Photographer of the Week: Martin Amchel Ga
By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
Photography is a recent hobby for Martin Amchel Ga, a Cebuano working as a test manufacturing engineer in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He has been an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) since 2011 and started taking his lensman’s life seriously only in 2018 when he bought a secondhand Canon 500D from a friend.
“Prior to that, I was just taking pictures using point-and-shoot cameras, action cameras (GoPro) and mobile phones,” Martin shares.
Though fairly a newbie, he has gathered significant experiences in the field, especially where helping out is concerned. “My significant experience as a lensman was organizing and participating in various charity events such as shoots for a cause and charity pageants. As OFWs, we want to help in, one way or another, our fellow Filipinos who were devastated by calamities from the earthquake in Mindanao to the floods in Bicol as well in Northern Luzon. This was our way of extending our help even though we are far from home.”
Martin describes himself as a cinephile who is drawn to medieval-themed action movies and this reflects on his penchant for taking portraits with a cinematic feel. As such, he says his shots are 80 percent dark and moody.
“I’m inclined on the cinematic/dramatic output, black and white is the best for me as it adds more drama to your shot, but I like to shoot with colors as well, it depends on the concept and theme.” He prefers portraits to street and travel photography. “My favorite subjects are definitely people and unique objects. My view on photography is that it is like painting wherein you need to have focus on your canvass to have a beautiful masterpiece. There is an urge in me to be creative in showing my artistic side through my camera and lens.”
The group he is part of is The Workshop Group (TWG/TWGO) headed by Parc Cruz, where he is the workshop organizer in Taiwan. His photography team in Taiwan is TeamBright TW, which is composed of hobbyist OFW photographers as well.
“Our main group here in Taiwan is Litratista Taiwan Filipino Photographers which is composed of many teams depending on the location. I am also a member of the Photographers Club of Cebu since 2020. I rarely join photo contests before but I am trying to join more contests this year to challenge and improve my photography skills and enhance my creativity with the various themes per contest,” he adds.
He shares his skills through basic photography sessions in connection with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Kaohsiung (the Embassy /De Facto office of the Philippines in Taiwan). “My ultimate goal in photography is not to be the best, but to always give my best in every photoshoot, I also wish that I can still continue to do what I love.”
For him, the best thing about being a photographer is capturing precious or valuable moments on your camera, may it be people or places. “When you compare movies to real life, there is no replay/ rewind button in our lives, thus having captured these moments will help us reminisce. My basic principle as a lensman is to always be respectful and always love photography. It’s not just taking pictures or clicking the shutter button. It’s all about you loving the art and embracing it.”