Photographer of the Week: Michael Benzon Lim
By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
With the current situation where people are forced to step back from their busy lives, there is room for introspection. This is the mood that Michael Benzon Lim portrays in his photographs that feature calming reflections using the serene side of water. A professional in a fast-paced construction industry, his photography is his personal sanctuary.
“My friends were already into photography back in our college days, but I only had the courage to buy my own camera in 2014,” he muses on his lost opportunities of access to buildings and roof decks.
The electronics engineering graduate from the De La Salle University Manila is making up for lost time, though, even planning trips for the purpose of his photography. “One of my most memorable experiences was when I went with two of my friends in Japan. We went to a location by riding a train for 1.5 hours. Under the scorching hot sun, we walked to the location only to find out that it was not the season of the subject we went there for. Disappointed, we went back to the hotel and planned our next trip there which was a year after that.”
Perhaps owing to his profession, he is amazed with landscapes and cityscapes. “During my first years in photography, I would try all genres but I would still end up with landscape. There is something in seeing nature that calms me. This is especially true after so many hours of work. When I take my photographs, I personally need to take a step back, look around, calm myself before taking my camera out of the bag. I always wanted to see first and appreciate what’s in front of me.” It is important for him to feel grounded and centered before he starts working the lens. “I already tried taking images in between stressful moments and nothing good comes out of it.”
In the course of his photography journey, he has started to realize certain preferences. “Lately, I’ve been attracted to black and white. But basically, I prefer to shoot more with water in my images. There’s something in reflections that captivates me. I have also bought my first film camera. There is something in film that I find hard to replicate in digital. I think it’s the ‘feel’ the film delivers.”
Despite his very busy schedule with work on their family businesses – Econlite Manufacturing Philippines Corporation and Rockford Marketing Corporation, he has tried joining photo organizations. Through these, he has already received recognition for his talents. “I just received two silver awards in the 2020 Epson Pano Awards. Actually, this was my first time joining photo competitions. I have also been included in some photography exhibits including ‘Un:Plugged and Beyond Borders’ last 2019 and ‘The Inner Landscape’ which was held last 2017,” he says.
That said, he adds that he has some ways to go compared to his inspirations such as Raymond Cruz and Red Ognita. “To me personally, I don’t think I have accomplished anything as a photographer, I see it as a journey where you try to capture moments, may it be a place or whatsoever, and try to show people the way I see it. That, for me would be an accomplishment.”