Light Elements

Photographer of the Week: Emmanuelle “Emman” Sawit

By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

It is the serenity of nature that attracts Emmanuelle “Emman” Sawit to landscape and astrophotography. While he takes on photography jobs that range from weddings and debuts to corporate work and portraits, the Cebu-based lensman explains that his personal outdoors shoots awaken his sense of adventure.

7 Falls Lake Sebu
Love the way you live
Butbut Rice Terraces, Tinglayan, Mt. Province
Pinatubo Caldera Lake (Emman Sawit)

“I enjoy going out, I enjoy nature, seeing the serenity of nature, and breathing in the fresh air while making the photos,” shares Emman.

Biri Rocky Sunset
Cantiasay, Surigao
Old Pier, Olango
Agusan Marsh from above

As a “skywatcher,” he sets up outdoors in the still of the night with his SW Star Adventurer Pro, Fuji XT3, and Canon 70200 to capture images of the Andromeda Galaxy or the Pleaides, all the while taking field notes that he shares with fellow enthusiasts. As an event photographer, he tries to capture the fun essence of the celebrations through light moments.

Mambukal Milky Way
Sambawan Milky Way

With the art of photography, he shares that it is the process itself that has him hooked. “It is when you have to assemble elements with the thought of how you want your photo to turn out along with the process of editing your photo. There’s a thrill of getting your final output the way to envisioned it to be. If it does not turn out the way you planned, then it’s a learning opportunity to try again.”

Jumping Spider
Diverse Insects
Where's the Queen?
Blue Bee

In his mind, a good photograph invokes emotion and memory. “It makes you think of a person you know. It makes you want to go back to a place or go somewhere you’ve never been to.” In order to achieve this, he plays with illumination. “I try to create a dramatic mood in my photos. I like playing the contrast and lighting between the shadows and the light source.” It is serendipitous, perhaps, that his Cebu-based affiliations are called Lucida and Lumenars.

Mactan Bridge
Melaka Straits Mosque, Malaysia
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque
The Ruins, Talisay City
Praying Monk

Then, to solidify his Cebuano connection though he is Manila-born, his best recognitions have been winning in three categories for the Sinulog Photo Contest. “Ever since I moved to Cebu, the Sto. Niño has answered all of my prayers and have provided for me and my loved ones,” he explains of his devotion to the festival.  “My accomplishments are not from getting recognized or winning photo contests, but rather getting the smiles from the persons I take photos of, and the positive comments that I get from my clients. There are people that I try to share the passion for photography with and it is us learning from each other. I enjoy passing on my experience with them. My ultimate goal is to eventually publish a book or collection of my photos.”

Sinulog Festival, Cebu
Pinyahan Festival, Ormoc
Sea of Worshippers, Cebu
Karansa Festival, Danao
Kaamulan Family (Emman Sawit)

Emman describes his photography as a method of expressing himself. “At the end of the day, it’s me who gets to enjoy the photograph I made. For me, the best thing is when you enjoy the photos and the process of making the shot.”

Cansaga broom raw materials
Lang Dulay, the Dream Weaver

Even as he shoots the stars, he places importance of staying grounded. “I think the basic and most important principle as a lensman is to be humble – we all started from somewhere. Of course, there should be a willingness to learn and be open minded to improvement and listen to critique, since most of the time this is where we also level up learning from others’ points of view.”