By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
As a marketing and communications professional who has been with the hotel industry for the past 11 years, Michael Anthony Sagaran is no stranger to finding the right angles in order to craft an image of a hospitality brand. He is constantly looking for fresh and new ideas to present the property that he handles in a new light.
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This skill translates to his passion for photography, where he strives to display his subjects in a way that is different from the rest. “I’m into figuring out what are fresh angles I can take that most photographers don’t usually or normally see. For me, it’s about always looking for the best angle that you will effectively communicate the beauty of the subject,” he says.
Michael has built a career in his chosen profession with several hotel brands – City Garden Hotels, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Novotel Manila Araneta Center, and now at Taal Vista Hotel as head of marketing communications department. “I am lucky that I was able to continue practicing photography, as one of my interests, right after college where I majored in advertising arts at the University of Santo Tomas. I am able to constantly practice, evolve, and hone it up to the present,” he shares.
The landscape and nature photographer in him is also happy that the property where he now works has an amazing view of the Taal Volcano and the lake, and his location in beautiful Tagaytay offers more opportunities to be in touch with nature. “I have always been fascinated in the beauty of nature, life, and what makes it all connected. I love capturing the beauty of it in my own perspective, translating and sharing the beauty of what surrounds us through photography or visual art to sort of satisfy my soul, knowing that in my little own way I can inspire the viewers to have a positive outlook in life.”
For him, art imitates life. “With regard to my personal style or preference and mood, I like stark contrasts of light and shadows, photos that are very rich in texture, sort of dramatically portrayed treatment with thought-provoking subjects – similar to the Impressionism style of art–Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, and the like.”
The hotelier has tried his hand at commercial photography at one point, setting up his own studio, but found the lure of the hospitality industry too strong to resist. His portfolio of commercial work came from clients referred by friends mostly with other hotel properties. He’s done work for San Miguel Corp., Florsheim Philippines, Sofitel, and Dusit.
“My goal is to continuously grow and evolve in photography which I don’t think I can ultimately master—for visual communication is an ever-changing process and it’s too big for me to master as a singular individual,” he explains.
He reads in his spare time and has amassed quite a collection of autobiographies and inspirational books. This has an effect on how he wields his lens.
“For me, I find the best part of photography is being able to express my creative urge. Aside from being a form of relaxation, I make it my way to contribute to society through sharing images that inspire and uplift. My basic and most important principle as a lensman is about always finding the beauty in any subject, even in life and its many circumstances.”