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)

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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The fruits smelled sooooo delish!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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I found these old school lock and keys so charming!

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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.

 

The Sanchez Family

One could say I’m not a very traditional photographer. I don’t come in and meet a client for just an assignment, I am in it for the experience.

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Though I don’t post much of the work I’ve done in the realm of family portraits here on my site, the opportunity was too good to pass not to post the photos of this particular family. So I asked their permission to write a story about it.

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These photos were taken during a visit to Germany and as the photo shoot was going on, someone was playing the guitar and the music just brought everything to a realm of love.

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Their beautiful children were only fluent in Spanish, so I found myself in a challenging situation trying to direct them at times.

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But they were so naturally in-tuned with each other as a family that the beauty shone rightfully through every photo.

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by: @RitzMarie
Models: Sanchez’s
Location: Germany

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.

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

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

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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.

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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…

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Photos & Words: @RitzMarie

Soaking in Spring (Editorial)

This editorial was inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but not to the full extent of the wardrobe. Maybe what some characters would wear during a day-off.

An editorial shot for Promo Magazine, NYC.

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Recovering Heart

This series is about the recovering heart of a mother. Someone who has been through more pain than you care to imagine.

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People would always describe her as someone who had a “big heart.” Little did we know that her heart was really enlarged – literally speaking. Consequently, she suffered a massive stroke.

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Witnessing her example, I believe that matters of the heart can weigh so heavily on the body. It can either lift us or kill us.

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They say that when you close your fist, it represents your heart. Maybe because it is our heart that fights for the person we are and the people we love.

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A Warrior’s Fist

One of the many lessons I learned is that we need to be careful of whose hearts we align ourselves with during battle.

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The allies of our heart greatly define the person we are.

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Of Love And It’s Horrors

Choose allies who have been through the darkest nights but greet each day with a smile.

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Allies who will light your light when your sparkle is weak.

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Befriend the sun and the moon. Make peace with darkness and light.

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1:33 a.m., as I write this in the dark, I contemplate the light that brought me through a pitch black time in my life.

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I remember, writing a letter – I’ll share with you later.

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It’s about the beauty of a heartache and how it can withstand storms the world has not seen.

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1:39 a.m., listening to the song Litrato by Callalily.

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Dearest Glorious Heartaches, 

To expect a perfect and unbroken heart is absurd. Everyone has already been broken. The difference lies with how one handles the painful experience – either with grace or madness. But be mindful, because seeming grace may be catastrophic while outright madness could be logical.

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No matter how many storms a heart has weathered, trust that there will be more. However, no storm is alike. Just as the way raindrops fall so uniquely every time it pours, every tear you shed is different from the tears you have shed and will shed. But know that the clouds that once carried an outpour of love will not come again in the same way, shape and form. Love sometimes comes as light drizzles, rain showers and typhoons with thunderstorms. It can be crazy electric and cause a flooding of emotions. However, love that guises themselves in clouds will always leave with the wind.

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Aim for a love that does not disguise itself as anything other than what it truly is, because even if there may be no perfect and unbroken heart in this world, one must keep themselves hopeful that there is a real love which is pure and steadfast. After cloudy love leaves, do not be angry. Instead, be thankful for it allows you to see again the brilliance of the sun and the growth of yourself.

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Every heartache gloriously serves its purpose, just as the gift of rain helps plants grow towards the sky. Wear your broken pieces as badges of honor, for you risked to love even if you know it could break you.

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Subjects: Mama, Marie, Pepito & Hannah
Photography: Ritz Marie
With special thanks to music.

Rebirthing

We all have moments in life when the only wise option is to change. The notion of change can be bittersweet, thankfully I acquired a penchant for the taste later on in life.

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First thing I faced in order to come to peace with the changes going on in my life was to awaken myself to a new reality.

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Sometimes, like getting up in the morning, a sense of change can be challenging to deal with internally, externally and existentially.

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As I rose, I began to notice a new renaissance.

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Overwhelming at first, but beautiful and magnificent.

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Everyday, I would choose to take on the challenge to be a better person – for myself. I decided to shatter the negative stigma behind selfishness.

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That change came to be cause there would just be days of exhaustion wherein ten hours of sleep would not be enough to charge the batteries of my energy. I would wake up tired and lethargic. In introspection, I would wonder what was wrong with me.

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Later on, I realized it was because I was living to serve others more than myself. I was seeking validation from family, acceptance from strangers and looking for love in all the wrong places.

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Living such a life can be a truly exhausting experience. But it was my choice and I decided to make a new one. The new option was to rise above the clutter of my mind, listen to my heart, and seek the purpose of my soul.

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Challenging is an understated description of the journey towards rebirthing.

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Blood. Sweat. Tears. Soul. Time. Those are the payments for change.

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You see, in the cocoon of my mind, I have an idealized version of myself. And in the presence of time, I have yet to achieve that me I yearn to become. The verb of the journey began when I challenged myself to prove I love myself, everyday.

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In loving myself, I began to love whatever surrounded me because I saw it as a gift of time. And in time, the same moments are highly unlikely to happen again – so I chose to enjoy time.

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Whether I found myself in solitude or with company, grieving or joyful, in bliss or in pain.

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I just embraced the complexity of my trinity and let another form of me takeover.

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I believe that in each rebirth, great lessons are accumulated to benefit ourselves in time.

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I set to work with a limitless mindset, meaning I decided to believe I’m possible.

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I sought the courage to blossom unabashedly.

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Models: Chrystalle & Tamiya (Elite Manila)
HMUA: Mong Amado
Stylist: Maura Rodriguez
Special thanks to Candice Arboleda for the couture and Pineapple Lab!

Bulgari & Bubbly

When Preview called me for a shoot at the Bulgari store, I immediately jumped at the chance. I just knew it was going to be fun. Though, little did I know how charmed the afternoon would be. As usual, I arrived a bit earlier. But I used that time to get educated about the brand.

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By the time I started shooting, I felt the brand was an old friend.

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Maui of Preview with Angelina of Bulgari

Angelina did such a great job at answering my curiosities about the brand. I told her that during college, I always admired this one necklace design from Bulgari that I used to call the power necklace but that afternoon, I found out that the name of the design is actually B.ZERO1. I am particularly fond of the collection by a powerful woman architect named, Zaha Hadid. I want every piece from the Life is a Labyrinth collection. Every detail is just so inspired!

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Earring from the Diva Collection inspired by Elizabeth Taylor

I learned that Miss Taylor had a long-standing affair with the brand.

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The fan-silhouette of the Diva Collection was inspired by the eye make up of Miss Taylor in one of her movies.

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Another collection is called the Serpenti – this collection is (again, so…) INSPIRED! The rings were so dynamically designed. Too bad it only fit my pinky finger.

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“I like this one for you.”

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That is one handsome watch.

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By the time the shoot was done, I wanted soooooo many things from the store. Buuuuuut… You know, it’s Bulgari. In time, in time – I thought.

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Everything was so pretty!

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It was a spectacle to watch.

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That time when apparently I did a “meme” face.

I just had so much fun with this bunch of ladies.

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#PreviewGirls

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Shot by Ritz Marie for Preview in the Bulgari store, Greenbelt 4, Makati, Philippines.
Models: Maui, Yanna, Steph & Nicole of Preview

 

AS Patrick Starrr

I must live under a rock of some sort, because when I was told Patrick Starrr would be on Preview Magazine’s last print cover, I had no clue about him. I’m saying this in the spirit of total honesty.  But walking into the Summit Studio this time, I sensed it was more special than the usual cover shoot.

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First of all, we had more space to work with, the clothes were nicely hung apart from each other and each piece was a statement – would expect nothing less from Marc Jacobs.

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It was the usual Preview staff.

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Patrick’s co-star for the cover was Alex Gonzaga.

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Took a portrait of Maui during the down time because I liked her statement gold eyeliner. Mind you, I usually come into these shoots bare-faced because I’m lazy like that. But I do appreciate the art of make up.

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Then when I walked in the pantry, there was a whole spread of food on the table, different from the usual. I thought, “What’s going on here?”

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Then Patrick’s team arrives first wearing MAC sponsored jackets with his name! At that point I was just to curious to see the person behind the Starrr.

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When I started shooting, I inserted myself in a few frames because I wanted a photo with him, I’m just not the type to ask frequently. I did however introduce myself as a photographer. I will not forget what he said, “Honey, make me look good – okay?” and I responded, “I’ve got your back.”

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Just being around his presence was so fun! I was having the time of my life until Maui whispered to me that Isha, the EIC, wanted to speak with me. I was shocked because I’m usually left doing my own thing and then I thought, did I do anything wrong? Because they really don’t usually call me, specially while I was having such fun documenting Patrick do his own make up! It honestly was super mesmerizing to watch. Anyway, so I went with Maui to the dressing room where Isha and the rest of the staff were.

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When I walked in, they were looking at me and Isha first apologizes and then asks “Would it be okay if you stood in as a model for Patrick?” I couldn’t quite get what she was asking. Let’s get real here.

People our size are greatly overlooked by M-A-N-Y or undervalued. I cannot even shop at a regular store without a “PLUS” line. I can go on a lengthy rant about this, but that’s not the focus here. I’m just saying, I’ve never felt the luxury of clothing before because of my size nor have had the chance to truly express my truth through my clothes, because the options are just so limited – specially in Manila. Patrick, if you ever read this, please consider starting your own clothing brand! Haha, why not?

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Anyway, back to me being a model. I was able to try on all the Marc Jacobs pieces Patrick wore during the cover shoot. But he – wore it with confidence. I was learning from a master.

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That pink coat was my favorite. I wanted to take it home with me.

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BJ shot a few frames then Alex came in with a bubbly disposition.

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It was a show to watch, because very few times in my existence have I witnessed a gay, plus-sized, Filipino outshine a pretty lady. I say this without offense to anyone, okay?

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Patrick moved like a supermodel! Like, super super model.

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Closest I’ve seen on video, but have yet to experience, that moves like that is Coco Rocha. “This Starrr!” I thought.

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Just look at him go. He gave attention to all the cameras in the room, and that’s not an easy task.

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At one point, he walked by my side of the studio to change shoes. I whispered to him, “Patrick you are absolutely inspiring.” Like, seriously. He said, “Thanks honey, what’s your name again?” I smiled and with a handshake, I replied, “Ritz.”

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A MAC representative from the New York office was part of his team. We got to talk, and she told me Patrick’s story. FYI, he has one of the biggest collaborations with MAC Cosmetics – second to Rhianna. What?! That’s amazing, I thought.

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He started as a make up artist for one of the MAC Cosmetics store in the US.

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Look at that SMIZE! Tyra would be proud.

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And unlike many other stars’ his spirit was that of inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

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They were an amazing duo. Alex is really really funny.

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That shoot was so fun, I’m glad some ladies encouraged me to write this story. I’m remembering everything through these photos, the feeling and all. It was good vibes all around.

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Team Starrr brings so much to the table. Just when I didn’t think I could be any more surprised by this individual, he transforms some more! Like Madonna.

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Grabe, ang inspiring niya talaga. I’m glad I got to tell him that in person.

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BOOM, right?

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SUPER SUPER MODEL – I tell you!

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Shot for Preview Magzine, photos by Ritz Marie.