The Richness of Reality

Photographer of the Week: Romeo Mayugba

By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

Through time, and through different means, human beings have tried to document the world in an attempt to put some order to it, to consume it or rule it, or hang on to it in some sense, says Romeo Mayugba, a Filipino photographer who is based in Canada.

Sunset at Polson Pier, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Romeo Mayugba)

“What attracted me to photography are not its fine arts elements but as documents. In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. For me, if there is one thing a photograph must contain, it is the humanity of the moment. Taking an image and freezing a moment reveal how rich reality truly is. It is a way of feeling, touching, of loving,” he shares.

Bluffs, Toronto (Romeo Mayugba)
Untitled (Romeo Mayugba)

His subjects range from the amazing wildlife creatures that can be found in Ontario along with their natural landscapes as well portraits of his family that has not lost touch with its Filipino roots such as a love for bonding and fun gatherings. All of these are based on his belief that a successful photograph is one where you achieve your intent in a thoughtful skilled way.

“These combine intelligent light and motion, skilled composition and color, and ideally a message that educates or moves the viewer.” Mood also plays a vital role he adds. “It essentially relates to the lighting in a shot. Giving something mood usually means we are trying to make it dark and brooding – making it moody. But mood can relate to any lighting situation. For landscape photography, it usually relates to the weather.”

Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch (Romeo Mayugba)

While he is not one to participate in photo contests, his greatest goal as a photographer is to shoot continuously. “I want to be able to take photos of who I want, where I want, when I want. Ultimately this means that in order to achieve that goal, I must get into an independently wealthy point in my life, which is funny because wealth is relative. The more you make, the more you spend is the mantra, when it comes to most successful photographers that I've known throughout my life. It's my belief that getting out of the hamster wheel is a photographer's biggest challenge.”   

American Robin (Romeo Mayugba)

His advice to those who want to get started on the art is to just shoot everything. “That may sound like a contradiction to what's been said, but shooting everything from landscapes to babies is the only way to build experience, and more importantly, gain a better understanding of your strengths.” This also doesn't mean you should stop experimenting with all sorts of different techniques, he says, but some restraint is also in order. “It does mean that you must not show expertise in too many areas or you might run the risk of confusing potential clients.”

For Romeo, photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, but it is also about building experiences and collecting works that reflect the richness of life.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science,” he concludes.

Serenity (Romeo Mayugba)