Sunday, July 15, 2007

Inspiration from Frank Hoefsmit

Several years ago, I took photography classes at The Alcove: Portraiture, Figure Lighting (nudes) and Black and White Film Photography and Developing. I worked with both film and digital, but fell in love with film more. During that time, I was trying to make sense of the loneliness and the invalidation in my life. It seems poetic now, but it was an act of desperation then. I needed to be passionate about something... anything. And I seemed to have discovered it in photography and film developing. But as love affairs go, my love (for photography) was met with foolish notions and a lot of insecurities. I felt inadequate next to the geeks with the fancy digicams and their $3,000 lenses. As I balanced never-ending working weekends, or weekends doing nothing but chores or family obligations, I was envious with the people who actually had the time to pursue their passions. So in time, my love for photography died like a teen summer infatuation. But the desire for validation and soul expansion lived on.

Last thursday, I got a text from Frank. One of those marketing textblasts for an upcoming Photo Exhibit. It was held at the Piedra Bar at the Fort and was a brand-sponsored party by San Miguel along with two other fashion photographers whose names escape me right now. Anyway, though Frank had his fashion stuff being flashed onscreen, he also had his "Silence" collection on the walls of the bar. "Silence" is a series of abstract photography artwork that was part of his early works. When I say early, I mean his 2005 collection. I'm not sure what to make of abstract work, because despite of my being illogical at times, surrealism confuses me. There is one photo I liked though. It was a pink picture of a tree with digitally streaked lines. And I don't even know why I liked it (see, abstract actually requires more thought! ha ha). Okay, maybe I just liked pink.

Anyway, what's the significance of Frank and his work in all of my ramblings? I guess the point is, he was my classmate. We tinkered with cameras at the same time, made the same mistakes, felt our way through photography and fell in love with it along the way. But his love affair went on a different path from mine. He's now got photography exhibits as well as a newfound reputation as a hot fashion photographer. Me? All I got was 3rd place for one photo competition (architecture) and a lot of regrets for never finding the time nor the resources to pursue it. Romance cannot survive without finance, so my romantic inclinations with the camera had to die.

Frank is a Belgian expat who has his own software business here and services a lot of international clients. When I met him that night, in the middle of hugs and pointing out his cute significant other, he told me he plans to sell the company and pursue photography full time. I pondered over the pay cut he must be willing to face considering photographers in Manila (with the exception of advertising photographers) are grossly underpaid. But he looked good. He grinned the whole night, obviously in love --with someone and the life he's leading. He looked happy with the choices he's made to get where he is. And I thought, how inspiring! Life should be like that. To be lived with the pursuit of passion. I feel so happy for him, and I beamed with pride by saying "Frank Hoefsmit? I know the guy. He was my classmate!"

For more of his works, please visit
Frank's website!

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