By Arlene Donaire
‘You can just imagine the power you have when you hold a camera where you can capture the mood, the culture, and the significance of a certain moment—a framed period in time.’ – Joel Mataro
“It was my father who introduced me to photography as a child and later on I had formal classes in photography while studying architecture,” shares Joel Mataro of his origins as a lensman.
Quite well known among the street and documentary photography community as a shooter with depth and substance, Joel’s uncommon, sometimes enigmatic, yet richly real and relatable images of people going about their daily lives reflect his passion for photography as both art and medium for chronicling human stories.
Joel remembers that he had always been attracted to the visual arts even as child and, in his evolution as a student of photography, he found himself in awe whenever he looked at the combination of colors, the intersection of lines, and the forms and shapes of objects.
In his current approach to street and documentary photography, he has masterfully incorporated this fascination and detailed attention for visual elements in depicting human conditions, layering them into a meaningful collage of sorts. He is particularly passionate about street and documentary photography because he likes dwelling on the significance and symbolism of things and making sense of whatever is there in the images. His take on “layering” and juxtaposing seemingly varied and unrelated elements into a coherent image sums up the way life as he sees them in the streets.
“A photograph is a representation of how the photographer sees the world through his or her lens,” Joel explains. With this thought, Joel believes that the mood of the photographer strongly affects the way images turn out and, most often, the viewer will find this mood speaking to him or her.
His way of checking whether his images are effective is to try and describe it in one sentence. He prefers his images to be generally either dark, sunny, or posing a question. If he finds that the colors within the frame do not do justice to the subject, he goes for black and white. He also has an ongoing project, shooting only with films but he usually shoots with whatever camera he has at any moment the desire or opportunity to shoot strikes.
Joel is an avid reader and admits being significantly influenced by them with his favorite including Understanding Movies by Loius Gianetti and Father Browne: A Life in Pictures written by E.E. O’Donnel, S.J. His local favorite lensmen are Alex Baluyut, Luis Liwanag, and Sonny Yabao—all highly acclaimed in the street and documentary genres.
He is one of the leaders of Litratista Sa Daan, a loose community of street photographers that share their interests in creating street images. He usually doesn’t join photo contests because he feels that his shots are not mainstreamed or defined for contests.
Despite not having the usual accolades that other photographers seek in establishing their level of accomplishments, Joel is not lacking in recognition. He has exhibited in numerous venues ranging from alternative bars and cafes to museums, both here and abroad. Some of his best works are included in the collections of such known collectives as Getty Images, Alamy, and Pacific Press. Some of his proudest moments were when his shots were featured in the Twitter account of New York Times, in Germany’s Deutsche Welle TV, among others. Joel’s most recent recognition was an interview on CNN Philippines regarding his photo documentary on the devotion to the Black Nazarene. Currently, this photo documentary is exhibited online via the Social Documentary Network.
Joel strongly adheres to the principle that photos should speak and they should say it loud. As someone with a recurring health condition that sometimes prevents him from productively using his time, he tries to make every frame he shoots sensible and meaningful. For him, photography is freedom.
“The best thing about the photographer is that you can creatively see and capture the passage of time, freeze that instance, and convey the message at hand. You can just imagine the power you have when you hold a camera where you can capture the mood, the culture, and the significance of a certain moment—a framed period in time,” Joel concludes.
- Ozone layer will be completely HEALED by the 2060s: Holes in the upper atmosphere are recovering at a rate of up to three per cent a decade, UN study says
- ‘It tears every part of your life away’: the truth about male infertility
- This column will change your life
- Who is Slender Man? True story behind the Internet meme that spurred two girls to murder in real-life
- On the midnight prowl with one of S.F.’s hottest street artists
- Into the overworld: modified spy plane to see whether towering storms pose new threat to ozone layer
- Billionaires' basements: the luxury bunkers making holes in London streets
- Should the creamy layer norm be extended to SC/STs?
- Victorian slum that was demolished in the Second World War is discovered under a Cornish street by construction workers and reveals ‘time capsule’ of fire places, oven doors and floor tiles
- Klaus and the Life & Times of Joe Christmas Review: A Fresh Spin on a Holiday Tradition
- A tribute to female flâneurs: the women who reclaimed our city streets
- Murray Street, five years on
Layered Tapestry of Street Life have 915 words, post on lifestyle.mb.com.ph at February 6, 2017. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.