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Making Waves

Photographer of the Week: Patrick Mateo

Published

By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

For many, heading for the beach to frolic among the waves is a form of relaxation. For Patrick Mateo, a beach trip is another opportunity to perfect his craft. It is among the crashing waves that he is in his element.There, immersed not only in the briny sea but also in the local surfer culture, his shutter clicks away to document a particular moment within the surfing movement.

  • WILMAR, 11 YEARS APART (Patrick Mateo)

    WILMAR, 11 YEARS APART (Patrick Mateo)

  • WHISKEY FOR MANILA PEN (Patrick Mateo)

    WHISKEY FOR MANILA PEN (Patrick Mateo)

  • WHISKEY FEATURE FOR VAULT MAGAZINE

    WHISKEY FEATURE FOR VAULT MAGAZINE

  • WE ALL MISS THIS GUY (Patrick Mateo)

    WE ALL MISS THIS GUY (Patrick Mateo)

  • VANESSA MATSUNAGA FOR VAULT MAGAZINE (Patrick Mateo)

    VANESSA MATSUNAGA FOR VAULT MAGAZINE (Patrick Mateo)

  • TOKYO STREET FINDS (Patrick Mateo)

    TOKYO STREET FINDS (Patrick Mateo)

  • SECURITY FEATURE VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

    SECURITY FEATURE VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

  • SECURITY FEATURE VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

    SECURITY FEATURE VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

  • SECURITY FEATURE VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

    SECURITY FEATURE VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

  • (Patrick Mateo)

    (Patrick Mateo)

  • ONE OF BALER'S LEGENDS, EDMUND DJANGO MENDOZA (Patrick Mateo)

    ONE OF BALER'S LEGENDS, EDMUND DJANGO MENDOZA (Patrick Mateo)

  • NIIKO HUELGAS FOR MULTISPORT.PH (Patrick Mateo)

    NIIKO HUELGAS FOR MULTISPORT.PH (Patrick Mateo)

  • Mercedes Benz 300SL (Patrick Mateo)

    Mercedes Benz 300SL (Patrick Mateo)

  • MAURICE ARCACHE FOR ROGUE (Patrick Mateo)

    MAURICE ARCACHE FOR ROGUE (Patrick Mateo)

  • Manhattan (Patrick Mateo)

    Manhattan (Patrick Mateo)

  • Leaf @ Central Park (personal)

    Leaf @ Central Park (personal)

  • LASAP FILIPINO (Patrick Mateo)

    LASAP FILIPINO (Patrick Mateo)

  • KIDS IN CAMBODIA (Patrick Mateo)

    KIDS IN CAMBODIA (Patrick Mateo)

  • Kevin Kwan For Metro Mag (Patrick Mateo)

    Kevin Kwan For Metro Mag (Patrick Mateo)

  • FISHERMAN CAMBODIA (Patrick Mateo)

    FISHERMAN CAMBODIA (Patrick Mateo)

  • DODO ESPEJON AT CALICOAN ISLAND (Patrick Mateo)

    DODO ESPEJON AT CALICOAN ISLAND (Patrick Mateo)

  • CLOUD 9 (Patrick Mateo)

    CLOUD 9 (Patrick Mateo)

  • Chef Boutwood (Outtake From F&B REPORT) (Patrick Mateo)

    Chef Boutwood (Outtake From F&B REPORT) (Patrick Mateo)

  • Chef Alain Ducasse For F&B World Mag (Patrick Mateo)

    Chef Alain Ducasse For F&B World Mag (Patrick Mateo)

  • CAPT.JOY ROA FOR VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

    CAPT.JOY ROA FOR VAULT MAG (Patrick Mateo)

  • CAMBODIA (Patrick Mateo)

    CAMBODIA (Patrick Mateo)

  • BRIAN LANDRIGAN (Patrick Mateo)

    BRIAN LANDRIGAN (Patrick Mateo)

  • BOURDAIN FOR METRO SOCIETY (Patrick Mateo)

    BOURDAIN FOR METRO SOCIETY (Patrick Mateo)

  • Beetle & Boards CALIFORNIA (Patrick Mateo)

    Beetle & Boards CALIFORNIA (Patrick Mateo)

  • BALER RANDOM FINDS (Patrick Mateo)

    BALER RANDOM FINDS (Patrick Mateo)

    Coincidentally, it was another aspect of nature that drew him to photography, this one coming from the sky. He recalls being an industrial design student at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, sitting on a rooftop to capture the cityscape as part of a required portfolio. “I saw streaks of lightning on the horizon, and I tried to capture them. I clicked away on my dad’s Canon FT, hoping for a lucky shot, and when I had that roll developed, I realized that I did catch a lightning bolt that hit a building.”

    Three years later, he found that same photo, and noticed something else. “That building was still under construction and I saw another lightning bolt that illuminated through the floors of the structure. That ‘struck’ me and made me want to learn more about photography,” he shares.

    He has gone a long way since then going commercial for clients that include publications and agencies. His most memorable shoot was one with the late, great Anthony Bourdain. “We were only given two minutes, but it was surprisingly not difficult to execute. Everything was just in place.”

    Patrick was also tapped to provide images for books that for him has historical and cultural value. One such book had him documented the goings-on at the Malacañang Palace, and he had the opportunity to photograph heads of state on their visits. Another was a book about banig. Now, he has embarked on his own passion project, which showcases the surfing culture in the Philippines.

    He has chosen the surfing life, because it helped him choose his path. “I had discovered surfing at around the same time as photography. It was at that point where I was deciding what to do with my life, and both came to me at the same time. I found solace in the sport and started taking photos of people who were surfing or surf-related odds and ends. Someone gave me a book called Surfer, and I told myself that I wanted to do something similar.”

    Some of his pictures date back to 2001, and he says it can also be a way to chronicle how the surfing scene has eventually changed. He has since become a fixture in spots such as Zambales, La Union, Siargao, Samar, and Baler, hoping to complete his work on the book.

    Photography for him is about having a vision in your head and translating it into an image that captures a memory and elicits emotion using your camera equipment as your tools. The challenge, he says, is to be consistent. “For me, the most important principles as a lensman are to keep your eyes and ears open, and to have an open mind. It also pays to be kind to everyone you meet—that goes a long way.”

    On the technical side, he advises to always bring the right equipment for the job, especially if it is commercial or commissioned work. “For your personal work, my advice is to do whatever you feel like doing. It is the only way to discover for yourself who you are, and to change your bad habits as a photographer. Keep shooting. Throw caution to the wind! Sometimes, that is the best way to mature as an artist.”

     

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