Photographer of the Week: Armando S. Loyola
By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
Growing up in San Carlos, Pangasinan, Armando Salamat Loyola was inspired by the simplicity of life among the mango trees of the province. This was what led him to take up photography, in a bid to document the beauty of his place of birth and to capture the simple stories of life in Pangasinan’s streets, far removed from the grittiness of Manila.
“I remember walking to the fields with my cell phone that only had a two-megapixel camera. I captured several shots of the scenery and posted it on my Facebook accounts. Some friends commented that these were nice photos. That was the time I started my photography,” he shares.
Aside from producing pleasing photos, the 60-year-old lensman has a deeper mission for his work. “I love landscape and street photography. I like to capture images on the street that tell a story and the beauty of nature, because I want to document it for the next generations, so they may find what this place looked like before.”
He favors black-and-white photography for the drama that it brings, and says that he just keeps shooting, finding an angle that will present his subject in a way that it has not been portrayed by other photographers. “I used to edit my photos into black and white, and I have always wanted to have my own infrared camera. Luckily, I was able to save up for one. That is what I use now,” he says happily.
One could say that photography runs in the family. His brother Edwin is a pro photographer, with the next generation of Loyolas starting their own photography journeys as well. It was Edwin who informed him that he was the top pick for the 2017 IPA Discover of the Year. “I was surprised and very happy to find out I won. I just keep joining these photo competitions so that I can keep on learning. I think the best part of winning was that I gained more photographer friends.”
One of his most memorable photography moments was actually the time when he and his brother went on a photowalk. “We bonded and I learned many things from him,” he says happily.
With age comes wisdom, and he advises fellow photographers to be humble. “Don’t brag about your work, wait for someone to appreciate what you have created. As for me, I am very open to constructive criticism on my work. When someone points out room for improvement, I really work on it. I also deeply appreciate if someone comments positively on my photos, and that motivates me to do better.”
Armando keeps going back to the fields and keeps shooting the streets, because he wants to preserve these as memories. “These pictures will share a story for the next generations, to help them appreciate the past. At every event, every occasion, every gathering, our cameras should be ready to tell that story. This instance in time will never be repeated, so it is good to have it documented to be appreciated in the years to come.”