Images of Metro Manila

January 7th, 2011 · No Comments


by Alfredo ‘Ding’ Roces


The imagesof MetroManila that linger in my mind are the helter-skelter jumble of colors and shapes that somehow compose themselves within a fantastic artist’s canvas. Suddenly you encounter visual order in chaos. Poetry in poverty and decay. You somehow sense this, zipping in a car past all these collage of busy forms and psychedelic colors that present themselves as shops and homes spiced with countles vestiges of human life on the streets. Public spaces are for all types of commerce, or games, or socializing, or simply loitering and gawking. Life is celebrated on the sidewalks.

I could see in these kalaidescope of whizzing scenes endless templates for paintings. Why not walk these streets with a camera and take marvelous photos? That was my instant reaction. But patrolling the sidewalks would be cumbersome as one’s perspective gets much too close, plus people would instantly be conscious of your camera. That was my experience with walking Divisoria. Instead, I decided to experiment with taking furtive, chance shots from inside a moving car, behind tinted glass, without signalling the driver beside me what I was doing. Oblivious of my silent activity he maintained his usual speed.

Of course the results are not technically perfect: there is blurring, there is a problem of focus, there is the tinted glass of the car window in the way, and worse there is no time to compose. You assess a scene in millisecond, anticipate the car’s progress and trip the shutter. Serendipity and luck make the picture. Some results are nothing, of course, but a few capture that vitality and unusual coherance. The blurring and the soft coloring actually enhance the overall image, like an impressionist painting. I believe I have chanced on a new personal way to show you the vibrant soul of MetroManila. Eureka! I will continue to experiment.

Editor’s note:
Mr. Roces is a prolific writer and artist based in Sydney.
His most recent published work is “The Power of Struggle” by Alfredo Roces and Sandie Gillis
on the artist, Sym Mendoza.

Thankyou Mr. Roces for sharing.

Tags: Writers' Brew