It’s always feels great to have your work noticed. I honestly never imagined to be a feature on Picture Perfect so it was a pleasant surprise when I heard from Ronald Jayme if I could be one of their Photographer of the Week feature. I was still in Laos when the issue came out so I only got to see it a few days after it was out. Though I think the layout could be a little better ( I thought the photos were a bit cramped) and Newsprint really isn’t an ideal medium to print your photos, I really really appreciate the mileage and exposure Manila Bulletin’s Picture Perfect has given. Even considering me as a feature was honor enough. So my sincerest thanks to Ronald Jayme for the feature and to Yugel Losorata for the write up. Below is the write up and you can click on the images for the higher resolution.
Placing his passion in focus
There goes that opening line from The Beatles’ classic “In My Life.” For lensman Ferdz Decena, this means putting out his camera and capturing images for posterity. His travels are kept remembered not just through his memory bank, but in his portfolio as a shooter.
“I grew up traveling since my dad travels a lot and would take us with him once in a while. And with all those traveling, you see things that you would like to take back home and share,” says the travel photographer who can’t resist taking shots of old ruins, structures, and landscapes.
Though he deals with studio shoots if clients ask to, Ferdz is really an outdoor guy and that preference is shown through the eye-catching images he’s taken after becoming a hobbyist. In college, he got a Ricoh XR-2 (a film-SLR camera) from an uncle that he used in photography class.
He later worked for a publishing house that kick-started his professional journey.
The 30-year-old talent has already gone to many locations in the country as well as neighboring lands such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Cambodia. Of course his equipment was always with him throughout these adventures and the resulting photographs more often ended up in magazines like the Seair Inflight, Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific Airline’s Smile, Girlfriend, Go! Just Travel, among others.
“As a travel photographer,” Ferdz points out, “a photo that captures a sense of place is very important. It’s not about landmarks of a place or a landscape but how I see the place in relation to my experience. In photo assignments, it’s about capturing images in relation to the angle of a story.”
A Fine Arts graduate from the Far Eastern University (FEU), this fellow already staged his first solo exhibit called “Living By Water.” Held at the Alcove Gallery in Ayala last year, the exhibit was a feat brought about by his let-me-try act to submit a proposal and a set of photos which he didn’t expect to be approved. Sometimes, true talents find it hard to believe the truth that they’re good.
The previous year proved to be a big one for Ferdz as he also won the top prize for “The World Around Us” category of TNT Magazine Travel Writing and Photography Awards in London. The same shot also took the “Reader’s Choice Award,” beating more than 1,500 international entries.
“With photography, I’ve been more aware of the things around me. I came to appreciate sceneries and be conscious about where and when the sun sets and rises, the phases of the moon, the feel of a place or those little details that people usually neglect or take for granted.”
“Aside from that,” Ferdz adds, “I’ve learned to talk to people more and learn about the place they are living in. I think it’s the love of travel and the passion to share these images and stories that keep me going.”
A modern man who loves music and reading, this artist is a widely acknowledged blogger versatile enough to support his pictures with equally good written account of his travels. In 2005, his blog www.ironwulf.net earned the “Best Photoblog” from the Philippine Blog Awards. Two years later, he was a finalist for Best Design and Best Travel Blog.
Apart from being an exceptional blogger, he also showed excellence in graphic arts by passing the “Fundamental Computer Graphics Creator’s Examination” by Computer Graphics Arts Society of Japan. That was in 2002 when he was one of only 22 successful passers out of 500 examinees.
The man’s exposure to photography dates back to his younger days with tons of photo albums at home and toy cameras to play with. He’s a believer of natural mood and beauty revealing themselves via photos and not by way of too much post-processing. His work says that so.
Ferdz Decena is someone whose heart is really into the craft that’s right for him. “I shoot images because I enjoy it foremost,” he argues. “Don’t be trapped with technicalities or you’ll end up wallowing in gear-lust. Discover your own niche and don’t try to follow what’s the popular trend in photography nowadays. Photography is partly a subjective experience, so work on more what feels good to you.”
Picture Perfect Feature can also be read at Manila Bulletin Online
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.