Thru the Lens of Auey Santos

.what as I see as my camera captures it.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005 April 7, 2008

Filed under: Inspiration,San Francisco — aueysantos @ 3:35 pm

Almost everyone familiar with popular photography has heard of Annie Leibovitz. And even if you hadn’t heard of her, chances are you’ve been exposed to her work at one time or another. From shooting for Rolling Stone magazine, celebrity portraits, magazine covers for Vanity Fair and most recently, commercial work for the Gap, her portfolio is vast and wide. You can’t miss an exhibit like this…now showing at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco until May 25. For more information, the official website can be found here.

I got the chance to see the exhibit recently and if you are a portrait photographer, you MUST see it yourself. I plan on going back at least two more times. Included in the exhibit are Annie’s more famous celebrity portraits, like those of a pregnant Demi Moore, Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II. The exhibit features a very interesting room entailing the editing process of her photos, narrowing down her work by choosing from each year between 1990 and 2005.

But what I loved most were the photos from Annie’s personal life. I’ve always wondered how master photographers like Annie manage to record everyday events in their life. It’s always been challenge shooting my personal life – trying to keep an objective eye, maintain artistry and preserve the moments I know slip away so quickly like sand in hand. But when I snap away at my own children, and edit my work later – I always have difficulty selecting photos which I feel represent my life and my work. It was so reasuring to see the work of Annie and see how an ordinary day in her life can seem amazing and inspiring. While her snap shots were obviously not her works of high art, she captured moments that meant the world to to her.

When does one stop shooting your own life and start living it instead? At each party, vacation and road trip, I find myself behind the camera recording each smile and moment. But this is who I am. I cannot seperate my photographer self from my mom/wife self. Each photograph is honest. I realize that you take photos not always to idealize your life, but to immortalize it as your eyes see it.

Thanks, Annie for teaching me that.


Bellies and Babies with Sandy Puc March 28, 2008

Filed under: Babies,Business,Inspiration,Workshops — aueysantos @ 7:09 pm

Master photographer Sandy Puc was in San Francisco to give a seminar entitled “Bellies & Babies 2008,” as part of a 30-city tour. I’ve heard and read so much about her in the photography circles and publications, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear her speak. And since I had missed WPPI this year due my recent birth, I was hungry for some new marketing and creative ideas for the business.

I wasn’t disappointed and Sandy (aka Sam to family and friends) was an awesome speaker. She was engaging, quick-witted and darn talented. What mostly touched me was her extreme passion for her work. I know this sounds cliche, but Sandy was the true article. Her photography was the result of her not just her talent and creativity, but dedication, hard work and keen business sense. Her pet project is the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation  which is a organization of photographers who donate their time and talent for infant bereavement.

If you are a portrait photographer wanting to make a niche out of baby and maternity photography, I strongly recommend you attend her seminar when it comes to a town near you.


Ed Pierce: Captivated by the Light Seminar February 25, 2008

Filed under: Inspiration,Workshops — aueysantos @ 7:51 am

I just got back from the Captivated by the Light San Jose seminar today. And while it didn’t blow me away, it was okey.

The “workshop” was given by 33 year photography veteran Ed Pierce. Over a course of three hours, he gave short mini-lectures, interspersed with several short video presentations illustrating the topics discussed. There was a little studio set-up on stage but since the area was too small and the time limit short, the videos provided adequate visual for the basic concepts he tried to go over. The videos were actually pretty concise and had good production and education value. So good, that I decided to subscribe to his Photo Vision DVD magazine, promo price of $39 for workshop goers.

The main meat of the workshop was understanding light: quality, quantity and direction. He went over various possible lighting scenarios for both studio and location set-ups. He also discussed ways and tools to modify light. Of course, a basic book on studio lighting could tell you the same thing. However, if you are an amateur or beginning photographer and have never taken a lighting workshop in your life, this seminar could provide you with the fundamentals.

The pace of the workshop was well-timed. The topics were organized well and it flowed. Ed was an engaging and humorous speaker. And oh, there was a little mini-raffle which was kinda cool. Uncool was not winning anything. Darn.

Oh, and don’t get misled by the seminar website. Many photographers were mistaken in thinking that the seminar would feature other leading industries photographer “hotties” Sandy Puc, Jeff and Julia Woods, Parker Pfister, among others. Well in fact, these other quote-unquote participants are actually featured in a free DVD that comes with the seminar registration. Since the video presentations were so well made, I’m actually looking forward to watching the DVD freebie tonight.
All in all, not too shabby for 4 hours of my time and $19 (with PPA discount). The Captivated by the Light workshop is touring 68 cities nationwide. Check and see if there’s a city near your hometown.


OSP West 2008 Napa February 19, 2008

Filed under: Inspiration,Personal,Portraits — aueysantos @ 8:37 am

I jump at every chance I can get to connect and bond with other photographers. But it isn’t always easy to meet up with people who you might consider your “competition” in the industry. I never felt that kind of vibe from the people of Open Source Photo (OSP), an online photography forum that I belong to. Over the weekend, the West Coast edition of OSP got together in Napa for a fun-filled 3 day weekend of shooting, learning and bonding. Although I could only afford to spend one day at the convention, it was truly worth the trip. Everyone has an open attitude towards helping lift each other up creatively and in the business-sense. I am only so lucky to have met such a talented bunch of photographers.

Here are some of my favorite photos from Sunday’s shoot at OSP West.


Nurturing Moments: An Exhibit August 8, 2007

Filed under: Inspiration,Maternity,Personal — aueysantos @ 4:17 pm

It has recently come to my attention that Mommy Matters, a Manila-based clothesline geared towards nursing moms is sponsoring a photo exhibit featuring some of my photos. Other participating artists are Pilar Tuason and Mary Rose Pena.

Breastfeeding has always been an advocacy of mine since I had my first child in 2003. I breastfed my son until he was 1 1/2 years old. Sadly in the Philippines, breastfeeding education is sorely lacking. Most new mothers are discouraged in the early phases, are dissuaded by elders that formula is better than mother’s milk or simply are not guided through the process. Education is key. I try to do my part by spreading the word of the benefits of breastfeeding, for both mother and child, to my own circle of influence. If you are pregnant and are interested in breastfeeding, try contacting your local chapter of La Leche League for more information and support.

Nurturing Moments: An Exhibit is sponsored by Mommy Matters, Best Friends in Breastfeeding and PACE supported by Unicef and the office of Senator Pia Cayetano. The exhibit just finished its run at Glorieta and will be at the East Avenue Medical Center Lobby tomorrow until August 10.



Meeting Matthew Jordan Smith June 23, 2007

Filed under: Inspiration,Workshops — aueysantos @ 12:23 am

I’m just fresh off attending two great days at the Golden Gate School of Photography, held at Mills College in Oakland. I studied under one of America’s top portrait photographers Matthew Jordan Smith for his course entitled: “Turning Passion Into Profit: Contemporary Portraits”.

I had first read about Matthew Jordan Smith in a Photography magazine and later watched him on America’s Next Top Model. I knew he was a top celebrity and fashion photography but seeing his work up close and personal just blew me away. His personality made the initial impact because he was the genuine article: a true artist with passion for his work and making people feel good and ultimately, look good.

So for two days, we poured over various topics from producing the photography session, motivating the subject, mastering light set-ups, dealing with clients and branding work.

It was an awesome two days, learning and refreshing our minds to come back to work with new ideas and new motivation!





Martin Munkasci: Think While You Shoot May 26, 2007

Filed under: Inspiration — aueysantos @ 12:42 am


Whether you are a professional, amateur photographer or a photography enthusiast, I highly suggest you visit the Martin Munkacsi exhibit now featured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It runs until September 16, 2007.

If you are a sports or event photographer, you will marvel at Munkacsi’s mastery of the decisive moment. If you are fashion or celebrity photographer, you will enjoy his early celebrity portraits of Fred Astaire and Frieda Kahlo. His hiring by media magnate William Randolph Hearst in the 40s perhaps established him as one of the first celebrity photographers of his time. If you are a portrait artist, you’ll marvel at his spontaneous in-motion style which laid the groundwork for contemporary portraiture today.

The celebrated Hungarian born photo-journalist (1896-1963) is probably lesser known than his contemporary Cartier-Bresson or Robert Kappa. In fact after his death in 1963, he was virtually forgotten. But seeing his exhibit realized how much of my work aspiration is influenced and inspired by Munkacsi’s style and fashion-forward vision. I was a huge Munkacsi fan without even knowing it.