Saturday, June 15, 2013

The University of the Philippines Photographer's Society

The University of the Philippines Photographer's Society, also known as the UP PhotoS was an idea that was brought up and thought of way before the name for an organization was even conceived. Right now, on its way to its 10th year of existence our place in our community could not be any better.

Almost all of those who were there since the organization was built from scratch have since left the University. We have all started the rest of our lives outside the hollowed halls of UPLB and our respective colleges. Our bond is evident, our history is unforgettable and our future ever brighter.

It all started when Rommel and I met at the Carabao Park grounds when I was a freshman in College. He invited my friends and I to be interviewed that night on his radio program with CDC. After that night, Rommel and I stayed in touch mainly online and when we see each other on campus. We would run into each other on MiRC (a very crude chat service) and had, at times talked about a photography club. This was 1999. Cameraphones were unheard of and digital cameras sported 1 Megapixel resolutions (that is if you are fortunate enough to have one).

During the 1st semester of AY 2003-04, we decided to sit down and finally talk about forming an organization. Rommel and I were active in our respective "orgs" then and brought on the table our issues about them. We outlined certain things that we did not want to see in the organization.

After agreeing, we started to look at the possibility of resurrecting an old camera club or the "Samahang Manyunyut". We spend some time in the Office of Student Affairs combing through old records of recognized photography organizations. Manyunyut was the closest thing to a club. After discussing its merits, we decided that we must start from scratch.

On an agreed night, we planned that we must bring recruits that we would deem as our charter members. The first batch, truly that we will indoctrinate. Rommel, being an instructor at Pahinungod had the larger number of recruits.

The first few nights of meetings at the Pahinungod office were discussions about the name, the logo, the seal, the nickname etc. Night upon night upon night, we started to form the foundation of the organization. The preamble, the constitution and the brotherhood. This was our baptism of fire. Most stayed till 4am in the morning of the next day. Some spent weekends with us. By the end of the 2nd semester of 2003-04, we were almost an official organization with an incoming set of officers and pieces of paper that said we were ready.

The organization was formed to have Photography as a common single factor that binds us as members. Members were not required to have cameras, background nor prior experience with photography. All that was needed was that passion to learn about it, be intrigued by it, to see it power as an artistic medium and a scientific and technological outlet.

The goal of the organization is to mold its constituents to be better better members of their community. To be leaders and organizers for the improvement of anything and everything they are involved in. We did not form the organization to create photographers, rather to use photography as our common bond to have a meaningful life in UPLB, to have the skills to face the challenges of life after college and to provide a structured course to turn the shy to extroverts, the meek to leaders and the troubled into inspirations.

We are far from perfect, but much like a photograph or any image, there is beauty in imperfection. We had our growing pains and issues. Members not getting along with each other, quorum or the lack of being at an all time high, activities not pushing through etc. etc. But we soldiered on and here we are.

Now on its 10th year, the UP PhotoS is a decade deep with history, achievements, countless adventures and a family that is ever growing.

Fiat Lux,

Jab Buhay
Founder, UP Photographers Society