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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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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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Ang sakit eh – rumamdam at umusbong. Grabe.

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

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He even drew her to life.

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

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

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

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

P.S.

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

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.

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

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InterContinental Hotel Lobby, Osaka, Japan

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

Photographer: Ritz Marie
July 2018

As: Unique

The love I have for music could bring me to my knees. So, when the chance revealed itself, I became highly interested in the opportunity. Unique and I are of a different generation, so before I met him, I was pretty unfamiliar.

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My friends brought us together for the purpose of exploring our creativity. Then, something sparked.

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The creative spark was insane.

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When we work together, there is a trinity. A trinity of respect, trust and creativity to begin with.

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We respected each others’ talents and gained trust in each other to soar creatively.

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Most of you who are likely to read this probably know more about the drama that happened around Unique in social media. But let me share with you an insight: Tita Coco (his “Ma”) can so easily be painted as a villain because of her strong ways. One time, I pointed this out to them after Tita Coco said something I would not usually hear. It was really funny! I hope this society of “DRAMANILA” eventually subsides. Tao lang po lahat tayo. I can go on a rampage about all the drama that happens in Manila, but let’s not go there.

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Back to Unique. Where was I?

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It is my composing belief that life is made out of trinities.

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Witnessing the forces that work around, through and over me leaves me in a stupefied state sometimes. Everything that I have witnessed in my life lead me to undeniably believe that THERE IS A GOD. We all have our own processes and connect the dots differently. So, once again – respect nalang.

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There is just some force, that orchestrates some things that no matter what obstacle is set your way, the destination is inevitable.

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In the middle of a highly energized narration of my life during a conversation, a respected cardiologist (Dr. A), once told me,

“What you are doing is creating.”
I thought, “Yeah! Exactly!”
Then as I listened, he continued to say,,, “And creation is the activity of the gods.”

I was super M I N D B L O W N , you hear me!?
M-i-n-d-b-l-o-w-n.

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Grabe eh, as I write this listening to Unique, this line suddenly comes out of my speaker: “Sa labas man, o simbahan, kayang-kaya pag silbihan,,,” SO META!!! I just learned that term now, “meta.”

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I can gush over his talent, but give his album a listen and create your own judgement. GRANDMA (link opens to Spotify) is his first album. He is talented differently and I admire how he has embraced what he can do at such an early age – but with an old soul.

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Kwento ko lang, dahil sa kanya, I discovered the magic in the music of The Beatles. Fan boy rin kasi yan! Haha… Lahat tayo may tinitingalang mga tao, but remember to look beyond the person and deeper into the inspiration of the matter.

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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