and I always want to play with it. I always want the elements in my photos to be vibrant and dynamic. An effective photograph for me is where the colors and the light convey the mood and emotions, the overall look and feel you want.”
At 24, the whole lot excites him. He wants to explore everything from beauty shoots to conceptual projects to aerial photography and weddings. He wants to try them all. He still has a long road ahead of him and he hopes, still more years in photography. His desire is to pour his soul into his craft.
“I never aim for good pictures. I just want the photos to tell stories. And it’s always the eyes of my subjects that convey the story, the feeling, and the mood. This is where my lust for perfection lies.”
Raymond doesn’t join photography contests. He just loves to tell his stories and inspire people through his images. “All I want for now is the satisfaction and joy when I create something beautiful.”
His ultimate goal as an artist is to inspire. “I want to show everyone that my photos are packed with different emotions and stories of their own. I hope every artist takes photos that inspire, motivate, and convey lessons.”
He says what he enjoys most about photography is the intense happiness he experiences. “The best thing about being a photographer is the euphoria that fuels your creative soul to create images that are timeless. I am grateful for the privilege to capture moments that will become part of history.”
Raymond encapsulates his thoughts on his art as, “Photography for me is the rainbow of life. It signifies the artist’s thoughts, emotions, creativity, and dreams.”