By Macel Feliciano
Amazingly crisp and clear images of heavenly bodies and city lights twinkle in the social media photo gallery of UAE-based Mark Jereos.
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Landscape, street photography, and photojournalism are Mark’s fields of specialty. “For landscape, I like my photos to stand out from the usual. I like doing composites or manipulation to make the image extraordinary. The subject is already there and there’s no need to give instructions to your subject. The only thing I need to do is show it in a different angle that others haven’t managed to see.”
If he wants to give his viewers a new visual experience of an otherwise old and ordinary scene, in street photography or in photojournalism, he wants to capture unique moments at precisely the right time. “I like to show the reality of life and show how people live. I want to make moments more meaningful and memorable. The challenging part in this field is taking the photo of your subject in a different perspective but at the right moment.”
Mark has been fascinated with photography from a very young age. He would look at exhibits, magazines, and even social media just to gaze at the wonderful images of other photographers. It was only the desire to capture and immortalize the wonders of God’s creation during trips with friends from an outdoor group that he decided to take up photography. The more he took photos, the more he craved to learn more and explore where photography can lead him.
He learned the basics through online tutorials and actively joined discussions in photography forums. It was through other enthusiasts that he was able to deepen his grasp of photography. Still, he knew he wanted more. “At first, it was just a hobby but later on it became a passion. I invested in workshops to gain even more knowledge. I started contributing images to different newspapers and magazines. I then joined different contests to challenge myself and see how far I have improved.”
Mark was previously a member of Nayon Photographers Club, one of the pioneer clubs of the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation (FPPF). That is where he honed his skills and started to have a taste for joining contests to keep abreast of the latest techniques and learn from others.
“Here in the United Arab Emirates, I usually join outdoor events of different groups to be able to practice photography and meet new friends. But I usually shoot alone,” he shares.
The basic principle that Mark adheres to is learning and mastering the rules of photography, apply them well, but learn when to bend or even break them. He believes that one’s equipment is important, but what makes the difference is the skill of the photographer and his eye for beauty.
He imparts these tips culled from experience to those just starting out: “Get inspired by other photographers’ works but develop your own style so you could stand out. Before I take the shot, I visualize how I want my photo to look and anticipate what could happen, then adjust immediately if need be. Don’t be afraid to experiment.”
Mark is not selfish in sharing what knowledge he has accumulated through the years because he wants to give back what he has been given. “My ultimate goal as a visual artist is to be able to contribute to our society through photography and to share to others what I have learned. I’ve always believed that whatever talent God has given you, you must develop and share with others.”
Photography is a personal expression of what Mark wants to reveal about himself and the world he lives in. “It has also been an avenue to recreate what I have in mind. Photography has been a stress-reliever for me whenever I need to take a break or when I feel alone here in the UAE.”
For Mark, the best thing about being a photographer is the miracle of sharing the amazement he first felt when faced with the awesomeness of God apparent in His creation. “Through my images, I can manifest the feeling of appreciation I first have when I see the beauty of God’s creation. It gives me pleasure when I share to family and friends the joy I felt in taking wonderful pictures through the years.”