If Miss Universe2015 Pia Wurtzbach is confidently beautiful with a heart, Jhay Ramos on the other hand, proudly says to confidently SHOOT with a heart.
Those were the words that this 35-year old Photojournalist from Plaridel believes in. As the famous idiomatic expressions goes, “a picture paints a thousand words,” Ramos pour his heart and thoughts out through the art of Photojournalism.
It was year 2009 when the doors opened for Ramos as a Layout and Graphics Designer at the Municipality of Plaridel. Doing the job as the photographer wasn’t in the picture nor his job description at all until the day that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to visit the town.
For documentation purposes, he was entrusted to take photographs of the president’s arrival at Plaridel and little did he know that he actually has the eye for ‘good’ pictures for his shots were appreciated well and he was praised by his fellow employees and since then, being the official photographer of the municipality also became his job.
“Dito lang talaga nag-start ‘yong interes ko sa photography. No’ng una, no’ng nagustuhan na nila, nagre-request sila ng much better shots. Wala akong formal education o training about it, tanong-tanong lang sa mga kaibigan at kilalang professional, attend ng seminars, tanong lang tapos apply agad,” Ramos explained.
This unexpected turn of events for Ramos made him indulge into this new world and as this was all new to him, he had his own ways of coping up and improving himself into this field. As he goes places, he had taken a liking to the people and events he encountered.
One of the things he loved about it is that he is able to see and capture one of the genuine smiles from the public servants, emotions from different people he sees and meets on various events and programs.
“Nakakatuwang i-shot ‘yong mga bata kasi ‘yong emotions nila parang no filter. Kung ano ‘yong makita mo, ‘yon ‘yon, as it is. Tapos parang tumatagal na nagugustuhan ko ‘yong photography, parang gusto ko i-try ‘yong ganito, gusto ko i-try ‘yong ganyan. Hanggang sa lumawak nang lumawak,” Ramos expressed.
Furthermore, aside from taking care of the documentation of every program, he also works on the official newspaper of the municipality: Tinig ng Plaridel and all of the photos used for the newsletter were all his.
Trial and Error
A beginning also comes with struggling. Everyone experiences trials as they live on their lives. Hard as it may seem, but without it, no one would be that better person they are right now.
Like any other person who struggle in the beginning of particularly everything, Ramos also didn’t start out well in the first day of his work. The fact that it was his first time doing the layout of their local newsletter, plus the taking and selecting photos for every article caused him to limp in the first few days of his run.
“No’ng unang una nahihirapan ako kasi, first time ko maglayout ng magazine, tapos ako pa ‘yong nagphophoto, so siyempre bukod sa pagseselect sa proper photos, ako ‘yong mismong nag-aayos sa articles. Kailangan mamimili ka pa, so medyo challenging sa’kin no’ng una,” he admitted.
But as Ramos went through, he learned how to do the trick in no time. Producing quality newsletters every now and then and gaining knowledge in both lay outing and graphics as well all throughout. It’s just a matter of how you practice, according to him.
The challenge when it comes to the lay outing of their newsletter is only one of the few things he encounters in his line of work. As a photographer, he stated that one of his struggles is whenever there are sudden events.
“Usually kasi, kumbaga sa news, live, doon hindi ko alam kung paano ko siya madidiskartehan, usually nahihirapan talaga ako. So ginagawa ko, kung ano lang ‘yong makita ng mata ko, ‘yon na ang pinipitik ko, hindi ko na siya inaangguluhan,” Ramos stated.
According to him, this is the time where right on that moment when that event happens, he should be ready to be in action. These kinds of events require presence of mind and alertness, in order for him to capture the photos he need. Since there would be no time to plan the angling and other elements; he just captures every moment possible, without missing anything.
These obstacles he faced or continuously facing may be tough, but Ramos has proved and will always prove that he is tougher. Despite all of these, he still manages to do his work with competence and always comes up with his best outputs.
Tips to live by
With all the difficulties Ramos encountered, one can definitely say that he indeed bloomed as a better person. Incorporating all the knowledge and values he learned along the way, he was able to provide helpful tips and pieces of advice for every aspiring people out there.
- Know your gadget, be one with your camera. H’wag kayo maiilang sa camera niyo, hangga’t maaari, paglaruan niyo, kasi kaya ginawa ‘yan para pag-aralan, tapos h’wag kayo basta bibili agad ng camera, mas magandang ipundar niyo muna is ‘yong knowledge niyo about photography, camera kasi and’yan lang, may lumalabas pang bagong model.
- Balance is everything. Kahit anong camera ang hawak mo kahit digicam ‘yan or cellphone camera, kayang makipag-compete. Minsan na-prove ko ‘yan, cellphone ko lang ang gamit ko, ang kalaban ko dslr tapos nanalo pa rin cellphone ko, so techniques lang and knowledge. Basics, basics, basics. Know your camera. P’wede niyo siyang paglaruan.
- More natural, more beautiful. Sabi nila, number one rule daw sa photography is never use flashes. Ako naniniwala ako, kasi halos lahat ng photos ko, natural light. Kasi nagbibigay siya ng drama. ‘tsaka ‘yong skin mapapansin niyo, original.
- Think ahead. Kailangan kung ano ‘yong nakikita mo, kailangan lumabas sa camera mo. Kasi kapag hindi nag-sync parehas yan, ‘yong gusto mong photos na dapat mangyari, hindi ‘yon ang kalalabasan. So kailangan parehas siya. Iniisip mo palang kung ano ‘yong dapat kalabasan.
- Make them feel. Once na tiningnan mo ang isang photo, parang alam mo na na may gustong ipahiwatig. Nararamdaman mo, ‘yong mismong pictures nangungusap na. Kapag may titingin ng pictures ko, gusto ko maramdaman din ‘yong naramdaman ko.
- Be always in action, stay alert. Kailangan in action palagi, wag hihiwalay. Kapag dumating sa’yo ‘yong moment, kunyari tumawa si Gloria, kapag nawala ‘yon, wala na eh, ‘yong event na ‘yon. Sayang, so kailangan maging mabilis ka, dapat ando’n ka parati. Kailangan malikot ang mata mo, imahinasyon mo.”
- Be ready. Kailangan complete ang pack mo. Battery mo, memory card mo, kasi mahirap. Mahirap maubusan ng memory card or battery, kung kalian importanteng event at saka ka palang maghahanap ng bala mo.
- Enjoy. ‘Wag kang papaapekto. Halimbawa wala ka sa mood, iwanan mo kasi once na mawalan ka ng gana, nagrereflect ‘yan sa mga photos mo kaya always enjoy the moment. Sabi ko nga, kung ano ‘yong nararamdaman mo habang kinukuha ‘yong litrato, ‘yon din ‘yong i-reflect mo sa output mo.
- Never stop learning. Aral lang, as I said. P’wede kayong sa digicam lang, hindi naman lahat ng tao kayang makabili ng dslr, pwede naman kasing gumamit nalang ng cellphone or digicam. Importanteng importante sa lahat is knowledge, aral kayo ng photography, lightings lahat.
- Keep dreaming, keep shooting.
These are the few tips that Ramos shared that also helped him before when he joined various contests. He already made name in several photography contests as he bagged first place in two photography contests. On the other hand, aside from working in their local newsletter, Ramos also engages in other organizations like Bulacan Camera Club and Focus Bulacan. He is also a member of a choir in their parish church. Every month, he joins the photo contest of Focus Bulacan to improve his skills further.
Though he already learned and experienced a lot in the field of photography/photojournalism, he claims that he still has a long way to go. Learning never stops for him, as long as the interest and passion is there. You just have to keep believing and striving for a better outcome.
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”
–Jeimi Belleen P. Aesquivel and Tricia Marie L. Cubillas