Monochrome people-A A +A
Monday, August 19, 2013
IT'S BEEN said that nothing is original anymore in this day and age. A case in point is Monochrome Magic, a Facebook group of Cebu photographers dedicated to black-and-white photography. Before they could utter the word, eureka, they found out that the name and concept already existed in Facebook, Flickr and Pinterest.
But there’s no turning back. After all, the allure of monochrome photography is universally irresistible. Monochrome photos are stunning, enigmatic and challenging to create. For distinction purposes, they renamed the group as Monochrome Magick (or MM, for short).
MM became an instant hit. Firstly, because Facebook is where the action is. And secondly, posting photos in FB is fast, easy and free. In the past, one had to spend for film, processing and printing; and had to exert an effort to physically get together among friends to present and discuss one’s photo output.
From a handful of members at the start of summer 2013, its roster grew steadily by the week. Owing to its welcoming posture, MM readily became a melting pot of Cebu photographers. New enthusiasts blended with veteran practitioners. Commercial photographers fraternized with those from the print media, the academe and from the traditional camera clubs. A sprinkling of women have joined ranks with the predominantly male roster of monochrome magicians.
It’s a pleasant surprise to note that MM members displayed impeccable manners in a social network where many netizens showcased uncouth behavior. Honorific titles such as sir, master and guru are commonly used. Of course, the usual exchange of mischievous banter is ever present but nothing of the aggressive or offensive kind.
At the helm of Monochrome Magick is Gerard Pareja, known in FB circle as Klicko Orange. Like the legendary Pied Piper who lured children to follow him because of his enchanting music, Klicko found ready accomplices in the persons of James Morrell, Boy Toting, Jr. and Charles Gacasan, aka Teo Phylus to man the fort. The fab four are nicknamed the Caltex Cowboys, in reference to their favorite hangout in a gas station in Gen. Maxilom Avenue that housed a Seven-Eleven outlet.
These self-styled men of leisure possessed and enjoyed the luxury of time. In the din of noise inside Seven-Eleven, they mapped out their dreams and schemes for MM. To spice things up, they came up with a photo contest on rain as its theme. They conceived, and successfully staged two photo exhibits. The first one was held in June 2013 at Chillage, a new watering hole and the second in Qube Gallery in Persimmon by July 2013 where many got to meet each other face-to-face for the first time and the common bond obviously strengthened.
There being a good number of avid worshippers at the temple of Eros among MM members, Klicko O created a spin-off FB group that featured the female form in provocative poses. But it had a brief, albeit searing shelf life because of Facebook’s policy on racy content. Another spin-off group on beautiful people, male and female have meet no censorship problem.
While portraiture in its various guises may command the most attention, MM members have shown equal enthusiasm for street photography, travel, architecture and even animal photography. In fact, it is in these genres that the most exciting photos have been posted.
Invariably, a photo group will be ultimately judged by the quality of the photographs being churned out by its members. Taking note of this, Klicko O has devised a grading system that ask its members to rate a posted photo as gold, silver or bronze. This early, a passable number of photos have demonstrated top-level excellence that may qualify them to appear in a medium-range plan to come up with a monograph, a goal that speaks of the importance of having MM photographs in book form, either hard-bound or in paperback.
Farther down the road, it may take some time to finalize the arduous task of separating the men from the boys, the artists from the craftsmen, the professionals from the dilettante, the originals from the pretenders.
Or maybe such sorting ritual is unnecessary. After all, it spoils the essence of play that is at the very core of creating monochrome magic. (Roberto Pableo Lim)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 20, 2013.