Personality profile: Knack for mobile photography
WHEN Glenn P. Magallano founded a community of phone photographers in Davao City, it was not to challenge the idea that a beautiful photo can only be captured using a professional camera. Rather, it was to find an outlet for his inner artist.
He likes to draw, dance, and sing but he admitted he is not very good at any of it. But in photography, he feels he is in a safe place.
“Hilig gyud ko mag picture-picture gyud. Unya ang problema, wala man koy camera. Ang naa sa akoa, cellphone lang man (I really like taking pictures but I don’t have a camera. I just use a mobile phone),” Magallano said.
He got his first mobile phone with an eight megapixel camera in 2014, from where he tried to achieve a magazine spread-worthy photo. Photo manipulation and his knack for graphic design became second nature to him.
“Ang problema nako ato, blurred kaayo or pixelated so photo art akong ginahimo. Gina-manipulate nako siya para dili mahalata ang blurred or pixelated nga part (My problem that time was the photos are either blurred or pixelated so I manipulated it to hide the blurry part),” he recounted.
As his interest in phone photography grew, he got involved in local and international groups of phone photography enthusiasts. He became the Davao ambassador of the Cebu-based Mobile Photography (MOPH). But it came to a point that he was frustrated when reaching out to other Dabawenyo members became a tedious task.
It prompted him, with the help of supportive friends, to form his own group, the Davao Phone Photography (DPP). Since its conception in 2017, it has gathered about 4,000 passionate phone photographers in Davao Region.
He observed that phone photographers are often downplayed and worse, bullied, in the photography industry merely for their gear. They rarely get qualified in photography contests or events like Kadayawan Festival or Pasko Fiesta celebrations.
“Didto nako naisip nga dako kaayo’g potential ang phones nga magamit sa photography. Diri ko mangusog. Hinay-hinayan nato og kuha ang stigma nga pag phone ang imong gamit, dili ka photographer (It was when I realized the potential of phones in photography so I decided to be aggressive on it to gradually erase the idea that you are not a photographer if you use your phone),” Magallano said which the group has done successfully so far.
They have been entrusted with projects like baby shoots or marketing shoots. They have conducted product photography workshops to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Kabalo ko nga ang struggle sa mga start-up sa businesses, wala na silay budget sa marketing. Ang idea namo is tudluan namo ang mga bag-o nagstart og negosyo on how to capture photos of their products using their phones kay halos tanan tao naa na may cellphones (Start-ups don’t have budget for marketing. The idea is to teach budding businessmen how to capture photos of their products using their phones since most of us these days have our own phones),” he said.
It was one of the group’s greatest achievement, he added, as it aligns to its eventual mission.
“Dapat naay higher cause ang group para mag-continue siya kay naobserve nako nga pag ang grupo para lang ma-practice, para mag improve ang mga members without contributing sa community, stagnant lang gyud siya. Wala syay growth (I observed that for a group to thrive and grow, they should also contribute to the community),” he said.
In sustaining the group in challenging times, he said, he returns to his purpose.
For Magallano, DPP has become an avenue for other phone photographers who shares his own artistic pursuits.
“At least, maka-inspire [ko] sa uban nga dili sila maulaw kung gusto nila mag photographer unya wala silay gear. Pwede man sila mugamit sa ilang phones lang sa. Pag naa na sila DSLR, at least, naa na sila sa ikatulo nga level. Dili sila magsugod from scratch (I want to inspire others to not be ashamed if they only have their phones to use in photography. They can use it to practice until they get their own professional camera if they wish to),” he said.
Whether talking about phone photography or not, he advised: “Dapat pangitaon lang gyud nila unsay makafulfill sa desire nila. Kung ang imong sarili satisfied sa imong ginahimo, you don’t need to please anyone man gud kay nasatisfy man nimo imong sarili (They only need to find what fulfills their desire. If you are satisfied with what you do, you don’t need to please anyone),” he added.
He said the road to every goal is never straight. It will never always go on as planned. People only need to be optimistic. It is a matter of perspective, he said.