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You mean, this one I'm holding costs about P240,000? Yes, that's how much it's worth. Oh, I may drop it! [Laughter] Just kidding. This is Hidalgo Street located in Quiapo, Manila. Hectic, narrow, noisy -- the favorite hangout of people who take pictures as a hobby. What is it about this hobby that appeals to the young generation? And could any reality be seen from their lenses? Before the end of the 19th century, Hidalgo Street was touted to be the grandest street in Manila. Despite the glory that it once had, it only has a faint trace these days. Just opposite Quiapo Church, Hidalgo is part of a big market place situated around Plaza Miranda. But before the floods, trash, and slough Hidalgo was known to be the hangout of professional photographers and hobbyists. And even to this day, photography shops, standing one right after another, still line the street. Photography in the olden days was not easy. Yes. The mere act of focusing and adjusting was already difficult. Or when you have to use the flash. Ogie AlmoniƱa is the president of the association of store owners. When I was young and just starting out as a photographer, this is really the place to be. We didn't have malls before. So, everybody comes here. That is why there have been a lot of retail stores here since the 1950s or 1960s Up to now, they are still here. And even if the trend now is to shop in gigantic malls, the community of photographers in Hidalgo has stayed alive. The thing is, when you go to the malls, bit by bit, part by part, there are only a few retails stores that you can go to or ask around. Unlike here in Hidalgo, where many stores are situated right beside each other, the camera or accessories you cannot find in one store, can surely be found in the next one. Who are your most regular customers? Oh, people from all walks of life. There are students, there are beginners, professional photographers, collectors of cameras. Oh, yeah? Photography collectors. All of them visit us here. Cameras like this are now mostly in the hands of collectors. One other unique attraction of Hidalgo are second-hand cameras for sale. That is why this is also a favorite hangout of camera collectors. Before, you turn it like this. This is just one of Ogie's collection. This particular bulb, it can just flash once. After which, it has to be replaced. This one is what's called "twin lens". This is a "twin lens". This is the part that takes the picture, this one at the top, this is where you peek. Stores like Ogie's aren't far behind when it comes to the latest, hi-tech cameras. From this one... notice the difference. There's a big difference. The advancement in technology is huge. How much is that kind of a top-of-the-line camera including the lens? With the lens -- The body alone already costs P132,000. Wow! How about this one, the lens? This one, the lens, amounts to P105,000. Amazing! So, does it mean that this whole thing, this one that I am holding, already costs P240,000? Yes, that the price of that one. That's scary. Whoa! [Laughter] Just kidding. In reality, photography can be really expensive. But the likes of Ogie's stores can stand its ground amidst big malls because the prices of their items are lower and because of the special care they give to their customers. Our edge here is once you buy a camera from us, especially if it's digital, we have what's called a free orientation. We teach them the basics. That is why, when you talk about photography, Hidalgo can surely take care of you. And that's just in Ogie's store. It's mind-boggling how many cameras, lenses, and other items are needed in photography. But where are their end users? This is the T60 Crew. It's a group of individuals who are into photography. Bambit Gaerlan is one of the known leaders of the group. When I look at something, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Oh, that would look well on camera." And I think that's it. When you start looking at anything and you start thinking, "Oh, that will make a good picture," that's when you start becoming an enthusiast. With her salary as a manager, it wasn't easy for Bambit to save for her hobby. Because I have a family -- I have three kids -- we have a house that we maintain -- So, when I made a decision, a serious commitment, I applied for a loan. Every week, all the members of the group take the time to gather and indulge in activities they call "photo walk". They go around different places to take pictures. With my own camera in tow, I went with Bambit's crew one rainy Saturday. So, what are the rules during a photo walk? What are the things that we need to keep in mind? Always be careful. Okay. Take care of yourself and your equipment. Basically, those are the most important rules. So, what usually are your favorite subjects? Different stuff. It all depends on the place. There are places known for old buildings, like this one. Oh. When you go up to Baguio, of course, there are the flowers. It really depends on where you are. And after an hour of going around Manila, these are the pictures I personally like. Tata Gil Nartea is a professional photographer and a photo-journalism professor in U.P. Diliman. What made you a photography enthusiast? Writing used to be my dream. Oh, yeah? I studied, took my masters in Philippine Literature. I thought I'd excel in writing. It didn't happen. That time, I was just interested in photography. So, what i did -- I would write my stories through pictures. I see. So, I became a photographer. But even if there is satisfaction in looking at idyllic pictures, this is not the sole point of photography. In Tata Gils' field, the emotions left behind by the pictures on the one who is looking is what's more important. For example, somebody drowned here. They swam here; they jumped off, like that one. And then, we were able to take pictures. And they came out in the newspapers or in the internet, the value of that is, when parents see those pictures, or if authorities see them, like Manila officials, they will now prohibit jumping off from here because people may die. There are also times when pictures play a big role in changing the course of history. One of the causes of Vietnam War to end was the emergence of pictures of atrocities, the massacres against Vietnamese by the Americans. It was during the 1930s. A photographer named Lewis Hine was able to take pictures of children working in factories. And then, those pictures got published. From those pictures, the anti-child labor law was created. On the very first day of the classes I teach, I already tell my students that photo-journalism is not lucrative. Any income you will get from it is just the same as any ordinary wage-earner. But we have our equipment. I always tell them that the value of a picture -- Your wealth is in the pictures. The ability to capture a moment that will never fade in the same manner, This is the unique power of a picture. A history with life and the naked reality can be seen by the people behind the lenses with every click of the camera. The next time look at a picture, let us try to search for the meaning behind it. What does it say about the world that we live in? And what are you going to do about it?

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 96
Posted by: localfiles0001 on Oct 3, 2011


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