dave martinez photography » Official website of Dave Martinez Photography, Photographer based in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

A Slice of Life in Manila

A slice of life in Manila… the energy of life in the capital is like clockwork, there is that spontaneity of movement and chaotic chorus of urban life. I love to shoot in places like this. There is that constant kinetics that makes it a haven for photographers who try catch and freeze a moment into a photograph.

The aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda has juggled around a lot of lives, including me. I tried to find my version of “peace and quiet”, but I didn’t expect that I will end up somehow finding it (did I?) in the metropolis. Yes I know it is noisy in the literal way, but in the midst of the hustle and bustle, it is where you can clear up your senses, outside looking in, meditate and focus. I turn and try hard to embrace it somehow, not fully knowing what to expect, but it is what it is now… life has to move along. A slice of life, indeed.

My photographic (mis)adventures continue… surviving after the great storm has re-aligned my direction and priorities, it used to be that I had to go out and shoot recklessly. Back then I was careless, and dared to shoot 9 frames-per-second without knowing when to release the finger from the shutter haha! Now, it’s quite a twist. My first encounter with the rangefinder camera back on November 2012 was the biggest stepping stone (yet). It was almost exactly a year before Typhoon Yolanda that struck on November 2013. God must have been guiding and preparing me all along (and I believe He does!). Having been shooting with it for a while, I believe there is no other camera (yet) that has given me the most fulfilling photographic experience. The rangefinder experience has taught me some important lessons – slowly but surely over fast&furious, quality over quantity and passion over pride. It seemed challenging at first when you have shot a lot of weddings, events and studio portraits. You were used to have many tools of the trade at your disposal, and most of the time, have “control” of the variables – especially in terms of controlling light. On the streets with a rangefinder camera, it’s quite different. You have to look for the shot, and in a way, earn it. The street and the world becomes your canvas, your subject. That’s why street photography has been the favorite of many rangefinder photographers. On the other hand, it does not mean I don’t shoot any other thing in this world anymore other than what I find fulfilling with a rangefinder. I still love to shoot with a mixed bag! I still shoot with my DSLRs and the mirrorless cameras, each has its own place and specific use. I use them accordingly. I still love to shoot other types of photography – landscapes, portraits, weddings, events, travel, product, macro, you name it… jack of all trade, master of none! Hahaha, enough of this! Back to the slice of life…

I seem to be most agile when I am free to move and don’t know what to expect. I love being out there in the streets, without scripts, without those intricate setups — just me and my rangefinder, and the world. A wanderer? or… finding your peace amidst the noise and chaos? My photography slowly (but quickly) changed when I stubbornly kept on shooting with the rangefinder all these years. Somehow and somewhere, it slowed me down, anticipate, think and not just “take” the shot, but try to “make” the shot. For better or for worse? Carpe diem!


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Photographer’s note: Leica M Monochrom, Leica Summilux-M 50mm 1.4 ASPH


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