El Mundo

2016 / 5 October

I Started Photography Because Of This Deadly Sin

El Mundo photographer in Cebu

Hi! I am Moh and Iove to take photographs, most especially weird fashion photography. I prefer it to be dark, enigmatic, and peculiar.

I have a random question. How did you start doing things that you are very passionate about? Did you dream about it? Did you work hard for it, or was is just luck that put you unto this routine?

Well, if you are going to ask me how I started with photography, I’ll tell you in a while. During my younger years, I wanted to become a doctor. I even told my parents about it. We always wanted to “become someone someday,” don’t you agree?

My Childhood and Photography

If I will tell you my entire childhood story, perhaps we’ll never end. So that I won’t bore you with my telenovela life, I’ll tell you how I realized why photography is my passion; plain old envy!

Early on in life, I already knew that I love taking photographs. I was just 6 years old then. Roughly twenty years ago, I could still remember the time I stole the old timey film camera from the drawer of my parents.

They’d know that I had taken photos without their consent once they had the film developed. Naturally, my photos weren’t good enough. My father would tell me that the angle was not appropriate and stuff like that. I was just a kid and I didn’t mind it at all.

Photography During My Teenage Years

Phone Photography by El Mundo photographer in Cebu

This photo was taken last 2009. I was using my friend’s smartphone. (Model: Jay Mohamad Ryan Aquino)

As time went by, I kept on practicing my photography skills. In high school and college, I would borrow camera from my friends or classmates and act as their photographer. During events, you could rarely see me in photos because I am usually the man behind it, but I love it! These are just some of the reasons why I pursued photography.

It seems like I have been babbling a lot about my past. I’ll cut it short and perhaps share some of it on my future vlogs very soon. Let’s get to the main point, shall we?

Photography Powered By Envy?

You might be wondering why ENVY was the main force that drove me to become the photographer I am today.

It was during the last quarter of of 2013 when you could see a lot of photographers budding up in Cebu. I could remember looking at my Facebook timeline filled with their good photos. This made me envious.

I was still working in the BPO industry at that time. After work, I would practice web design on my own website and other websites as a freelance job. While I was practicing it, I realized that I was missing a lot of important pieces; the photos! Even if I was a photography novice, I was very cautious in using photographs owned by other people because of copyright issues.

So I asked permission from the photographers to use their photos and give due credit but alas! I never got a reply from them.

I felt very frustrated!

I felt bad!

I still feel envious of the photos that could have made my websites awesome!

To make the long story short, I decided to buy a camera during the first quarter of 2014. After owning one, I was still clueless about the ergonomics of a digital SLR and how to properly use it. I decided to push myself harder by learning more about it.

While learning about photography, I realized that I am not keen on learning it through reading tutorials. It’s weird because it tends to puzzle my thoughts, and I have no idea why!

However, I really had to read the fundamentals of photography; how it should be done and how a DSLR should be used.

Fotografia Enigmatica by El Mundo photographer in Cebu

This was taken last February 2012 during a Shoot For A Cause organized by Lightzone Photography. (Model: Crislie Almario)

I practiced and practiced and learned other dynamics of photography. When I had enough courage to organize my own open photo sessions with other photographers, I invited designers and aspiring models to collaborate with them. I came up with a production and launched Fotografia Enigmatica.

Fotografia Enigmatica by El Mundo photographer in Cebu

This photo was digitally manipulated. Raw photos were taken last May 2014 on the first part of the open photo shoot I personally organized entitled Fotgorafia Enigmatica. (Models- top L-R: Kris Chan, Queenie Bagcat, and Raymond Santiago; bottom L-R: Mary Elizabeth Lacandazo, Gelo Qui, and Florence Quiapo)

Fotografia Enigmatica digital photography by El Mundo photographer in Cebu

This photo was taken May 2014 during the second leg of Fotografia Enigmatica. (Model: Kaye Ivane Marie)

Looking back at it, I could say that it was not as successful as I think it should have been, but I was still happy that I was able to learn the things that I never thought I could do.

My Last Thoughts About Envy and Photography

Because of envy, I realized that we could obtain something positive about something.

Yes, I was envious but I did not let this deadly sin took over my passion.

In fact, I use envy to compel me to continue my passion of capturing great photos!

How about you? What compels you to become a great photographer?

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  • I started photography during my 2nd year in college. I used a point-and-shoot camera and I fell in love with capturing the daily things I see around me which also led me to become a photojournalist for the student pub.

    It’s therapeutic how you can capture the core emotions by the daily stuff people do.

    Sadly, I stopped due to a lot of reasons. I have to say, I missed shooting people with my camera. 🙂

    • Thanks for this Totem. And wow! I agree with you when you said that it was therapeutic when you capture core emotions of people in a daily basis.

      When I was in college, due to lack of the gears I have not been able to be part of our college paper as a photographer, however I was the layout artist, so people depend on me on how can I make the photos look better through post processing. (So seeing other photos being published was making me more envious – a deadly sin indeed. LOL)

      Anyways, may be if we could have some common time together, we could have some random photo walks and shoot!

  • Thelittlelai: Beyond limits / October 6, 2016 AT 1:19 AM

    This is such a good read, if envy was what drove you to pursue your passion in photography, I was pushed by a broken relationship and that drove me to travel most of the time, and eventually made me become a Travel blogger. We all own different reasons, why we came up to whatever we do now. I didn’t envision myself becoming a blogger since then, if I haven’t arrived at my most downiest moment, I didn’t know that I have passion in writing. Your post is really relatable, I really enjoy reading it and I learned a lot as well.

    • Thanks for this Lai. Reading your comment made me feel that I should go to your blog and read more of what you talk about your travel. *excited* Because honestly, I really appreciate who had been pushed to pursue things because of a downtime in life. It takes courage to do so. In line with my photography skills, I was not at my best when I tried it. I was hesitant because there were a lot of good photographers out there, but I told myself ‘I am not here to compete with them, however I am here to showcase what I can do.’

  • Hi, Twin! Reading your blog is like turning the pages of a photo album that was so damn popular in the 90s–it’s so nostalgic. Every paragraph urges me to develop an image that shows who you are. As your friend, I can only give you pictures of life lessons through my words to guide you on your chosen light. Life is really a blend of chiaroscuro and Technicolor. Every bright rise and dark fall will always help you to be you. You always have a shot in life, and I saw through your photos that you really captured that opportunity. With that said, I hope you catch every wonderful moment with your heart. I’m so proud of your brilliant achievements. I’m looking forward to see more of your masterful pictures here and in IG. I’ll always be here for you and I’ll be waiting for the zoom of your career. Kudos! – C

  • I love the concept of your production. I was envious of people taking good photos too which was why I wanted to buy a camera to start taking decent photos but turned out it wasn’t as easy as that.

    Unlike you, I’m not so much into post-processing at this point though. I guess I’ll get there soon. I’m very enthusiastic when it comes to taking photos so for now, I just practice and practice.. And explore. 🙂

  • A lot of things are driven by envy. We actually sometimes mistake desire by envy. I do not think it is a sign to want what others want. The sin is coveting what others own. Desire actually leads to commitment then to passion then to success. I think you are are pretty close to success already. Keep pursuing your goals and always be “High Intensity”. Shoot me sometime. 😉

  • Foureyed laagan / October 9, 2016 AT 4:30 PM

    Each of us has its own specialty in photography and yours is unique and it’s great, I liked it!

    I also love photography but I am using smart phones since then because I don’t own a DSLR. Well, I don’t have plans yet to buy one but maybe soon. I’ll control myself to not be envious to buying one and be contented with what I have for the moment and take that to nurture my skills in Photography.

    T’was a good read!

  • Rome of Basta Bisaya / October 9, 2016 AT 5:10 PM

    I envy you. Nindot imong photos! Hahahaha. Bitaw, I wanted to take good pics, too. Currently, though, naglisod pa ko kay I’m still trying to take good pics through experience but sige lang. I should learn fast kay good pics + good blog post = awesome! Para lain na sad ang ma-envy sa atong blog. Mehehehe.

  • I believe you’re a great photographer, Mo! You have amazing shots! And yes, we all need something that would trigger and motivate us to pursue our passion. Envy is also one of mine! I think it is for most of us. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, Mo! 😀

    x, Kat of Nested Thoughts

  • Great shots! I also started doing mobile photography because I was a little jealous of people who can actually pull of great shots by using any mobile phone. Haha!

  • As far as catalysts go, I think envy is not that bad! At least there wasn’t an actual victim on the receiving end! And you actually got started! Hahaha. Personally, I think it was several years ago when I really started getting into film and appreciating the cinematography, raw look of everything and how beautifully framed a lot of the shots were in my now favorite movies. In a way, I guess I just wanted to emulate them while at the same time, do it in my own terms. Not that photography is my biggest things though as I have too many things that I wanna do. Hahaha.

  • Jullian Robin Sibi / October 10, 2016 AT 11:35 AM

    What a nice insight on how you got into photography, Moh! I love doing photography but I love to challenge myself by limiting to just mobile photography. Smartphones have reached a point where they can surpass point and shoot cameras. I can’t wait to know if it can get even better.

  • I am an amateur photographer and ever since I was a child, I love taking photos of others. Mostly candid shots and showing other people’s true expressions especially when they are not aware.

    This is a nice outlook on photography. Good job Mo.

  • I also love taking pictures since then but I just simply take photos and that’s it. Good thing I met my partner who’s really good into taking pictures. He taught me the basics like the rule of thirds, prioritizing straight horizons at all times and learning how to create good compositions before snapping a picture. Post process is also a tedious part, I’m learning the basics of lightroom and I guess I have to learn a lot more.

  • Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures! / October 15, 2016 AT 1:35 AM

    We all have our reasons why we start out/pursue certain things.

    I took CompEng in college because I saw my brother solder circuits and I wanted to do the same (I should have taken ECE or EE, huh?). I “gave up” the want to code and make circuits to pursue a “career” in writing so I could work from home and be with my kiddo. Yep, I could have pursued web dev, of course, but I had no experience and the situation does not allow me to slack. I always loved writing and so I decided to make a living out of it. 🙂

  • I started to love taking pictures when I got inclined to photojournalism in school. That was the time when deviant art was still popular. 🙂

  • Chris Climaco / October 16, 2016 AT 9:45 AM

    A great photographer like you Moh can be in a photography magazine, your skills in photography are so amazing.

  • Channel Marie Imperial / October 16, 2016 AT 12:07 PM

    I love photography so much that I didn’t even buy a DSLR until now! Would love to learn to capture candid closeup shots soon. Would love to get more advice from you. Hehehehe!


  • AJ of Wandering Soul Scamper / October 16, 2016 AT 3:58 PM

    I started as a photojournalist alao way back in highschool and stopped on my senior high years for other reasons and bigger school responsibilities. I really missed the excitement and fullfillment that I could get from capturing the beutiful world with the lens. The genuine emotions of the people when doing candid photography is really amazing.

    I just got back to this photography thing when I’m in the corporate world. Guess when you pre loved that hobby you will always find ways to do it once more!

    I do believe I can learn a lot from you in terms of photography.

  • Richie Bunalos / October 17, 2016 AT 7:17 AM

    Envy and Sloth are my sins.. mostly. 🙂
    Love the shots Mo, hope I can learn a thing or two from you on how to do it.