Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Perpetual Dreamer

I was sweating when I arrived at Greenbelt McDo. I was 15 minutes late for our scheduled interview. Fortunately, so was my interviewee—the winner of our Fireworks photo contest! She came from the other side of the dining hall donning a sporty getup—black jogging pants with white stripes at the side (I didn’t count how many. Hehe), sky blue shirt with very short sleeves, and rubber shoes—obviously ready for a workout. We exchanged greetings and ordered Cheeseburger meals. When we sat down, we started to eat our lunch and I took out my notes to begin the interview (some basic questions were already answered via email).

FPC: Please tell us your full name and then your flickr screen name.
AAA: Abigail Arbolente Arabit, known in flickr and FPC as “wasaby.”

lost in my own world

FPC: Where do you live at the moment?
AAA: Taytay, Rizal

FPC: What is your current occupation?
AAA: I’m a preschool teacher :)

FPC: What is your current gear? (camera body/bodies, lenses and flash guns only)
AAA: I have my ever reliable and handy sidekick, Silver, a Canon A520 that I ordered last year from a good friend in Singapore. Since I don’t have other lenses yet, I use a loupe :)

FPC: How did you get into Photography? Who, what inspired you?
My Dad was a hobbyist with four cameras. And ever since we were toddlers, he took us to out-of-town shoots. But then my Dad became busy with the family business and neglected his hobby; he’s not shooting today anymore. The last cam he bought was back in the 80’s which he used until the 90’s.

Dad always chose me to assist him during those times he was still shooting. He must have seen something in me. True enough, I joined a photo club in College but because of the demands of my course, I didn’t have the time to pursue Photography. But I felt even then that it means a lot to me. Unfortunately, even after graduation, the work I got didn’t afford me time to get deeper into the hobby.

Eventually, I resigned and joined pre-school, started teaching kids. Then I was able to buy my first digital camera last year, a Z65 Canon P&S. And with this, my penchant for photography was rekindled and I can say that since then, I really began to tap my talent in Photography.

FPC: How did you get into FPC?

My best friend was browsing through the internet and stumbled on That’s how I got into flickr. Then, one of the Admins invited me to join FPC. One of my friends, Elmer Medalla, also an FPC member—although, not that active—invited me to check out the FPC meets. I wanted to go to one of those meets so I was there during the Fireworks photo shoot.

FPC: What’s your favorite photographic subject or subjects?

AAA: Although some may think I prefer taking photos of inanimate objects (as you may notice from my photostream), I actually love taking pictures of kids and food. I just enjoy the spontaneity of photographing children while they’re playing (more than studio-taken photos). You don’t really know what to expect and when you are able to capture a great moment, you get a sense of fulfillment and wonder!


With food, well, mahilig lang talaga ako kumain [“I really love to eat”]. Hahaha! I love looking at cookbooks because of the mouth-watering pictures. I really admire food photographers who are able to convince the viewers to eat or buy their subjects. Of course, after looking at all those yummy photos, I end up eating afterwards :)

ain't no mountain high enough

FPC: How would you define a “good photographer?
That’s a good question. [Thinks hard.] I’m thinking to summarize… I think it would be someone who is able to capture the proverbial “Kodak” moments at the right time. I think that composition is not so important factor so long as an evocative emotion is captured. And as always been said, “It’s not the gear,” but more of how one uses it to express one’s self.

dditionally, a good photographer would be one who is not limited to a certain technique. He must be versatile. He must have a “good eye” for making simple things appear interesting. He must have a good sense of timing, which I always note in my favorite photostreams.

also believed in purists, those that are content at what their camera captures, like my Dad. But lately I have come to believe that post-processing can give a photo more emotion and drama, with just the right amount of editing.

FPC: Any favorite photographer in particular?
AAA: Oh, I have a lot of favorite photographers! Most of them I just discovered through flickr. I haven’t really done any serious research on famous photographers but I know there are so many out there that I can look up to and learn from. I actually have favorites per category because it’s so hard to really pinpoint the one at the top of my list.

FPC: Tell us about your dream gear.
At the moment, I’d love to have a Nikon D70s or D200, a wide-angle lens, a macro lens, and telephoto lens (no brand in particular yet). I also want a Polaroid camera (for the instant photos).

FPC: Why Nikon?
AAA: It’s what my Dad had been using and it’s still my dream to resurrect his Nikon FM2, which is gathering mold in his closet and will start to walk on its own any minute now! Meron din kasi syang [“He also has a”] lens collection but I think they all need restoration themselves.

Beside this, I also like the sharpness of My Dad’s Nikon. I also like my Canon too, but I haven’t got too much experience with its DSLR yet and I would personally like to own a Nikon for comparison.

FPC: What’s your photographic ambition?

Hmmm… I’ve actually been thinking of photographing children professionally someday. But instead of doing it in a studio, I’d go to their homes and shoot them while they’re doing their daily routines para mas natural [“for a natural feel”]. Or if I can’t go to their place, I can have a studio that looks like a real home, with a playroom, living room, and kitchen. Pag food naman [“Regarding food”], I’d love to contribute food photos to magazines, billboards, and books. Or have my own food blog (I think this is the most realistic and feasible ambition at the moment :

FPC: You've recently won a photo contest in FPC. When you heard that you won the 1st prize. What was your very first reaction?

Honestly? Disbelief! I really wasn’t expecting it and I thought Robert (rarerimages by shutterbugrer) was just joking when he told me the news.

Wasaby's winning fireworks

Did you think you had a chance at winning?
AAA: No, not at all! I went there at the photo-shoot just to experience how to shoot fireworks.

FPC: In your personal blog weytaminit!, I noticed that one of your interest listed there is terrorizing children. What does this mean? Do you really scare the hell out of children? Hehehe

Hehe. I’ve been handling toddlers (2-3’s) for 3 years. Di ba [“Isn’t that”] there’s an expression they use, the terrible two’s? Terrorizing children is my way of describing my work. :)

FPC: How long have you been blogging?

Since May of last year [2005]. And incidentally, my very first blog was about Photography—how I wished to rekindle my interest and passion. Blogging, writing is a therapeutic exercise for me and it is my way of informing my friends and family, many of them living abroad, about what’s happening in my life. Instead of emailing them, they just go visit my blog and they are updated.

FPC: How would you like to write for the FPC Blogspot, as a regular contributor?

It would be an honor!

FPC: So, can we now give you assignments? Hehe

Ok! But not the technical stuff!

FPC: Do you see photography as a career path for you?

Yep, I do. But I want to do so many things in life that a career in photography is on hold at the moment. For now, I’m learning and developing my skills and just enjoying myself. I’m planning to take formal photography lessons someday, too.

Let there be light...

FPC: I admire the way you see beauty in the simplest of everyday things and translate them into works of art. Any plans on publishing a photo book and selling them?
Salamat! [“Thank you!”] I appreciate that :) Anyways, that’s a good suggestion! Hehe. Actually, I’m just making my portfolio. Last year ko pa naisip yun [“I already thought of that last year”] and I’m compiling all my favorite shots to add to it.


aven’t gotten around to printing the photos but I have a list of them already. Maybe when I’m more confident about my work then I can actually have the photos published. Right now I know I have so much to learn and do. But I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited about what the future will bring.

FPC: We’re almost done. I just have a few more... [At this point, she has finished her cheeseburger, while mine is lying there getting cold! :D]... BOYFRIEND?
[Startled but smiles.] None at present.

FPC: When do you plan to have one?
[Chuckles.] I think such things aren’t planned! They just happen! At the right time.

FPC: What about your family? What do they think of your hobby?
My Dad is excited and happy! He is kind of reliving the passion for Photography through me since he has no time for it now. And he’s happy that I was influenced by him. In fact, he gave me a tripod—just a small one.

My Mom is happy too. In fact, she always recommends me to be the photog during family events. Even my sisters bought their own cams are asking me for techniques. I believe my whole family is into arts, that we have eyes for Photography. Although, none of my family members are as serious as I am.

FPC: Sir Alex is “The Professional Expatriate.” How would you like to be called? Is “Child Terrorist” Ok? Hehe

Hehe! Seriously, I prefer to be called “The Perpetual Dreamer.” There is that article from my blogspot where I talked about my being a day dreamer, but not the “overly imaginative” kind. I always dream about things I plan to do, like what I will be doing five years from now. That type of daydreamer.

FPC: One last. What message do you want to leave for the other FPC members?

[Long pause.] Hmmm… I guess… pursue your passion. If you love what you do, you will succeed and enjoy. Be open to new techniques. I hope many will become active [FPC members] and learn a lot. And share too. Support FPC activities, like the upcoming December 7 “Shooter’s Night."

- end -


ronrag said...

that's another Nikonian in the making... you're good Abby... keep it up!!

ed's said...

small tripod?! last time I saw your tripod it was taller than you =D just kiddin' galing! pero canon ginamit mo sa winning shot hehehe

PowerPee said...

wow congratulations! Nikonian pero winning shot Canon? Hmm... :P

OT: Alex mali ako di pala si Wasaby kilala ko... he he

Hocchuan said...

winner talaga yan. Future PRO yan. magaling. Congrats Abby

alexdpx said...

Hmm . . . I can't praise Aby's photography enough :) That her works are excellent is already a given so let me just congratulate her on this very nice interview :D

john edward said...

i like candidness of the interview. it's a very good read! Congrats!

aby said...

thanks a lot guys!

ed: ah, sa papa ko yang tripod na yan. hehe. i have my own tripod, and it's really just a few inches tall :) konti nalang macoconvince ko na syang ipamana sa kin tripod nya :D

robert warned me about my choice of dSLR. actually, i just want to fire up the feud among Canon and Nikon users. haha, just kidding. anyways, long story yan but the gist is in the interview ;)

pat and alex: i am overwhelmed and honored by your comments. thank you :)

Anonymous said...

ehem... that's my friend! he he :P
and she's really full of talent! you go girl!

i also hope to join FPC in the near future :)


Lenard said...

Enjoyed reading this interview. Pwede ng reporter si JE.

Looking forward to future interviews!

JC said...

congrats again sis abby... galing naman... c",)
hope to see you soon... c",)