I have found over the years that when I photograph someone, I try to give something back. If they give me their email, I will send them their portrait. But for most of these people I have photographed on the streets of Manila, they have little access to computers and the Internet. Most of these people I have enjoyed meeting and getting an opportunity to talk about their lives. In return I try and come back with a framed picture of them to show my appreciation for granting me access into their lives.
A framed picture is a small gesture, but I think it can enable people to see themselves in a positive way. I hope it can enhanced self-confidence, self-esteem and provide the individual with positive outlook on the next day. Maybe that's all in my mind, but the people here were very happy to receive a picture of themselves. A big shout out to each and every one of them for letting me get to know them first and foremost and allowing me to take their picture.
I found this kid begging outside of a market. I asked him for his picture and at first he was shy, but allowed me to take it anyway. I was in a neighbourhood where I knew I wasn't likely to return and he was sort of a nomad, homeless roaming the streets with his family. So, I took the picture ran to a store got it developed, framed and found him.
Jenny and her mom
It took me two separate trips back to this location to find the future Michael Jordan, word got around the neighbourhood that I was there and he found me.
Raymart, outside his home
Inside Raymart's home. My pics made it onto the family wall! 7 people live in this tiny room on the fifth floor of the Paco Project building. Cramped quarters for most, but as he explained, at the end of the day you are surrounded by family.
The family outside of their place on Roxas Blvd.
Jonny and Bing
This pic doesn't do this kid justice, he and his family live in a cemetery (more to come from there) he was so full of life and had so much charisma, if anyone knows a child talent agent this kid could be the next Home Alone star!
At the garbage dump. Someone told me this boy had never seen an image of himself, I don't know about that. I believe maybe a picture of himself, regardless he now has a photo to remember the day.
Blaring outside the fence on the opposite side of an art class I was teaching, this guy was belting out Lady Gaga on the microphone. I went to see what the hell was going on. It was his birthday, what better way to celebrate it than a little karaoke for the boys. Poker face.
This guy was on a makeshift boat that was comprised of old plastic barrels tied together. He was using a long wood stick with an old kitchen strainer fastened to the end of it to collect the garbage out of the river. I asked him some questions and he told me he makes around 50 pesos a day, about a dollar to feed his children. Very friendly and outgoing guy.