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Updated: Feb 28

"A person only need to step outside to find themselves in wonderland." -Daido Moriyama

In every minute of our daily lives, we move.  We move when traveling, we move while working.  We move when dancing, we move when playing. We move when we are awake, we even move while we are asleep.

This February 24, 2024 marks the first photography exhibit at the Making Space The Gallery entitled “Still not still” by 4 CAFA boys from different creative fields sharing photos from their collection that captures movement in different forms.

Former classmates from USC’s College of Architecture and Fine Arts (CAFA, now known as SAFAD), Percy Mansueto, Cyril Villarante, Dexter Duran, and Misterjude curated photos from their individual archives and will present their collection that captures movement and emotion from various subjects and different fields of interest.

We held up the guys with an instant, lightning round of questions. Read on to get to know our guys better and learn more about their photos and process.

How did you curate your photos?

CYRIL: To curate my photos, I needed to swim through a random assortment of old photos. Categorize them and choose the photos that would go along with the show’s theme. There were tons of photos in my hard drive making it extra hard to select the ones that would fit. Initially, the plan was to have an entire set of sports photos but eventually, I decided to go random.

PERCI: Since my photos are mostly music photography I want to make an impact on the audience when they look at it, to make a story, to make them feel the passion shown by the subject and to make them experience that the audience is present/there in the photograph.

DEXTER: I chose the photos that fit our theme for the show, which is movement. I wanted to show my photos that exemplified capturing the movement and frenetic energy of the subject while also being visually interesting.

JUDE: As most of my fellow exhibitors focus on documentary photography, I feel like the outlier. To blend in, we've chosen "motion" as our theme, pushing me into uncharted territory. This prompted me to revisit my work from the past 18 years, including my film archives, in search of images capturing motion.

One of the pieces I selected is a panoramic shot of Archbishop Reyes Street, taken 13 years ago on film. This image, from my early photography days, reflects not only my growth but also the city's development over time. It symbolizes the journey and progress we've both made. 

Another print features an underwater shot of Alexa, taken before our freediving adventures. It showcases her initial struggles in contrast to her current abilities, mirroring my own challenges within the creative industry—imposter syndrome, feelings of incompetence, and feeling like an outsider. These struggles persist, but the support of a good community has made them more manageable.

The final print is a playful image that explores life's mysteries. At first glance, it's unclear whether the subject is moving through the frame or if it's a shadow. This ambiguity reflects life's complexity, reminding us that things aren't always as they appear.

What was your state of mind then, when you took those, and now? 

CYRIL: I work as a freelance photographer and most of the gigs I get are sports and music related. I enjoy both. So it was nothing but pure bliss and excitement when i took those pictures. From the first click of the camera to the last. Scanning through my photos now and seeing a few interesting shots, I can say that it was all worth the shutter count kill. 

PERCI: My mind is open. I am aware. By being present and patient, I take it as an opportunity, being there in the field. I think, because we don’t know what will happen, I’m always ready to beat down the shutter button. Whatever happens.

DEXTER: When I started taking photos during gigs, I started mainly for own personal documentation. Also because I am heavily influenced by Estevan Oriol, Glen E. Friedman and Edward Colver, photography and music always seemed to naturally intersect for me at least. The gritty sense of coolness always attracted me and capturing it through the lens of my camera is what draws me time and time again.

JUDE: As a commercial photographer, my day-to-day involves capturing images that often feel superficial. That's why, in my personal time, I photograph everything around me, seeking to capture life's essence beyond work. Whenever I snap a photo, it's driven by an instinctive urge to preserve the moment, without any specific goal in mind. It's only when I revisit these photos months later that they stir emotions in me—joy, sadness, regret, and more. These images serve as a reminder that there's depth to our lives, showing that photography is more than just immediate gratification; it's a way to connect with our humanity.

What’s next for your photography?

CYRIL: Lately, I have been fascinated in making videos. Stuck in it like a mouse in a sticky pad. This new obsession made me brush my photography aside. But honestly, during the night that we planned out “Still Not Still”, I felt that there is a rekindling of passion. Made me instantly want to pick up my old beat up DSLR and take random photos. Photos that would eventually go inside a folder in one of my hard drives. Unedited. Left to rot.

PERCI: Like any form of art, it is always evolving and growing, the learning is endless and I’m willing to learn. Hopefully I get to work with other creatives and to experience, to push myself and work on things I haven’t done before.DEXTER: Honestly, I have never actively pursued some sort of direction for my photography. But if I did, I probably need a better camera. For me right now, photography seems to be another avenue for me to creatively express myself, an abrupt collaboration between me, my camera, the band and the crowd.

JUDE: I'm still committed to commercial work and plan to dive deeper into it. Lately, I've been experimenting with various cameras, particularly enjoying the unique touch of film. My goal is to explore visual arts more deeply through photography, focusing on a particular print technique. Wish me luck!

"Still not still" is also an exhibition of photographs that show artists and their relentless hunger and pursuit of creativity, never waning and never stopping. As Dexter said, “We never was, we never cared, we are still not still”. Thank you gentlemen of CAFA for sharing your photos with us.

“Still not still” launched at the Gallery of Cebu Making Space this Saturday, Feb 24, 2024 and will run until mid-march.

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