Hi Anne! Can you introduce yourself?
Hi Filippo! I’m Anne Lorraine Uy, a 22 year-old freelance photographer. I do a lot of different shoots for a living but my heart is really set on creative conceptual photography. I have a series of photostories that are my personal works which are based on inspired fantasies and stories.
I’ve read in your website you live in Philippines: what’s it like to be a young creative in such an interesting place?
I don’t live in the capital city, so it’s not as exciting as I’d like it to be—honestly. Haha! I’m based in a quaint and homey island called Cebu. :) There are some opportunities for young creatives here but it’s not as rampant or lucrative since our lifestyle requires us to be more practical than anything else.
I see. You studied Information Technology: can you tell us anything about this?
Basically it’s programming, theory, problem solving, Management Information Systems and anything IT related. I took it as a course because I had an initial interest in web designing. I’ll let you in on a little secret (although maybe not quite anymore), I really wished I followed my heart and went for a fine arts degree straight.
But on my birth month in September, I’m making up for it by enrolling for a Diploma in Professional Photography at the Photography Institute. Wish me luck!
Good luck! Let’s go with the classic question about your life as photographer: when and how did you get passionated about cameras and lens?
I always had a camera with me ever since I was little, be it the Kodak kiddie cam, ordinary film camera or digicam. I got my first dSLR when I was 18 after I tipped my relatives about my wishlist. Ever since then I’ve been madly in love with photography.
Your photographs can be gathered in what you define as ‘photostories’. Can you tell us anything about your first experiments? What have been first photostories?
I always liked how flexible photography was. There are so many genres and types and possibilities! It’s amazing really and just thinking about it all makes my heart excited. I tended to lean on having photoshoots based around an idea I babied (a lot of times for months), inspired from anything—books, music, people, fashion, culture, movies, etc! It all began in 2009 with a cute cosplayer friend of mine, Alandia, who also was my first official model. You can see previews and all of the photostories I’ve done over the years here.
Would you define your pictures as ‘stories’ or ‘still moments’?
It depends! Some of my photos I am happy to say that I have hit the point of what I was really trying to do, like this one from my photostory Requiem of a Dream.
That single photo itself makes me feel there’s more to the image, like there’s a story waiting to be told and a feeling to be felt. The others can probably be still moments, like my client works. This maternity shoot for instance, is a still moment I think all loving mothers can relate to; the peaceful loving waiting of a mother for the heart inside her womb.
Can you remember your first photoshoot as a pro?
As a pro? I’m not really sure what you mean. Haha! I’m not yet a professional, although I’m aiming for that the soonest I can. :) Maybe the closest to being a pro for me would have to be my shooting for national magazines. I flew to the capital city while I was still in university to shoot for a popular tween magazine’s editorial. It was both nerve-wrecking and exciting. My first glimpse and experience about how real commercial photoshoots go—like having a stylist, creative director, makeup artist and even the editor—interacting with me felt so surreal, yet natural at the same time. I think it was even easier than organizing my own shoots, since I didn’t have to post-process after! Or maybe it was just coz the team at the tween magazine were all so nice. Haha. Either way, that was an amazing experience and I’m really thankful to the Lord for that opportunity even up to now.
Can you tell us anything about your typical creative process?
Sure. It all starts with either an idea that interests me a lot, or a model that instantly gives me something like an epiphany! When I dwell on the idea and think of possible frames and scenes, I get to work gathering props (if I need any), finalizing with the model and makeup artist for the dates, then think of a location (there are lots of nice naturey locations here in Cebu). I try to give pegs and stories if I feel that the shoot is quite conceptual, like how a director talks to an actor. Most of the time the model doesn’t really get me (this skill I need to practice more), but I still end up with shots I like since I’m really patient with them. My personal shoots usually lasts for more than 4 hours. I don’t rush my photostories in the editing department, because I feel that my best works are always made when I give myself freedom over everything—especially time.
You realize beautiful maternity photoshoots: what is your approach with the mother (and the baby!)?
Oh. Honestly shooting maternity has been really new to me. I was commissioned to shoot maternity photos but it was never really my forte, or my main intention. I think the photos ended up really beautiful because of the mothers themselves, loving their children wholeheartedly. I’m thankful I was able to translate that feeling of theirs into the photos for their keeping.
I think the photographer has to have a genuine interest in both of them and realize the beauty of it all for him to take more than the usual maternity photos. :)
What are you working on these days?
I have some client portraiture and engagement shoot backlog. I’ll be flying to Australia next week so I’ll have an almost month long break from photography work. So excited to be doing travel photography and bonding with people I love again. It gets quite drying when all I do are client work so this is definitely a good refresher for me.
What advices would you give to who wants to become a full-time photographer?
NEVER give up too easily. If you have a strong dream, fight for it. Be ready to sacrifice and suffer for it (depending on where you live). The road is never easy at the start, but if you really feel like you have something different to give out and do in life then you should do all you can to be stubborn enough to stick to it. I don’t earn much from my photography but I feel much more fulfilled and happy than when I was working in a big IT company. Practice every day and widen your knowledge, fill yourself with art and love and ideas, read different kinds of books, write to express yourself, pray everyday, try something that’s never done, and most of all, go out of your comfort zone if it means growing.
Thank you Anne, is there anything else would you like to say to our readers?
I’ve had some followers since my early days and I’m really thankful to you guys. I grew a lot from feedback and tips. I’ve read some of the interviews on this site and it’s amazing how everyone all over the world has a different kind of art to give. It’s amazing! Thank you Filippo for taking the time to create something like this, giving back to us in return. :)