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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The soul catcher in EV

Here's some news about one of our Media Advocates in North Luzon. Congrats EV! This exhibit is long overdue. =)

Inquirer Northern Luzon
The soul catcher in EV
By Elizabeth Lolarga
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 00:42:00 02/11/2009

MANILA, Philippines – His training as a stage and street theater director has enabled photojournalist Edgardo V. Espiritu, known as “EV,” to put his subjects at ease.

This quality is borne out in his first solo show of photographs, “Soul Catcher,” at Bliss CafĂ© at Hotel Elizabeth on Gibraltar Road in Baguio City. It runs till Feb. 13.

By not posing as a threat to these subjects, they are able to move naturally without any self-consciousness and thus bare their souls before him.

Among indigenous peoples, not just of the Cordillera but also Native Americans, a photographer’s equipment is believed to capture their souls so they have been reluctant to this day to pose before a camera.

After years of dealing with actors, Espiritu, 49, says, “You don’t motivate them by feeding them lines. You let the player or subject move until what is natural comes out.”

What holds true for the stage seems to work with his Cordillera subjects. He spent years organizing and running the theater group Tropang Paltok (the last word meaning “peak” or “zenith”), even choreographing moves for prize-winning cheer dancers for a Baguio university where he worked as a physical education teacher.

All that training wasn’t lost when he accidentally became a photographer for the now defunct community paper Gold Ore. He was hired as an advertising solicitor. During his long walks looking for ads, he took pictures of anything that interested him.

His big break with the Inquirer came with Typhoon “Feria” when City Camp in Baguio got flooded. That earned him a big picture spread on the front page. While other photojournalists rushed to the site of landslides, Espiritu removed himself from the pack and concentrated on the big flood. The irony of it was copies of next day’s newspaper did not arrive because Baguio was isolated at that time.