Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture: Photographer collective Fotomoto showcases portraits by over 100 artists from all over the Philippines

BACOLOD, PHILIPPINES — “Fotomoto 21 Invitational: Portraits” opened last May 16 to an enthusiastic audience at Orange Project, Bacolod Art District. It is the largest photography exhibition to date, with over 350 works by more than 100 artists selected nationwide, including submissions from Negros and other parts of Visayas.

Fotomoto is a photographer collective originating in Metro Manila. The group’s objective is to promote Philippine photography as a manifestation of our shared experience as a nation, including diversity in perspectives from different geographies, socioeconomic statuses, genders, and ages. Through exhibitions and a programming of educational activities, Fotomoto aims to foster conversations about photography’s role in our culture and demonstrate ways in which the photographic medium as an art form can express our complex identities.

The inaugural theme of Portraits was selected as a response to the prolonged isolation that many experienced throughout the pandemic. Our collective experience was impaired by a limited connection to other humans, and as the opportunity to hold physical exhibitions returned, the group aimed to center on humans and the various interpretations artists would have on the theme. The beauty of portraiture is that it presents an interaction between the sitter and the photographer, much like engaging in conversation. Good portraits are rich with stories that viewers can quickly connect with. The theme thus serves as a post-pandemic starting point to rebuilding personal relationships and developing communities beyond the screen.

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This month-long exhibit includes a programming of talks, portrait sessions, film screenings, portfolio reviews, and other workshops. It will also be an opportunity to announce the next theme. The festival will be held annually and will continually expand around the Philippines.

Fotomoto founding members are Raena Abella, Jes Aznar, ESL Chen, Tom Epperson, Stephanie Frondoso, Paco Guerrero, Wawi Navarroza, Apa Ongpin, Neal Oshima, Gio Panlilio, Sandra Palomar, Jason Quibilan, and Veejay Villafranca.

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