Saturday, December 05, 2009


The message below was sent to me by e-mail on December 18, 2007 by a certain Godfrey Ramon in regards to the picture you see on the right (you can click it to zoom in).

david the somnambulist,

sorry, i couldn't help but comment on this picture.

i don't know whether some directing was involved while this was shot, like in a movie set or pictorial where the boss tells everybody else where to position and what to do in sequence. whatever the case, i think the composition of this photo is just splendid.

looking at this picture, i remember staring in awe when i first saw up close the monumental spoliarium by juan luna (in case you haven't seen it, it's in the national museum). the subtle use of chiaroscuro assures the viewer of an infallible identification of the subject. the juxtaposition of action and inaction is not contrived -- even sporadic in some areas -- blurring the attention of the central subject against other objects. but the play of light and shadow will almost certainly lead the viewer to the subject, who is interestingly not even centrally located in the frame.

the monotony of color contrasts the busy traffic, as if to downplay the pervading mood of the night market. which brings our curiosity back to the subject. he doesn't seem to be stationary, but neither is he in full motion. somehow caught somewhere between a stride and a pose, he chose to become oblivious of his surroundings and manages to focus his presence directly on the viewer, piercing the darkness physically with the graduation of light. this makes him different. the subject radiates energy and force; discreetly commands attention; diaphanous against the suggested atmosphere of the night. it is a picture of certainty and ambivalence, of strength and vulnerability, of presence and transience.


I was impressed by the critique, and I appreciate that there are some people out there who actually give attention to the detail and effort I place into some of my works. By the way, there was no directing involved in this shot. If I am not in the picture, I am usually the one taking the photograph. And if I am in the picture, I usually provide the photographer with the angle to capture the desired mood and perspective. But apart from that, there is no mass directing, and I have no control whatsoever over the crowds in any of my pictures.

And also, in case you are wondering about it, here is Juan Luna's famous painting: The Spoliarium.

Re-visit the Subic Bay Christmas Festival and Night Market. You may need to register if you haven't done so already.


Anonymous said...

bading at center of 1st photo: nakatutok kay coconuter, lol

almich said...

a reader of my blog [] just informed me of you visit this month... wish well be given the opportunity to meet you. God Bless!

Coconuter said...

Yes, of course there will be opportunities. I advise those interested to register to the private blog, follow this blog and/or follow the twitter account, and stay tuned for location updates. Alternatively, you could also get in touch with me directly to see if a meeting can be planned/scheduled. Contact information is available in the private blog (

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