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Photographer of the Week: Paulo Navarra


By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

You can tell if a person is a truly talented if he excels in more than one discipline. Paulo Navarra is one such case. Not only is he skilled in the visual art of photography, but he is also a gifted performer.

  • Winter (Paulo Navarra)

    Winter (Paulo Navarra)

  • The First Rule (Paulo Navarra)

    The First Rule (Paulo Navarra)

  • The Best Leche Flan Ever (Paulo Navarra)

    The Best Leche Flan Ever (Paulo Navarra)

  • Tanay RIzal (Paulo Navarra)

    Tanay RIzal (Paulo Navarra)

  • Summer Lovin' (Paulo Navarra)

    Summer Lovin' (Paulo Navarra)

  • Summer In Leyte (Paulo Navarra)

    Summer In Leyte (Paulo Navarra)

  • Sarai (Paulo Navarra)

    Sarai (Paulo Navarra)

  • Pin Up (Paulo Navarra)

    Pin Up (Paulo Navarra)

  • Photographer of the Week: Paulo Navarra

    Photographer of the Week: Paulo Navarra

  • Natural History Museum (Paulo Navarra)

    Natural History Museum (Paulo Navarra)

  • Nami Fall (Paulo Navarra)

    Nami Fall (Paulo Navarra)

  • Longshan (Paulo Navarra)

    Longshan (Paulo Navarra)

  • Leyte Sunrise (Paulo Navarra)

    Leyte Sunrise (Paulo Navarra)

  • Lani Misalucha (Paulo Navarra)

    Lani Misalucha (Paulo Navarra)

  • Julia (Paulo Navarra)

    Julia (Paulo Navarra)

  • Boudoir (Paulo Navarra)

    Boudoir (Paulo Navarra)

  • Angkor Wat (Paulo Navarra)

    Angkor Wat (Paulo Navarra)

  • Angkor Wat (Paulo Navarra)

    Angkor Wat (Paulo Navarra)

  • Angkor Wat in B&W (Paulo Navarra)

    Angkor Wat in B&W (Paulo Navarra)

  • Angkor Pool (Paulo Navarra)

    Angkor Pool (Paulo Navarra)

    His love for singing came first, he says, borne of his exposure to music with his parents’ love for Sinatra, the Beatles, and Broadway musicals. “I had no idea that I had a talent for it until my teachers would constantly ask me to lead the National Anthem. I joined the high school orchestra to escape P.E. and C.A.T.”

    In late 2002, a very good friend asked him to join their band. It turned out that it was for an a capella group for a singing contest in a radio station. They went on to win first runner-up and “Audience Favorite,” eventually landing gigs that included TV shows and touring with the country’s top recording artists. Their group, the Akafellas, was able to launch two albums and opened for Mariah Carey when she toured Manila. “This was way before photography, way before my search for something ‘more stable,’” he grins.

    His love for photography had childhood roots as well. “I’d ask my folks if they could lend me their point and shoot whenever I’d have field trips,” he recalls. In college he learned how to process photos in the darkroom and dealing with the toughest, hard-to-please professors criticizing one’s work.

    He originally set out to join the advertising industry and while compiling a portfolio, a good friend asked him to apply with The Picture Company, where he stayed for around two years. In 2008, he met Jay Tablante, who was into cosplay photography, and bugged him for an apprenticeship. “What was supposed to be a week-long exposure became a month, months became years,” he recalls with a smile.

    Today, his main clients come from the advertising industry — a mix of portraiture, architectural, lifestyle, fashion, beauty and travel for billboard, print, and now digital. He is known for what clients call a “clean and polished look.”

    “I am drawn to the storytelling aspect of photography, the way things are arranged in a photograph and how they all relate to each other, effectively conveying a message.” There’s tension behind a good photo, he explains. “The elements in the photo work together and speak to you, as opposed to a snapshot where it’s mere recording.”

    For him, photography is not just simply recording subjects. “When you see a photographer’s personal body of work, it’s a peek into his or her soul. The precise time a photographer presses the shutter, what he or she chooses to show the world, that’s all mind, heart, and soul.”

    There’s a point where his two talents converge. “The process behind making these kinds of art can actually be quite similar. Both take on more meaning and depth when inspiration hits. Both demand hours of practice and focus for them to be something of substance. Devoting your time, energy, and self to produce something that moves other people is fulfilling. With all the craziness around us, we do need time to introspect and music and visuals can do wonders with that.”

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