Of muses and filters, RJ Monsod lets us take a peek into what's going on in his creative mind.

Hi RJ! Tell us, what's your story?

I am RJ Monsod. I am a portrait photographer based in Davao City. I am a self-taught photographer with 14 years of experience. I am an optimist, candid and a self confessed dreamer. My genre includes street, lifestyle and wedding photography too.

What's it like to be a photographer in Davao City?

What's it like to be a photographer in Davao City? It's Amazing. I am not a pure Davaoeneo but I love the people here. There's something about the people in Davao that makes me stay. I can't find the right words to describe it but Davao is really different compared to other places.

What's your take on Instagram?

Instagram is a social media platform that most photographers can take advantage of it. Among all the other photo-sharing apps like it, it's safe to say that Instagram is best one. But that's not the whole point. Sharing is the fun part.

What do you think of VSCO Cam? Do you use its filters or do you try to create your own?

VSCO is a very nice editing tool as you can imitate the look of a photo shot using film. I used them for quite sometime but after years of using it, I stopped because I already have my own presets and right now I don't edit that much because the cameras that I am using, which is Fujifilm, produce very nice color tones. It's perfect for me because I don't have to edit my photos using VSCO Cam or the presets that I have.

Are you fond of making photography series or you just take photos randomly?

Yes, it's always a series. I love telling stories through my photos. Every project I have, there should always be a story behind it.

Your Streetraits are becoming popular. Tell us something about it.

Actually, the idea evolved from #OOTD. I noticed that most Davaoenos are really into taking #OOTDs. So I came up with the idea to take their #OOTD on the streets of Davao City. I take photos of these people without make-up and poses, and it clicked. It's also my stress reliever.

The best thing is that my muses are not really professional models. They are just average people.

What is your favorite photo?

My favorite photos are works that belongs to Ryan Muirhead, Jan Scholz and Tanja Lippert. They inspire me. They are the few who still use film as their main tools.

We had a little chat with 19 year old fashion photographer, MJ De Castro and she tells us why she doesn't have a favorite photo yet.

Hi MJ! What photography genre are inclined to?

I mostly shoot fashion and photojournalism.

What's the most exciting thing about being a photographer?

I've always loved stories, and through photography, I've heard so many tales from the people that I've worked with --models, make up artists, designers, fishermen, tribal leaders, and IDPs.

Also, I think that photographers in Davao are so fortunate to have a diverse choice of subjects to choose from but to be honest, we could all use some recognition.

What's your take on Instagram?

A lot of people are taking it too seriously. As much as I love Instagram, I think that people have to remember that it's not always the real thing. Some users are slowly becoming too concerned about their virtual image.

Let's talk about VSCO Cam. Do you use its filters or do you try to create your own?

I've been using VSCO Cam since I started Instagramming. I use the presets but I always do a little tweaking depending on the photo. But mostly, I just play around with the exposure, contrast, and saturation.

What is your favorite photo?

"The one i'm going to take tomorrow." -Imogen Cunningham
That's my subtle way of telling you that I don't have a favorite photo yet.

What is a photographer for you?

Everyone can take pictures; but what makes a photographer is something way beyond having the ability to click the shutter. It's a cliche, I know. But whatever, most of time cliches are true.

A photographer is someone who can tell a story and convey emotions through pictures.

Check out MJ De Castro's portfolio here.

We talk to young Davao photographer Danix about Instagram, VSCOCam, and how it's like being a creative in Davao City.

Hi Danix! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello LIEU! I'm Danica Rose Labarta who goes by the name of "Danix". Some people think I'm a boy, so let me correct that -- I'm obviously a girl. Haha! I'm a photographer from Davao City, who loves taking portraits of people. As for my photography style, I've always added that certain Asian flair in my photographs.

What's the most exciting thing about being a photographer?

The exciting part is when you get to meet beautiful and interesting personalities, not just models but those great photographers as well.

What's it like to be a photographer in Davao City?

I'm very lucky to be here in Davao City. The streets are safer for my Kanto Series and the people are more approachable. But, if you're a photographer with bigger dreams then Manila is probably the best place to be.

What's your take on Instagram?

Before, I didn't know anything about cleaning feeds so I just put all of my shots in there. Later, I realized that Instagram is a different kind of world. Right now I'm starting to clean my feed. Maybe I'll be posting stuff about my travels and some photos from my portfolio.

You can follow me at @danixnews.

Let's talk about VSCO Cam. Do you use its filters or do you try to create your own?

No. I don't use VSCO Cam. I'm so sensitive on the skin tone of the people I take photos of, so I make my own actions and presets.

Are you fond of making photography series or you just take photos randomly?

I have one, it's called Kanto Series. I always take street shots with every model I meet, so it's very convenient to continue this series. Most of the time, I take photos of my subjects in the middle of the streets. What's life without a little risk?

I love taking conceptual photographs too and it's mostly inspired by some famous sad stories like "Elisa Day."

What is your favorite photo?

This photo I took entitled "Floating Elisa."

What is a photographer for you?

For me, a true photographer don't talk about numbers or how fancy their lenses are because at the end of the day, only the output matters.

The Davao Ngilngig Film Camp is an open-to-all-aspiring-filmmakers-workshop on how to make an independent horror film.

Participants can apply as individuals or as a group. A limited number of participants will be selected to join the 3-day intensive exploration of the basics of independent filmmaking. The participating individuals and group will form a production team and develop a horror story based on experience or on urban legends. They will produce a low-budget 5-8 minute horror film, which will be premiered at the second Davao Ngilngig Film Festival (DNFF) on October 2015.

The workshop will be held on September 11-13 and will be handled by the makers of 2014 Davao independent film Sonata Maria (Best First Feature Film of 2014, Young Critics Circle of the Philippines YCC Film Desk).

For more details, visit http://origanefilms.com/filmcamp/

Silingan Workshops will hold a SPOKEN WORD WORKSHOP with KOOKY TUASON at the Silingan Artspace on August 8, 2015 (Saturday). There will be a morning (8am-12pm) and an afternoon session (1pm-4pm). Registration fee is PhP500.00 for professionals and PhP350.00 for students. Limited slots only! Deadline of registration is on August 5, 2015. For inquiries, please contact 09085470950.

KOOKY TUASON is a Luzon-based spoken word artist. She has produced 4 albums out in the market, which are Romancing Venus, Romancing Venus Vol. 2, Bigkas Pilipinas, and In:Transit Manila Meets Toronto. In 2015, she released a coffee table book Picket Lines: Dialogues Between Eves, Among Eves and For Eves. In the same year, she was named one of Manila Bulletin's Top 15 Women of 2015. She is also the Founder and Creative Genius behind Thinking Man's Classroom.


Text by Miguel Cervantes / Photo Diary by Cyrus The Great

The first time Marx Consuegra and Paolo Ramirez talked to LIEU about their little shindig called GraphiCon 4, they were uninspired and ready to run from the cops in case ticket sales won't compensate for expenses. (We were scared because they were only half joking about that last bit.)

A month and two weeks after that, the convention ends up becoming one of the biggest graphic designers meet as of late. More than 700 enthusiasts from all over the country flocked to SMX Convention Center to swoon over GraphiCon 4's lineup of talented speakers. In tow were Lester Cruz and Kookie Santos of Serious Studios, packing a punch to branding and "powerful first impressions"; Marvin Te, owner of Plainly Simple Studios, a local company that houses a team of motion graphics artists and illustrators; April San Pedro, paper craft enthusiast and owner of Artisan Design Studio; Jojie Alcantara, an established local photojournalist; Patrick Cabral, a Manila-based designer known for his intricate typography; and Harvey Tolibao, international comic illustrator and all-around funny guy.

(Graphicon 2015 Speakers, L - R: April San Pedro, Jojie Alcantara, Marvin Te, Patrick Cabral, Harvey Tolibao, and Serious Studio)

It took a dedicated team of members and supporters of homegrown art organization Davao Graphic Designers Community (DGDC) to bring GraphiCon 4 to life. It was a lot of hard work coming from a small core group. It all came together in the end when organizers received feedback of how the convention lit some creative sparks, especially in the younger audiences.

Inspired audiences from GraphiCon 4, be a part of DGDC and submit your work to their official magazine. Put your name out there. Let's see where that will take you.

Special thanks to -- Marx Consuegra, Paolo Ramirez, Juliana Hellmuth, Karl Bringas, Kianna Flores, Nap Calub, and Betsy Tee.

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