Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Professional Expatriate

Alex T. Atienza calls himself a "professional expatriate". Almost ten (10) years ago, his job beckoned him away from Manila; and he is now based in Doha, Qatar.

Alex as a photographer is very serious about his craft, one who believes that sharing his knowledge and experience with others is a win-win situation. His friends see him as a picture-perfect (no pun intended) photojournalist and a promising writer because of his very informative articles which can be found in the FPC Blogspot and his personal blog entitled Little Adventures.

I'm a "professional expatriate." Architecture is what I do for a living. Photography is what I do for fun. I travel occasionally to see the rest of the world and explore the local culture and cuisine. At the moment, Doha is my home and I plan to eventually return to Manila - but not yet.

E-Interview of Alex T. Atienza

FPC: Please tell us your flickr screen name.
alexdpx: I am known in flickr as ‘alexdpx’.

FPC: Your initials is ATA. What does "dpx" in your screen name mean?
alexdpx: dpx = digital pix

FPC: What is your current occupation?
alexdpx: I’m a Senior Architect for an international consulting firm.

FPC: You said that you are a Senior Architect for an international firm. Doesn't that use up all your time to be able to make photography as your hobby?
alexdpx I will admit that it’s a very demanding job. At times, I’m even requested to visit construction sites even on weekends and holidays. But there are times when work is a bit more relaxed that I can even afford to go home early or come to work late. Besides, "if there’s a will, there’s a way."

FPC: How do you feel being the 1st Photographer to be featured in the FPC Blog.
alexdpx: Flattered. Out of the many and more talented members, you guys chose me. And then that new Mercedes Benz ad campaign (in Europe and here in the Middle East. Not sure if it’s the same there) ran into my head: "There are a thousand lists we make as an attempt to organize our lives. But every list has one thing in common; there is always a first." So now, I kind of feel like a Mercedes Benz – hehehe.

FPC: Tell us briefly how you got into photography. When did you start?
alexdpx: I’ve always loved taking pictures for as long as I can remember but I think getting into it more seriously started in 3rd year high school when I finally managed to convince my parents to buy me my own camera for my birthday gift in 1983. I would usually make regular visits to National Bookstore or Goodwill Bookstore and flick through the pages of photography books in the shelves.

Timeless Redux

FPC: When did you join Flickers Photo Club? Who invited you?
alexdpx: I would say I’ve been with FPC long before it was known as FPC. I was in the very first model photo shoot in April 2006 along with Hocchuan, ronrag, Stitch, Boso, Ed’s, Code 1700 and Dboy. I was also in the Manila Bay sunset shoot in the same month. When this group was officially made into a separate flickr group, I was sent an invitation to which I joined immediately and without second thought.

FPC: Do you remember your very first camera?
alexdpx: Ricoh KR10 rangefinder. It was a camera-el-cheapo with plastic everything. But it did taught me some good lessons, especially on the fundamentals of shutter speed / aperture relationship, and manual focusing by judging the subject’s distance. It has no AF at all.

FPC: What is your current gear? (camera body/bodies, lenses and flash guns only)
alexdpx: Canon EOS 20D with Canon EF 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and a Canon Speedlite 420EX.
Lately I’ve been finding my Sony Ericsson K800i Cyber-shot camera phone dependable in some situations.

FPC: Any Plans on upgrading your gear soon?
alexdpx: One of my favorite mottos, "If it’s not broken, don’t fix it." So the answer is NO. I would like to have a couple of fast lenses but they’re not exactly cheap. I’ve learned to work around the limitations of my current lenses so I’m trying to find a very compelling reason to buy those expensive lenses.

FPC: What’s your favorite photographic subject or subjects?
alexdpx: Travel, Candid Portraits and Sports. But I also love to shoot anything when opportunity presents itself.

FPC: It appears that the portrait of the girl is post-processed to perfection, meaning she could be someone close to you?


alexdpx: It's post processed, yes, but to how I have preconceived it when I clicked the shutter. I could have used a film SLR with black & white film, a 50mm f/1.4 lens with a green filter and a soft-focus filter on top of it. But I don't have those. All I have is a DSLR and Photoshop CS2 yet I achieved the same effect. So the end justifies the means. To answer the question, yes she is someone close. She's a friend's daughter. But close or not if the photo is nice, it's nice.

FPC: I visit your flickr photostream regularly and I admire all your high speed and sports photo shoots very much. Don't you plan to get into sports photography?
alexdpx: The thing is I shoot for my own pleasure. I wouldn’t mind doing something like the "Live Extreme" that you guys did a while back but I don’t think I would want a career in sports photography. Architecture is what I do for a living; photography is what I do for fun. I have not been able to shoot sports since March of this year so my hopes are high when the Asian Games comes to town this December.

Fast 2

FPC: Martina Hingis is a very popular international tennis star. How did it feel being able to personally take her picture in action?

Martina Hingis 8

alexdpx: Just the same way you feel about photographing a celebrity from a distance. This one's shot from the upper box of the grand stand.

FPC: How does your family feel about your expensive hobby?
alexdpx: My parents think I’m wasting my money. My wife understands it to a certain point, but frowns whenever I insinuate on buying a new gear or gear accessory.

FPC: Any favorite photographer in particular?
alexdpx: Steve McCurry, the famous National Geographic photographer responsible for the portrait of the Afghan girl. I believe that portrait is now the most recognizable photo in the world. Second favorite would be Gary Gladstone. He's the corporate photographer of some of the top 1000 corporations in the world

FPC: The world is dying and everybody wants to know... is it Boxers or Briefs???
alexdpx: And this question is related to photography because . . .? Okay, hahaha, seriously, I tried boxers before – comfortable but not very supportive so I went back to briefs.

FPC: What’s your dream photo shoot?
alexdpx: There was this rock star contestant named Storm Large. I’d love the chance to do my versions of her portrait. Another one would be the Chittagong Ship breaking Yard in Bangladesh. Photographically speaking, it’s reputedly the most forbidden place anywhere in the world. A third dream would be the Forbidden City in China.

FPC: Tell us about your dream gear.
alexdpx: I believe that the future of digital photography is full-frame sensor. Therefore, I’d like to get my hands on 2 Canon EOS IDsMkII bodies or their successors. Plus a few fast ‘L’ lenses.

FPC: What’s your photographic ambition?
alexdpx: To travel to as many places, photograph them and their people and eventually be able to publish and sell my own photo book.

It Was A Hard Day

FPC: "Its not the Arrow that Matters, It’s the Indian" Can you share us some of your personal insights regarding this old saying?
alexdpx: I've learned about that line from one of ronrag's comments to one of the discussion threads. And I agree with that. I mean, there are people who believe that "nothing less than an 'L' lens will do" to produce top-notch, commendable photography. But let's not forget, that camera gears are just tools. While it is often times necessary to use the right tools for certain jobs, to me, it's more on how you make use of the available tools at hand. Case in point - Wasaby's winning photo in the recent Fireworks shoot contest.

FPC: What would be your final message to your fellow FPC members?
alexdpx: To fellow FPC members. This is the most active group I've ever joined-in in flickr with the friendliest administrators who never seem to run out of ideas for gimmicks and activities - all for the benefit of the members. You guys and girls made the right decision on joining this group.


ronrag said...

FPC's dynamic admins really never run out of new ideas and choosing Alex, a photographer-writer par excellence, to premiere the FPC featured photographer series will certainly prep up the members' interest on waiting for the next shooter who will be featured...

Ed's said...

Ang galing!
Hey alex let me know if you gonna publish and sell your photobook!want to collect them =D
Advance Happy Birthday to you =D

bert671 said...

all i can really say is, "you da man!". great photos always and very well thought out.
as a pinoy expatriate myself. its nice to live here in Guam but my heart is always back in the motherland.

alexdpx said...

Thanks Ron. It's an honor to be the "test pilot" =)

Ed, I really want to. 'Still looking for a publisher to inquire how much it will cost me, how many pieces to produce and will my book really sell.

Bert, thanks for dropping by and for the compliment.

JC said...

wow! very enjoyable read sir alex. bitin nga ako magbasa e. hahaha... c",)
advance happy birthday sir. i wish you more success in your career and hobby. you are full of talents... and you always share them. keep inspiring us sir.

all the best,

aby said...

ang galing! congrats to alex (and advance happy birthday)! your photos are amazing! :)