Saturday, February 23, 2008



To get to Henry's "Glimmer of Hope" fiickr photo page, please click here
About The Photo:

“One of the images I took for the Lighting II Challenge in May. This was taken inside the abandoned Brickworks factory in Toronto. I very seldom take a shot that includes me but I felt compelled to have a human figure in this shot so I set up the camera on the tripod but forgot to change the settings. I sat there for what I thought was too long a time. The long exposure overexposed the highlights but was able to tone it down to an acceptable degree.

Shot in raw mode. I adjusted the white balance for a warm feel and further saturated the yellow. I cloned out the over-exposed areas on my leg leaving just enough to show that the light was directly hitting it. I did some burning here and there. I used Neat Image and sharpened the image after cropping and resizing.”

Camera: Canon EOS-20D
Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
Location: Toronto Brickworks
Date: May 20, 2005
Aperture: f22
ISO: 100
Shutter: 25 secs


I first saw Henry Roxas’ stunningly dramatic photo a year or so ago, when a photographer-friend asked me to check out dpchallenge’s website. I remember mumbling “parang sine” (like a movie scene) as my eyes followed that streak of light shining on a seemingly forlorn man (posed by Henry himself, so this is also a self-portrait).

I’ve all but forgotten about this outstanding photograph, and seeing it as one of the 50 entries in our first weekly contest was like running into a long-lost friend. At the end of the week, “Glimmer of Hope” was declared the runaway winner, a distinction I believe it justly deserves.

Manila-born, accountant-by-profession, fourth-child-of-five Henry moved to Toronto to join the rest of the family when he was 20; although only three of his siblings are now in Toronto (one is in NY). His first encounter with a camera was at 10 years old when he was asked to take someone’s photos:

“It wasn’t a particularly big camera but it was heavy and made a loud click when I pressed the shutter. Being the pakialamero that I was, and my fascination with things that had moving parts, I played with it for a few minutes and instantly loved it, I finished the roll of film on the couple (my cousins),” Henry reminisced.

“Surprisingly, some of the photos came out well even though I had no idea what I was doing. I was then given a camera by a relative and I have been shooting since then: mostly family photos, trips and our dogs and flowers in the garden. Because film and processing were expensive, and with great opposition from family members, the hobby was put aside in favor of something that was more important.”

When Henry had the means to pick up the hobby again, he seemed to have done so with a vengeance -- and while his first digital camera was "a no-frills 1-megapixel Kodak DC3200" -- he now lists the following as his “shooting array”:

Canon 5D and a variety of lenses:

(1) Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM
(2) Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM
(3) Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM
(4) Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II
(5) Sigma EX 105mm f2.8 Macro
(6) Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
(7) Olympus AF 50mm f1.8 (with macro coupling ring)
(8) Lensbaby

And as if to prove that “first love (for film) never dies,” Henry also has
a Holga and a Lomo LCA which he uses from time to time.

“I would like to do more film photography again,” Henry commented.

When asked who or what the main influence in his photography style is, Henry replied:

“I like a number of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson (candid and street photography), James Nachtwey (his present day war editorials) Robert Maplethorpe (flowers/still life), Yousuf Karsh (portraiture), William Eggleston, Tillman Crane etc., though I wouldn’t say they influence my type of photography since I don’t do those types of photos. If I were to do them, they would be my inspiration. I don’t know yet what type of photography I’d like to concentrate on although I tend to gravitate to darkness and dramatic lighting.”

“There is an abundant talent in the Flickr community and they inspire me whenever I'm having a photographer's block, which happens to me a lot. :),” he added.

When I asked him what type of photography or photographic subject interests him these days, he simply stated “Anything that presents itself to me in its natural way. But I would like learn seeing light in a more creative way, if there is such a thing. I say that because light is the raw material of photography, whether artificial or not. I'm a sucker for available light, needless to say I'm not very fond of strobes/flash and other studio lighting equipment although I have them, I don't get to use them much. I would like to produce photos that are edgy. I don't know if that's something that's learned.”

What does Henry “foresee” about his photography in the next five years?

“I have a couple of things in mind that I would like to do. First, a body of work that explores human body parts photographed in an unconventional way. The “unconventional part” I haven’t envisioned yet. Second, to document an ordinary person’s everyday life, preferably male, exploring the good, the bad and the ugly/dark existense of this persona. I have pretty much conceptualized this in my head. When time permits and depending on the availability of a model, I would like to get started on this. I'm a little excited about
this since the entire project would not show this person's face. The idea is to create a story around this faceless individual and his surroundings. I envision this second project to take years to complete. I hope to have these two projects published as a book or shown in a gallery. Having said that, I do not foresee myself becoming a professional photographer, nor do I work towards it.”

Henry lists the following photos as the ones that best define him, as he ended the Interview with “I just like them because they're dark:
Not quite skyscrapers
-- from Henry Roxas - (?)

-- from Henry Roxas - (?)

-- from Henry Roxas - (?)

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