IPA Interviews with Winning Photographers

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“Photojournalism is not about being a male of a female, it is about how you give justice to your subject and at the end of the day a good photo submitted to your newsdesk.”

www.joanbondoc.com

Interview with

Joan Bondoc

Photojournalist

How did you become a photographer?

Twenty-three years ago, when I first entered the field of news as woman photojournalist, it was man’s world, I could still remember Mr. Ezekiel Tee, one of the great senior photographers of the industry asking me why I chose to saddle up my camera bag and venture this profession, many of my male colleagues would often push me over testing how far I could and would go to push the boundaries of art and good journalism, I would rush myself to comfort room with tears rushing down my face as I contemplated upon whether or not I was built and cut out for this industry. I was at my breaking point when one of my dearest friends and greatest colleagues told me to hold my ground and continue my battle and look at where I am now, I was assigned to cover the insurgency of the New Peoples Army, calamities unlike anything I’ve seen before of which are the earthquakes in Nueva Ecija and Baguio City, countless anti-government rallies that always seemed to halt with an abrupt dispersal, the oh so tiring police beat, senate, congress, and Malacañang shoot, and many more to tell. I’ve gained the respect of most if not all of my male counterparts, And I will continue to break through prejudice and stereotypes for as long as I hold this camera, within this men dominated the world a woman chose to set her mark.

How do you see Philippine photography as a whole in terms of using it as a language?

I believe that Photography conveys a message beyond what is explained, to a Photojournalist a Master craft may touch you in so many ways, it can make you smile, laugh, can tug on your heartstrings or sometimes even provoke anger.

I think a big part of Photography is not just to show but to let you feel, and to bring you to that very same spot where that photo was taken. It takes you to the different corners of the community, the different lifestyle. It takes you to the city street, the mountains to the palace. Each image that you capture turns into a soul, each with its own story to tell. As a Photojournalist, I promised to share this message with as many audience and readers.

What makes the woman photographer different in terms of the manner of presentation of a subject/object/content in photography as compared to a male photographer? Is there really a difference? What makes a photograph relevant?

Gender has no name in this industry, each news will tell it’s story, your composition will define the gravity of how you tell your story. For me, as soon as I get the assignment I have to get a good brief of the story, my subject and it’s issues. I have been assigned to a lot of different beats already, and never has gender had it’s advantage, not because you are the only female within the group, the men will be kind to you, they will brawl with you and you have to brawl back. Photojournalism is not about being a male of a female, it is about how you give justice to your subject and at the end of the day a good photo submitted to your newsdesk.

You should always be ready to face the day, and each day has it’s own adventure, there are days you need to climb a tree, run fast , slide or glide through. You will do everything to capture that moment, working for a newspaper is very challenging. Like any soldier, you cannot go to war without knowing what lens to use, remember to keep a sharp mind, there will always be a possibility of something happening with your subject.

But it is not always like that, there will always be the lifestyle, travel or documentary assignments. There are so many stories to tell, those cancer patients and their stories of finding strength, the rebels and the fight to freedom, the survivors and their stories of hope, even the behind the scenes of your most glamorous shows. Sometimes, assignments like these gives me more time to immerse myself on the real feelings of my subject. At the end of the day, even if I go home tired and dirty. I smile to myself because I was able to partake with my subject.

What do you think the government should do so young generations will have a more critical way of understanding photography as a language?

The youth today are more critical than we think, the photos they see, the exhibits, the social media, everything is within their reach, it has an impact on them more than we are aware. They have the vision, the objectivity and the reasoning on what is happening around them. History will call for change.

How did you become a photographer?

Twenty-three years ago, when I first entered the field of news as woman photojournalist, it was man’s world, I could still remember Mr. Ezekiel Tee, one of the great senior photographers of the industry asking me why I chose to saddle up my camera bag and venture this profession, many of my male colleagues would often push me over testing how far I could and would go to push the boundaries of art and good journalism, I would rush myself to comfort room with tears rushing down my face as I contemplated upon whether or not I was built and cut out for this industry. I was at my breaking point when one of my dearest friends and greatest colleagues told me to hold my ground and continue my battle and look at where I am now, I was assigned to cover the insurgency of the New Peoples Army, calamities unlike anything I’ve seen before of which are the earthquakes in Nueva Ecija and Baguio City, countless anti-government rallies that always seemed to halt with an abrupt dispersal, the oh so tiring police beat, senate, congress, and Malacañang shoot, and many more to tell. I’ve gained the respect of most if not all of my male counterparts, And I will continue to break through prejudice and stereotypes for as long as I hold this camera, within this men dominated the world a woman chose to set her mark.

How do you see Philippine photography as a whole in terms of using it as a language?

I believe that Photography conveys a message beyond what is explained, to a Photojournalist a Master craft may touch you in so many ways, it can make you smile, laugh, can tug on your heartstrings or sometimes even provoke anger.

I think a big part of Photography is not just to show but to let you feel, and to bring you to that very same spot where that photo was taken. It takes you to the different corners of the community, the different lifestyle. It takes you to the city street, the mountains to the palace. Each image that you capture turns into a soul, each with its own story to tell. As a Photojournalist, I promised to share this message with as many audience and readers.

What makes the woman photographer different in terms of the manner of presentation of a subject/object/content in photography as compared to a male photographer? Is there really a difference? What makes a photograph relevant?

Gender has no name in this industry, each news will tell it’s story, your composition will define the gravity of how you tell your story. For me, as soon as I get the assignment I have to get a good brief of the story, my subject and it’s issues. I have been assigned to a lot of different beats already, and never has gender had it’s advantage, not because you are the only female within the group, the men will be kind to you, they will brawl with you and you have to brawl back. Photojournalism is not about being a male of a female, it is about how you give justice to your subject and at the end of the day a good photo submitted to your newsdesk.

You should always be ready to face the day, and each day has it’s own adventure, there are days you need to climb a tree, run fast , slide or glide through. You will do everything to capture that moment, working for a newspaper is very challenging. Like any soldier, you cannot go to war without knowing what lens to use, remember to keep a sharp mind, there will always be a possibility of something happening with your subject.

But it is not always like that, there will always be the lifestyle, travel or documentary assignments. There are so many stories to tell, those cancer patients and their stories of finding strength, the rebels and the fight to freedom, the survivors and their stories of hope, even the behind the scenes of your most glamorous shows. Sometimes, assignments like these gives me more time to immerse myself on the real feelings of my subject. At the end of the day, even if I go home tired and dirty. I smile to myself because I was able to partake with my subject.

What do you think the government should do so young generations will have a more critical way of understanding photography as a language?

The youth today are more critical than we think, the photos they see, the exhibits, the social media, everything is within their reach, it has an impact on them more than we are aware. They have the vision, the objectivity and the reasoning on what is happening around them. History will call for change.