Photographer of the Week: Judith Baldeo
By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
Photography means documenting not only an event or environment but also the mood in that particular moment in time. This is what Judith Baldeo keeps in mind when she takes her photographs of landscapes, street scenes, or portraits.
“For me it’s how you interpret what’s right in front of you. Photography has its ways of turning things magical, sad, hopeful, happy, even moody. Every person has their own unique way of photographing things,” shares Judith.
She describes her work as “raw.” “I don’t mean using raw files. What I mean is I emphasize the rawness or naturalness of the scene. That is more delightful to see and bring into your viewer because you get to share with them the exact thing you were able to experience when you took the photo.”
Judith, who was born and raised in San Juan, Metro Manila is an OFW in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and photography has opened her up to new experiences, by finding like-minded people pursuing the same passion. She is the co-admin of the photography group Shutter Hunters in Dubai and joins photo contests occasionally, for which she has gained recognition from different online photography groups such as Neutral Ground Reborn (NGR), Pictures from the Heart Photography, Universal Color Photos, Universal B&W Photos, and International Street Photography Group.
“I started on my own and I only learned about these groups around three years ago. I used to be a very introvert person, and my camera has created a gateway/portal for me to become an extrovert so I started to somehow mingle,” she explains.
Busy with work as a purchaser, she checks in as her schedule permits to NGR and has also had photos published in Dubai sites. Her pride in her work is personal, she adds. “Getting my photos printed and hung on a wall with my name and signature on it will be very interesting. Four of my photos have already been printed on canvas, but those are the ones were I took a photo of my friends’ prenups and travels and they seem very happy with them.”
She also makes time to do outreach work, by volunteer-teaching at a non-profit organization in Dubai every Friday. “It is a major accomplishment for me that I am able to impart a few of my skills and knowledge by teaching basic photo class to those who are very interested to learn the craft,” she adds happily.
Being around those who are learning the craft brings her back to the time when she was the newbie, inspired first by the wedding photography of her godmother’s brother, then by her own brother’s sunset photos.
“I used to borrow my brother’s equipment. I bought a digital camera when I was already in Dubai. At first, I only tried taking photos using point-and-shoot cameras, but I did not get the results I wanted. My very first DSLR was a Nikon D5100, a gift for myself last 2012, and I was very happy with the results of the photos,” Judith recalls.
She started out with research and experimentation, then enrolled in a basic photo class headed by Filipino volunteers in Sharjah, UAE in 2015, after which, she upgraded to Nikon D7000 then to D750. After this, there was no stopping her from shooting. “I am more inclined into taking landscapes, though I also like to take street photos as well. I’m always attracted to shoot sunrise, sunset, nature, clouds – for me this is an everyday wonder we have to thank for. As for street photos, I normally want to take candid shots, so I always take with me my 70-200mm lens to be able to take a photo from afar and just crop them if I want to have portraits.”
For Judith, an effective photograph always contains three important ingredients: composition, creativity, and originality. “As a photographer, you get to see things in a different way. You always look for the best light, spot, angle, and perspective. You tend to be more observant, you think not only twice, for me I take a lot of time before pressing the shutter.”