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Juwan Paguibitan (Street Photographer)

What has been the biggest opposing force that you encountered on your creative journey as a photographer?

I am still an amateur in photography, I'm still learning the ropes. Since I got my first camera, I have always loved going around and take pictures. However, there are always times when I see way more amazing photographs taken by different people and I compare them with mine.

A lot of times, they actually made me want to just put down my camera. I doubt myself and tell myself that I lack creativity or a good camera. Those were all just excuses though. These thoughts were the biggest setbacks in my journey as a photographer. But if I really wanted to be a photographer then

I realized it's natural to have moments of doubt and that we all grow at our own pace.

To deal with this setback, I decided to keep improving my craft so I can take pictures that I am proud of.

If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose?

Because my niche is around street photography, it would be a privilege if I had the chance to be one of the Depression-era photographers. I just admire the photographers and the people who went out their way to capture and share the struggles of these people back then in the Great Depression. To be able to tell the story of people, especially those whose voices need to be heard, is my definition of a great photographer. 

Your photographs have this certain quality of romanticism and neo-modern style, what inspires you to gravitate towards this?

In high school, I've always loved joining school plays and slam poetries. On top of that, I see myself as a hopeless romantic. Embarrassingly, I watch a lot of romcoms and dramas. Because of these, I have a tendency to romanticize and dramatize things that I see in life. The times that I get to take a really good pic of those romantic moments are my most gratifying moments as a photographer 

In one of your Instagram posts, you included a caption that says, "No more melancholy." Can you share your state of mind and emotions in that particular moment?

When I took that picture in my post, I went out to eat with my friend. My circle of friends are pretty much dramatic people like me. When we go out, we usually talk a lot and share our dramas. Then as we were walking past by that shop in the picture, they just had a really good lighting so I took a picture of my friend. That moment did not provide only a good lighting for the picture but also light in spite of all our drama.

How do you find or craft stories with your photographs?

I'm still a student, and I already feel like my life is hectic.

I blow off steam by walking around downtown because it makes me realize how as hectic other people's lives are too.

Sometimes, I just stop by and take pics of the people around me. Those little details, their face, their clothes, how fast they're walking, and where they are walking by, they all tell a story.

Without your lens, do you see the world differently?

Whenever I'm riding the transit, it makes me feel really peaceful because it forces me to stop and just think. I just look out the window and I can see so many interesting things, from the people walking by, the graffiti in the walls, and the houses and the buildings.

I feel sad if I don't have my camera with me in those moments but this is how I see without my lens, I try to see the bigger picture wherever I am.

This is what I try to improve on in my pictures. Every time I don't have my lens, I ask myself how would I take a picture of this and that. When I get to capture that moment in the way that I pictured it really gives me a feeling of satisfaction.

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