Fontainebleau, The Market

I’ve been keeping this article at bay because writing about one of my happiest places is not an easy task. Like, I don’t know whether the words or photos would give it justice. In any case, I have learned to just go with my gut feel and now it’s telling me to reminisce and share some moments from 2018 in Fontainebleau, France.

Fontainebleau (/ˈfɒntɪnˌbl/French pronunciation: ​[fɔ̃tɛnblo])[2] is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 55.5 kilometres (34.5 mi) south-southeast of the centre of Paris.  (Source: Wikipedia)


Aside from the fantastic ambience of the whole town, what I really enjoyed during my stay here was the weekly market.


It’s an open-air market in the city center where I found so many things to photograph. But I just used my cellphone because when people saw me with my DSLR, they tend to ask questions in French which I cannot respond to back in their language. So, to remain low-key, used my phone.


I would have loved to have a translator or be fluent in the language so I could photograph the sellers and the people behind these stalls.


There was an array of items to choose from from furnitures, clothes, magic carpets! 😉


And the food – the amount of produce I wanted to indulge in was pretty spectacular. But I had my favorites.


This candied orange covered in chocolate was my absolute treat! I got it from a Turkish seller and was every bit perfect.


For the rest of the food I couldn’t eat alone, I just took photos.


And of course there has to be baguette’s! And the fresh seafood was a whole other story. The scallops, I could not resist – had some of those with a bit of butter and lemon.


I was amused to see them decorate the fish section with some roses. Trust me, you won’t see that in the Philippines.


The fruits smelled sooooo delish!


I really appreciated the respect they have for their produce and how they try to grow most organically (at least from what I saw in that market).


I stayed a while by the flowers, just to appreciate them and watch the florist put together instantly beautiful bouquets which I felt represented my life at the moment.


I wasn’t quite polished, but I found joy in the journey. And till now, it’s a process to seek that joy in everyday life.


That’s me in the palace grounds (for another article).


I found these old school lock and keys so charming!


Do I feel I’ve given justice to my one of my “happy places”: nope, but that’s fine. I had a good time putting this together and I hope you enjoyed an insight to one of my travels.


Artist Squat (Paris)

When I was younger, I wasn’t really around many artists, so I had little clue on how they worked or their place in the “rat race”. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was an artist. I was in denial for a time, but I’ve come to terms with it. Moreover, I realized that that they are an integral part of everyday lives. Imagine a life without art!


I became a photographer in 2006 when I moved to Toronto, Canada for postgraduate studies in marketing. My family said I needed to find a job to support myself and everyone was in shock when it was a job in the field of art.

Artist: Luigi La FerlaIMG_3185IMG_3172IMG_3166IMG_3159

Since then, I have had a few jobs – including corporate jobs; but I balance myself with the artist inside me. I grew up in Manila, and as of writing, art is not a priority in the country. Reasonably so, due to the socio-economic status of majority of the population.IMG_3193IMG_3197IMG_3199IMG_3203IMG_3210

When I was invited to exhibit in Paris, it was also my first time in Europe – so imagine my excitement! I researched places to go and came across 59 Rivoli’s Artist Squat. IMG_3369IMG_3368

Work by Omar Mahfoudi.IMG_3361

Imagine a place where you can interact with artists using multi-mediums and of various disciplines – SOLD!

IMG_3383I loved how Luca Pellizzari held his pencil with such grace.


Through the work of each individual, one could truly sense the world in their mind’s eye. The following artist is David Twose.IMG_3245IMG_3255IMG_3247


“Fuck! Pas de Wi-Fi” installation by Gaspard Delanoe.IMG_3339IMG_3328

Artist photographed below is Eve Tesorio.IMG_3365

It was a pleasure exchanging stories and delving deeper into their world.

Sandra Chérès


I spoke lengthily with two artists, first is Sandra because I was inspired to see how simple pages can be transformed to a piece amalgamated with such meaning.IMG_3406IMG_3405

The last artist I spoke with was Helen – absolutely adored the simple complexities in her work! It spoke so much to me and we lengthily chatted about a collaboration (if you’re reading this, I’m still on that!).IMG_3398

Helene Fromen

How she transforms simple curves and lines into shapes and forms that invoke such emotion and meaning is a present mystery.IMG_3414IMG_3391IMG_3396IMG_3420Should I have not been traveling with one suitcase, I would have shopped for some art here. But I remain optimistic, who knows – one day I’ll return and buy tons of art from these amazing artists! If you are in a position to do so, I say visit the place and support artists.

Photos and words: @RitzMarie

Another Dimension (Paris)

I traveled to France for my first solo exhibition, “Stardust.” at Arbillo Galerie.

TV Coverage: RitzMarie, Paris “Stardust.” Exhibit from ritzmarie on Vimeo.

Waking up in Paris was like stepping into a world I’ve only dreamt about, which was astounding because it was like living inside a dreamscape.


The play of light and shadows in the air was almost like watching a ballet performance unfold before my very eyes.


The sun revealed such beauty in the day and the night sparkled like a treasure to many.


These places and have witnessed such intense aspects of humanity – from love and war. Everything in between is just limbo for the city to recuperate from, to breathe.


The following was written with the streets of Paris as an inspiration:

Dearest Wildfleur,

The spectrum which connects moonshine to sunlight is marvelously awakened by broken pieces of dust that once was, whose lights are yearning to rise, yet again…


Photos & Words: @RitzMarie

KM43 x RzMcs (Poblacion)

Clients usually like a controlled environment, thus a studio setup is the go-to scenario.


I need not elaborate on what harsh conditions can be brought about by an outdoor shoot with unpredictable weather. But, it is in my vision as an artist to have cities as my backdrops.


KM43 is a slow fashion label focused on gaining appreciation for local weaves and textiles around the Philippines.


One of the things I love about working with home-grown brands is that there is great room for flexible creativity. Much things can be done with a small and efficient team. When I met Kana Manglapus of KM43, it was early in the morning in the streets of Poblacion, Makati. I quickly agreed to do the shoot because it was something no other fashion brand has approached me for before.


So when Kana approached me, I immediately said “Let’s do it!” I don’t think I even let her finish her explanation because I already sympathized with her vision.


I was beyond happy for her when this brand hit the circuits of The Hollywood Reporter and WWD. I’m sharing these photos because I find her style so sincere and I hope that her brand goes a long way up!


Brand: KM43
Makeup by: Sydney Helmsley
Photos by: RitzMarie Creative Studio

Yukatas at Tenjin Matsuri

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I am not one to choose for myself to be in crowded places. However, I thought Japan is a pretty safe place to be in a crowd. So, I expanded my comfort zone and attended the summer festival in Osaka called, the Tenjin Matsuri.

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This Japanese summer drink is super refreshing and good!

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Tenjin Matsuri is the festival of the Tenmangu Shrine and honors its principle deity Sugawara Michizane, the deity of scholarship. The festival begins by ceremonially inviting the deity out of the shrine and parading him through the city, carrying out various exuberant festivities to entertain him, before taking him back to the shrine. For the people, the lively festivities manifest in a wonderful occasion to enjoy the hot summer day, filled with traditional costumes, spectacular processions and a celebratory atmosphere.

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Sidenote: I am open to being commissioned by all designers as a visual artist/photographer. I am enamored by the sense of fashion and would love to learn more.

In my short two-week stay there, I have not seen the streets so crowded (but with utmost discipline). What drew me out, really were the yukatas! I just had to see more of them and with each turn, there was a new pattern that stared right back at me.

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My non-lingual communication skills and photography was really put into test here because I know only a few Japanese words and most of them belonged in a restaurant’s menu. I love “uni” (sea urchin), “sushi” (duh!), “tamago” (egg), “mochi” (just search it, specially with the fresh frozen fruits inside!). I digress, anyway the Japanese and I used body language and pointing towards the camera and smiling and I got the shots I didn’t even know I would capture.

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The funniest thing I got from my non-English shoot was that in one of the groups, I took a photo of the girls with their yukatas, then the boys they were with who were wearing regular shirts turned to me and said, “What about me?” I laughed and took their photo.

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And so the story goes…

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Photography by Ritz Marie
Captured in Osaka, Japan

59 Rivoli, Paris, France


It is a building filled with art and creators! Need I say more!?


Ok, fine,,, because there is an urge to do so. Let me preface this discussion in describing the experience akin to the journey Alice went through in a rabbit hole.


Each corner in the space was like entering a creative sanctuary.


As happenstance would have it, I found myself in this trip with Hannah Locsin who’s working her way through through the profession of modeling. We met at an event in Paris and hit it off. But, we may have really bonded when we shared the realities of our living conditions, that was a laughing matter.


Was refreshing to go through Wonderland with another wonderer while wandering.


There is much discomfort in a journey such as ours, but what I have come to learn is to enjoy the moment while respecting the process of growing pains.


Ang sakit eh – rumamdam at umusbong. Grabe.


To make the journey even more dynamic, we stepped into another artist’s corner who was inspired by her beauty.


He even drew her to life.


Then we continued to explore, with all eyes wide open – except for the two of our own.


It came to be an exercise in empathy, personally speaking.


The building on 59 Rivoli in the First Arrondissement of Paris, France is “Artist’s Squat.”

Model: Hannah Locsin (Women, Paris)
Photography: Ritz Marie


Working on another article showing the people we met.
So, stay tuned.

Odyssey: Osaka II (Canon AE-1 with Fuji film)

So after shooting with a disposable camera around Osaka, I decided to bring out my grandfather’s antique Canon AE-1 camera. I actually saw one displayed in the Canon showroom there before I decided to use it, the unit is much older than I am. Thankfully, I got some help figuring out the necessary technicalities from staff Yodobashi Umeda, a store I frequented during my stay.

He was the one that helped me figure out the technicalities of the Canon AE-1 camera. He said, “Good camera!” it is in great shape after all these years in storage.
Fully manual settings and focus. My aunt is a very cooperative model.

After using the disposable camera, I remembered why film is great. However, after using it in fully manual mode with my grandfather’s camera, I remembered why film is love.

Shot at Hankyu Department Store on a weekend.
Visited the Louis Vuitton Time Capsule exhibit at Hankyu.


In as much as I adore my digitally captured photographs, there is something inexplicable when shooting with film. This exercise taught me to savor moments more, to be still when it’s dark and to have patience.

Behind the camera, I face the mirror – with a breathtaking view.

Though I’ve had the camera for ages, it was the first time I ever used it. I could almost hear it shout, “Use me!” in Japan. I’m glad I did. I used quite a lot of film on the Osaka skyline.


Also practiced capturing defining moments in street photography. Must say, takes a lot of patience. I would just stand still in one spot until there is an urge to press that shutter.


Streets are usually very chaotic but as I walked down these streets, it was actually very peaceful. I could almost feel my mind reorganize itself with more structured thoughts than just rely on what I feel – thanks Japan! Balance is key.


In relation to my previous post, I mentioned that personally, to travel is to experience light in different destinations. While shooting fully manual, I was more sensitive to the light that presented itself in various instances.


Personally, I realized the magic in the medium of photography when I researched on the etymology of the word. It was in 1839 that the term was coined by Sir John Herschel.

Photography” was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), “light” and γραφή (graphé) “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”, together meaning “drawing with light”.

Putting the technicality of the medium into consideration, it’s pretty amazing how this form came to be. I mean, if you really think about it photography does the following:

  1. It freezes a particular moment in time.
  2. Time stands still with the light captured.
  3. Those captured moments brings back memories.
  4. Remembering distinct memories brings you back in time.
  5. Essentially, it allows you to time travel!

I have no mathematical formula for this, but it sure would be interesting to converse with one who does.

I ran to get this shot, and I do not run (usually).

Point being: photography may be the only activity that allows one to capture light and still time in a form sensible to actual reality.

Ganiell Shimoda, Guest Service Manager of InterContinental Osaka. I spent time listening to his story, and it’s inspired.
Hospitable hosts at the lobby of InterContinental in their yukatas (summer kimonos).


I have had fond memories as a child in InterContinental Manila, it has been torn down since. However, those cherished memories seemed to have had a rebirth during my stay in Osaka. I honestly felt like a very independent five-year old human.

InterContinental Osaka Executive Chef Tobias Gensheimer in his yukata.


Without knowing the language, I was able to ask people to be part of my photographs. I surprised myself because the only Japanese term I know related to photography is “bokeh” and that does not come in very useful when asking someone for a photograph. I surprised myself, I guess it’s the courage of my inner child.

Fashion-wise I am particularly amazed, like really amazed, by their use of colors and prints.


Taken at the Grand Front Osaka during the summer festival.

I really admire seeing them wear their traditional garments, with the contrast of the modern environment – it’s a refreshing sight.

Night time cityscape of Osaka.


I am very grateful to Japan for being the safe place where I was able to bring out the child in me once again.

Photography: Ritz Marie
Osaka, 2018

Odyssey: Osaka (Fuji disposable camera)

People travel for many different reasons. Personally speaking, I travel to experience light in different destinations. I mean that literally and figuratively speaking. The former has more to do with how the earth moves while the latter is more focused on the brightness that comes from within each being.


The interplay between the sun and the light in our souls is a topic that has consumed my thoughts lately.

InterContinental Hotel Lobby, Osaka, Japan


Doing what I do, being a photographer, capturing light is my livelihood. Though only when necessary do I use strobes, the studio, or other artificial sources of light.


The way light fell over Japan highly was highly interesting and shooting with a disposable camera, meaning there were no manual functions was an old experience I enjoyed remembering.


I always frequented this one yakitori place and on my last meal there, I asked for a photo of the staff. Every time, I only saw three of them (it had an open kitchen) but when I asked to take a photo of them, six of them came out to my surprise.

When I started taking photos at a very young age, I did it to remember – to still a memory. My very first tool was a green Canon Advantix (it was a short-lived kind of film) point and shoot camera. Being an automated camera, I gave little thought to the technicalities, all I would ask myself was, “flash or no flash?” But because a roll of film is limited to 36 shots (maximum), I would save those frames for when the moment presented itself.

While walking the bridge, I noticed this man who seemed to be in deep contemplation. He was so still in his thoughts and barely moving.

Walking around Osaka with a fixed amount of shots (after shooting digital for so long) was a challenge. So before every press of the shutter, I would ask myself, “Is this moment worth keeping?”

I stood beside the man pictured above for a while to see what he was looking at and this was the view.

Real talk now, I think the year was 2016, October: I highly contemplated about quitting being a photographer. Work came to a place of stagnation, in my mind. I started working as a photographer 2006 and thought to myself, I’ve given ten years to this craft and I was still not satisfied where I found myself. I thought about selling my equipment and everything I had related to my current profession. In the process, I debated with myself. Eventually, I arrived at the realization that I was doing what I was doing half-heartedly because I let the negative perception of others affect my craft.


Choosing to pursue an artistic path is like walking through quicksand. In a career where vulnerability is a commodity, many times, it felt like the earth has swallowed me whole. However, I lived.


It took me two months to process my thoughts and feelings about my situation. On December 2016, I came to the conclusion that I needed to pursue this purpose further and most importantly, wholeheartedly. I muted the naysayers in my head and just kept doing what I love and capitalized on my talent. Many whom I held with high regard questioned the path I chose and their opinions of me were the harshest and  hardest to shut off. Though in the process, I saw that they were deflecting their many unsettled desires and unaccomplished dreams towards me and tried to convince me that what they wanted was what I wanted. It was a twisted process that was hard to untangle, but completely human.


While in Japan, I experienced zen. It’s a philosophy I studied in university, but to actually see it in action within their society was the real treat. Because it was no longer just a theory in my head, but a practical practice in life.


Finally, I felt guilt-free to live strongly and actually pursue the devotions in this life that brought me joy.


To be confident is to wear polka-dots when everyone is dressed in plain.

When I finally embraced who I am and accepted what I desired, I felt like a child with fresh eyes.


In this moment, I sensed that she recognized the youth in me.

Photographer: Ritz Marie
July 2018