In Awe

It surpassed all of my expectations.

For one thing, I had never before seen any of my digital shots printed on photo paper, or even on any ordinary paper. I always only looked at them in my laptop. Last week when I finally saw them printed on 20 x 30s and 16 x 24s metallic paper by Studio 58, I was stunned. I couldn’t help but stare at them for a long time and smile. I found them so beautiful and artistic. It was probably the first time I actually felt that I could be a real, serious photographer.

Behn, BenCab, me and Willie

The night before the exhibit, The Renaissance Gallery had drawn curtains covering its display glass walls since we were still hanging the pictures for exhibition. There were people passing by–people who came from Araceli Dans’ opening night a few steps away. The white curtain mostly kept them away except for a few people. One woman took a peek inside, liked what she saw and on the spot reserved the Baguio Sunflowers photograph. I was of course delighted. It was definitely a good sign. A few minutes later, BenCab, the renowned painter from Baguio came in with his friend Annie and Willie Nepomuceno, Behn Cervantes and surveyed the few photos hanging on the walls. He pointed out what he liked while we chatted about Baguio. He then took out his camera and had Annie take shots of the group. It was great being visited by artists I admire.

Eddieboy, myself and Lydia and Maruja, my sis-in-law at the back.

On December 8 the next day, even before we had cut the ribbons to formally open the exhibit, people started coming in and 5 pictures were immediately bought. By 6:30, my guest of honor Eddieboy Escudero, a close friend and wedding photographer whom I learned a lot from finally arrived. There were lots of people milling around already. We promptly cut the ribbon and soon after, throngs of more people filled the Renaissance gallery. As the exhibitor, I was of course the second center of attraction next to the photographs, thank God! (If it were the other way around, I would have been devastated). Everyone seemed to want to talk to me, to comment on how much they liked certain pictures (or ALL of them!), to congratulate me or to ask me particulars about the photos. I was floating on air.

It was a great night of being with friends, relatives, patrons, some old students as they had cocktails, food, and engaged in some art talk. John Santos, Lucy and Richard Gomez, fellow APO’s Danny and Boboy, Agot and Manu Sandejas, ace songwriter Trina Belamide and her folks were there. Soon, the crews of GMA 7 and RPN 9 arrived to interview me for their respective channels’ news. As for me, it was a wonderful night of just basking in the glory of being congratulated for pictures that apparently touched the visitors. It touched them so much they bought 21 photos before the end of the evening.

I was glad I trusted my instincts. I wanted this exhibit and I wanted it in a gallery. But even while I was already committed to exhibiting weeks before, I caught myself easily swinging from being sure one moment, and being so scared to even think of how I was going to do it. One day I would be so confident of my pictures, the next I would be struggling with myself on why I was so ‘deluded’ into doing something like this. How dare me! It was definitely my blocks showing up and pulling me back to my comfort zone and preventing me from growing. “Just do it”, I kept telling myself. If I could not believe in my own work, how could I convince anyone else? It was my moment of truth. And I am so glad I did it

I have the gallery till the 15th. Do drop by. I will be posting more pics as I get them from friends. You see, I was not able to bring my camera since I understably did not feel like shooting! heh heh.

This may be my last post for about a week unless I have internet access in Doha, Qatar. APO is off again to another exotic place for a three night gig with Bituin Escalante, and Kyla and our wonderful live band.

Unless you really have to go, you may want to think it over before applying for a visa. Believe it or not, their new regulations are quite stringent and even bizarre. To get the visa we needed, we all had to undergo a complete medical check up which included submitting stool, urine samples and going through ECG, x-ray, blood test, physical exams, eye check and even a dental look over.

But watch out Doha! We will be there to rock you!

I will be back with great stories to tell!