When I was 17, all I wanted to be was a photographer. There were many things I wasn’t sure of – my friends, my emotions, myself – but this, I was certain of. With my pink digital camera – a gift for my Sweet 16th many moons ago – I could conquer the world. It was so low-res, all 5 megapixels of it, that my photographs looked like it was produced with a film camera. Now, I didn’t have an end goal, I just wanted to shoot every chance I could. Everything made utter and complete sense when I could document it. If words weren’t enough, I had this memory made tangible handed to me; this happened, Elisa.
They say your first 10,000 photographs are your worst, mine were my favorite. They were honest and vulnerable – fueled by passion and innocence – completely devoid of any societal pressure for it to mean something – to earn, to be work. I loved it; I was hungry to learn.
When I had long breaks, I would go around campus and find light. During summer, I’d gather my friends in forgotten lots and empty garages to produce “shoots,” and we’d have the best time. At 18, with a camera upgrade after months of crying and pleading, I started taking in jobs. I would be taken advantage of but for every added layout, my skill and character both grew. Time was not wasted.
At 21, I became a photographer for a TV network. This became a training ground for me – creatively, mentally, physically, spiritually. I tried my best to retain this childlike wonder by pursuing my passion outside of work. On my day offs, I would ride 2 30-minute train rides from Santolan to Taft to attend photography school.
This dream was planted inside my heart, and by God’s grace, it bore fruit through well-intentioned labor. When I pray for something, it usually comes with an active pursuit of something else. When I wanted God to move, He was waiting for me to start doing the work.
At 26, I have a new dream. Let this be the day that I finally found it in me to say I am going to do whatever it takes to be a make-up artist. Hold me accountable, internet. ✨