Passing on the magic: A photo workshop in the Philippines

By Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times

Photographers of a certain age most likely remember the first time they developed a print, watching an image emerge on a piece of photo paper immersed in a tray of chemical developer. For many it was magic — a hypnotic experience that remains vivid after all these years.

Times and processes have changed. Digital camera displays and computer editing applications have replaced negatives. Darkrooms have given way to laptops, tablets and smartphones that can instantly transmit images via the ether. Printed publications are thinning in the Internet age.

What remains constant is the power of the image, which still can capture the attention and imagination of people far beyond the scene of where it was taken.  Pictures hold the capacity to inform and engage, and provide photographers avenues of artistic expression and voices that hold the potential for measurable and meaningful change.

For the South Pacific Photo Workshop held last month in Dumaguete City, Philippines, we worked mainly with beginners. The group included two Americans and nine Filipinos – each eager to learn and produce good work. We provided a week of intensive hands-on instruction, and this gallery is a product of their effort.

Most photographers see a world that they want to share with others. We have the power to show what’s good, what’s bad – and everything in between.

The workshop is in its infancy, but we are trying to expand the forces of image making. We want individuals to speak their minds and present their worlds and realities. In our two seminars thus far, we’ve attracted a diverse range of participants, all of whom have a common love for the magic and power that is photography – which is what attracted us all to the medium to begin with.