So you call yourself a photographer?
SOUND AND THE FURY - Raymond Ang () - November 11, 2011 - 12:00am

In a time when anyone with a DSLR can call themselves photographers, Young Star tips its hat to eight talents with style to burn.

What does it take to call yourself a “photographer”? There was a time when it was clear as day: the “photographers” separated from the more pedestrian “people with cameras” by skill, aesthetic, and of course, gear.

But at a time when a good DSLR is more affordable and Photoshop makes any photo salvageable, it gets complicated. If you have the same gear as a professional photographer and a bevy of Photoshop tricks to make up for a lack of talent, does that make you a photographer?

I think not. In these DSLR-toting times, the divide narrows but the line remains. While gear and sheen are easily fake-able, vision and aesthetic will tell the truth. As young photog Joseph Pascual recently tweeted, “Popularity is a firework but respect is a forest fire.” So with that, Young Star tips its hat to eight young photographers who definitely deserve some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

We’re featuring young photographers who we think have unique perspectives. It’s arguable whether or not they’re the most polished young photographers around. But what they lack in experience, they make up for in vision. Some of them are working; others still studying. Some of them shoot with film; most shoot digital. Some already have formidable resumes (hello 21-year-old Hannah Reyes and your Time and The Guardian gigs), some have only been published a few times.

The Challenge

But what ties all of them together is the capability to bring something different to the table. These eight all have different styles and different perspectives. They’re bound to come up with something interesting. So we went about the feature in a different way—instead of just shooting them, we gave them a challenge.

The challenge: With the photo prompt we gave them, they had to come up with a photo that represents their respective styles and aesthetics. They can do a direct reference or a vague allusion to the photo. We just needed the connection to make sense.

We picked something Terry Richardson shot because whether you like him or not, his influence on photography in the 2000s is enormous. We gave them Terry’s shot from Jessica Alba’s cover shoot for GQ.

We told the eight: “It doesn’t have to be a recreation—in fact, we discourage that. Just take off from the elements in the photo. Be creative. Go wild.” Just keep it GP (no boobs, no nipples, no ass, etc.) because, hey, this is a family newspaper.

* * *

An and En Estrada


We started photography at... the age of four when we bought our first disposable underwater camera.

A peg is... Lina Scheynius.

Our style is... alanganin.

When we grow up, we will... still keep film alive.

Dream cover: Lula magazine

* * *

Hannah Reyes


I started photography when… I was bored!

A peg is… useful.

My style is…  a work in progress.

When I grow up, I’m going… off to great places with my camera.

Dream cover: National Geographic.

* * *

Joseph Pascual



I started photography when… my grandfather gave me a point-and-shoot digital camera back in 2004, and I tried it out and loved it.

A peg is… a tiny part of someone’s work in yours.

My style is… consistently described as soft and sad.

When I grow up, I’m going to… be grown up. Plans are like wishes; if you tell people, they don’t come true.

Dream cover: Some cool, interesting magazine with a small but international cult following so I can be super legit and indie and respected. Or Time magazine.

* * *

Bia Catbagan


I started photography when... my dad gave me my first DSLR in 2007.

A peg is... a springboard.

My style is... a classy R-18.

When I grow up, I’m going to... make movies.

Dream cover: Me. Or maybe Kate Beckinsale.

* * *

Rozette Diaz


I started photography when… I got my first camera back in 2004. My parents thought I was onto something good so after a couple more years, they got me a real DSLR.

A peg is… purely for inspiration, something to draw from and create your own ideas around. You develop it into something that you could call your own.

My style is… not very restricted. Photography has always been about being able to tell a story for me and sometimes I have to go out of my comfort zone to achieve that. I mostly shoot with natural light on location because I find the studio setting a bit too uptight. With colors, I like clarity and depth, but I also enjoy the grainy and faded quality of film.

When I grow up, I’m going to… take pictures of and make a film about every country in the world. That’s not too ambitious, is it?

Dream cover: National Geographic Traveler or Lula Magazine.

* * *

Tricia Gosingtian


I started photography when…  I was in high school, when the latest entry-level DSLR was the 350D. But professionally, I started around 2006 after I got somewhat scouted as a model for a teen magazine.

A peg is… anything you take inspiration from. It could be something tangible like an existing photograph from a magazine or something that’s not, like a recent dream or a tune from a favorite song.

My style is…  dreamy-girly, or something like that. I like shooting dainty things.

When I grow up, I’m going to… be happy and take pictures all over the world.

Dream cover: Popteen, Vivi or any Japanese magazine cover.

Model: Marie Digby

Hair by Liz de Asis

Make-up by Marj Sia

* * *

Gabby Cantero


I started photography when… I got my hands on a point-and-shoot camera back in high school and discovered the macro function. Glad I didn’t stick to shooting flowers and bugs.

A peg is... Brian Ferry. He does campaigns for leading coffee companies and a few luxury brands. All in film, mostly in natural light. Genius.  

My style is… a mix between bright, well-lit moments with shadowy black and whites. 

When I grow up, I’m going to shoot... side by side with Scott Schuman, Tommy Ton and Bronques during fashion month. 

Dream cover: It’s a tie between The Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman.

* * *

Tim Serrano 21,

I started photography when… a friend’s dad was a photojournalist and he kept a darkroom in their home. I’d come over and I’d see him walking around carrying prints and binders full of negatives and he’d smell nauseating. It appealed to me, the process and experience of making pictures.

A peg is… a reference?

My style is… I don’t think I have a particular style. I try to figure out ways to reinvent myself every now and then.

When I grow up, I’m going to… hopefully be able to explore what I really want to explore.

Dream cover: Dazed & Confused.

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