THE pandemic must have closed several doors since 2020, but this photographer has managed to find a huge window of opportunity instead.

Jay Posadas Cuyones, a former OFW, never allowed life’s humongous challenges to overpower his passion and determination to succeed. After investing in something he didn’t expect to fail, he made sure that he would rise again.

The 30-year-old husband and father thought of pouring whatever resources left with him into anything that would help him and his family get by.

Armed with his expertise in photography, he maximized this gift. However, the government-imposed limitations on gatherings affected his income. He couldn’t allow it to continue, though, especially that he has a family to support. Thus, he set up Akel, a restaurant that serves authentic Arabian cuisine. According to him, this was a “desperate decision” since they already used up their savings.

“Events were not allowed. With what happened, we tried to start a small food business in our house, together with my high school friend who also came from Saudi. With my experience in advertising, photography, and his cooking skills, everything went on track and we decided not to go back abroad anymore,” he said.

Despite having this new venture, Jay’s desire to keep photography as a regular gig didn’t falter. He then beefed up the operation of Retrato Dream Concept Studio. He shared that photography “is a very versatile skill and it has a good rate in the market as well.” Hence, it’s something that he truly enjoys.

“Since high school days, whatever device that can take a photo was my best friend,” he said, adding that every photo he took then made him proud.

When asked what makes fashion photography exciting, he was quick to quip that it’s “very dynamic,” with each project being different from the other -- from the subject to the concept and techniques.

Nevertheless, it comes with challenges, too.

“Everything must be in perfect sync. Model, concept, styling, light techniques and equipment. It is more technical than other forms of photography,” he said, while revealing that the lighting setup remains to be the most challenging part.

Davao del Norte’s world-class ensembles made from banana fiber, the Musa Fabric, is among Jay’s constant clients.

“One thing unique about Musa is it aims to stand out and prove that we are not just for the local market but also international. This is very similar in principle when it comes to fashion photography. It doesn’t matter if you’re local or international. The goal is always to stand out,” he said.

Joy Soo is at the helm of the brand, which is also a social enterprise as it helps the persons deprived of liberty in the province, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). With her being a visionary, Jay notes that this makes working with her a breeze. She doesn’t run out of brilliant ideas to give every project a better take than the previous one.

The competition could be stiff yet Jay knows that his dedication and level of passion makes him stand out.

“I may not be a fast learner but you can always count on me to arrive first and leave last. I don’t mind spending extra time or even resources just to achieve my satisfaction no matter how big or small the project is,” he said.

Kudos, Jay! Keep inspiring.


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