Here’s another set of portrait shots taken on the streets of Manila.
These two women were shopkeepers running small local stores on Wilson Street. At the time I didn’t notice the third lady in the background who was greatly amused by it all. It was only later when looking at the picture onscreen that I noticed her and was able to brighten up that part of the image.
This is probably one of my favourite photographs from Manila. The family ran this little stall at the end of our street. The menu largely consisted of every conceivable part of a chicken but I generally stuck to the pork. The grill is just off to the left where his wife is grilling my pork skewers. The glare from that fluorescent light in the background was a challenge when processing this picture and from time to time I still work on it to fine tune it some more. The nicest part of this picture is the little guy on the right. He was a shy kid and when we smiled at him he would often hide behind his mum or dad. I didn’t notice the big smile at the time and only saw it when I opened the picture in Lightroom later.
Continuing with the theme of street portraits from yesterday’s post, here is a second set of pictures taken on the streets of Manila.
The junction of Taft Avenue and EDSA is a busy spot even by Manila standards and the streets are lined with small sh0ps and stallholders selling everything you can imagine. This guy sold bananas. Nothing else; just bananas. I bought a few from time to time as an energy booster. I assume once his stock for the day was sold he went home.
I had to relearn photography when I lived in Manila. My practice over the years on the streets was to linger discreetly and look for opportunities for candid shots. Often, I ignored the people and focused instead on the design, architecture and infrastructure of the city.
None of this was possible in Manila. With my pasty white Irish skin and ginger hair blending in wasn’t an option, and in a densely packed city of 13 million people candid shots were a challenge. Of course one of the reasons for trying to be unobtrusive and take candid shots is that people often don’t like having their picture taken. In Manila, many of the people I met were delighted to be photographed, thanking me for taking the picture before I had opportunity to thank them for letting me.
Manila American Cemetery is the largest American battle monument from World War II. There are more than 17,000 graves and the names of a further 36,000 missing in action are inscribed on the memorial. Despite its brutal origins the cemetery is one of the most peaceful places in the city stretching across over 150 acres of immaculately maintained land.
Harrison Street is named for Francis Burton Harrison, former Governor General of the Philippines when it was an American colony and advisor to four of the country’s presidents following Independence. Harrison Street was home for a year when I lived in the Philippines and I walked it many times. It was once known as Calle Real – Royal Street – during the Spanish period but these days it is a typically slow moving, busy and congested Manila street. I say Manila, but the street starts at the edge of Manila City and the greater part runs through Pasay before briefly entering Paranaque where it becomes Quirino Avenue.
I had heard of the Paranaque Fish Port and market and seen photographs of it but never made it there myself until the 2016 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk when this was the venue for one of a dozen or more photowalks around Metro Manila. Local street photographer Joel Mataro was leading this one and he invited me to join. So at 6AM a group of around forty photographers descended on the good people of Paranaque.
I read today that the Taal volcano in the Philippines has started spewing ash. The authorities evacuated 8,000 people fearing an eruption. There are also fears of a tsunami because the volcano is in the middle of a lake. I visited Taal a few years ago when I lived in the Philippines. It’s not far from Manila – about a ninety minute drive – and the area is popular with visitors from the capital. Getting to the volcano requires a trip on a boat across the lake, then a walk or a horse ride to the rim, where there are views into the crater. A lake has formed in the crater since the last eruption which explains the huge cloud of steam hanging in the sky from this most recent activity. Here are a few of pictures I took at the time. The first is of our boat trip across the lake to get to the volcano. It was a small boat, the water was choppy, the wind was blowing and we got very, very wet, but we dried off quickly. In the second you can see Binintiang Malaki, formed after a previous eruption, and often mistaken for Taal. The third is taken from the rim looking in to the crater. Sadly, all of this is now gone following the eruption with the lake evaporated, the greenery blown away and the island coated in volcanic ash.