FOR the past seven years, Heiko Opitz has been seen in every fashion show in Mindanao. Amidst the thick crowd of designer enthusiasts and casual spectators, he stands tallest, waiting for the right time and the right angle to click his camera.
Unlike his fellow photographers, Opitz is one of the few photographers who come to these events simply for the enjoyment and the fulfillment that it brings to him. Passion for fashion photography and nothing else is the main reason why the German national endeavors to attend every fashion show in town.
"I refuse to accept payment for it. I do not want it to be a profession because then, if something becomes a profession it ceases to become a hobby and it weighs you down. You have to be somewhere or you have to do something just because you are obliged to, not because you simply want," he said.
His passion for photography started as early as his adolescent years. At age fifteen, Opitz already began training how to handle the camera.
"It was a profession to me before back in Germany. However, photography does not really earn much so I built my own business. But then, photography kind of stayed always on the sides," Opitz said. Opitz has been in the country for seven years ever since he and his wife, a Filipina, decided to stay here.
However, Opitz's inspiration for photography has not been always about fashion. Back in Germany, Opitz was obsessed with taking pictures of castles.
"I guess it's because I'm old? And I like old things? But everywhere you go in Germany there are castles. More like in every town," he said laughing.
When Opitz came to the Philippines with his wife, he shifted his lens' main subject from majestic castles to the glamorous world of fashion.
"I guess the greens here in the Philippines never really clicked with me so I decided to take more pictures of fashion because other things like sports photography don't really appeal to me much," he explained.
Opitz said that one of the things that he really like about fashion photography is the fact that he can meet not only fashion designers but other photographers as well during shows.
"Somehow it is fascinating how all of you can take the picture of only one thing but there's so many takes of it and you could all compare with one another," he said.
He said that in the years that he has been taking pictures of fashion shows, one of the best things he got was the chance to meet the best fashion designers in Mindanao. He said that some of his favorite designers include Ann Semblante and Benjie Manuel.
"I guess, in photography, all I can say is that you go to where you want to shoot and then keep shooting. Never stop," he said. (AV)
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 15, 2017.