From Studio to Streets

Published February 1, 2021, 11:39 PM

by Ronald Jayme

Photographer of the Week: Joselito “Bong” Arceta

By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

The work of photojournalists in newspapers inspired Joselito “Bong” Arceta to take up photography. “I was amazed to see stories told through images when I was younger. I was so attracted to the idea of being a photographer myself that I applied at the New City Studio branch in Masangkay, Binondo, Manila. I was thankful for the management because they gave me the privilege to attend free seminars and practice to learn the basics and how to operate the Mamiya RB 67 and other equipment in photography along with the advanced techniques on how to use studio lights,” he recalls and shares stories of taking many photos of happy graduates in togas in their studio.

Winning Moments
Pinya farm
Riding in Tandem (Joselito Arceta)

At first, it wasn’t easy, he admits, and there were a lot of times that he made mistakes. “It was my passion to learn photography that made me persevere. I did not end there, I did not give up,” he adds.

He took his learnings in studio photography and applied them when he decided to go freelance. “My favorite subjects are still people. From portraits, I started doing events such as weddings and birthdays. I am actually all around. In local slang, I do KBL or Kasal, Binyag, Libing,” he smiles.

Fire Sealed
Together Forever
Happy Love

He is very flexible with his medium, too, and switches from color and black and white, depending on the message he wants to convey. “For me, if you want to show love and romance or drama, you can go with a black-and-white photo,” he advises. “It really depends on the location and the situation.”

Love in the Hole
Damulag sa Mayon

Bong is a member of the Nayon Photographers Club, Tropang Artistiko, and Wild Birds Photographers of the Philippines, and participates in photo contests such as the Manila Bulletin-Picture Perfect Photo Challenge and the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation where his entry for last year’s “Tuloy-tuloy ang Pasko” competition won first place.

Grand winner, FPPF’s “Tuloy pa rin ang Pasko” photo contest (2020)

What is most important in a visual medium is that you have a love of what you are doing as this will reflect on your work.  “You always have to show to your subject or model how passionate you are about doing your job. I always want to have my adrenaline high because this is where I base my ideas or strategies to think fast and conceptualize my shots,” he explains.

Bataan Symbol

He recalls an opportunity when he had to demonstrate his love for the job. “One of my unforgettable photography experiences was an assignment to take pictures of a sunset on the beach. It sounds like an easy job. However, there was a storm on that day, the wind was very strong and the tide was rising. For me that was challenging. Even though it was raining, I put my camera inside a plastic bag and kept shooting. The resulting photo was beautiful and my client was very happy with it. I submitted one of the pictures to the MB-Picture Perfect Photo Challenge and it was chosen as a winner.

Bird’s Care

He joins photography clubs to learn and to share his knowledge. “You should continue to study,” he advises those who want to take up photography, especially those who want to go pro. “Attend seminars and constantly practice your skills. If you have an opportunity to take a good shot, you should always record the history. Photography is memory, and with your work, you can make history.” He adds that photography is a constant learning process, so one should know how to listen to others as well.