An Interview with Allan Malolos Castro
We’re here today with an interview of a Filipino photographer whose creative portraits inspire us! We brought him in for a chat. Let’s hear about him and his beautiful work.
Thank you Allan for agreeing to join us for a chat this afternoon! It’s an honour to have you here with us. Do you mind introducing yourself and telling us a bit about your photography?
“I’m Allan Malolos Castro from Manila, Philippines, Telco Business Analyst by profession. Photography came to me by accident. It all started around year 2012 when my son’s camera broke down and I had to take it to the shop to get it fixed. I took it to an officemate of mine who is also into photography who found out that it was the lens which was defective, not the camera itself. He lent me some of his manual lenses to try it out. Since then, the camera never left my hands and my poor son, he never got his camera back.”
Oh no! Now we feel sorry for you son! Could you tell us what types of photography are you typically drawn to and why?
“I’ve tried a lot of genres but what appealed to me most are travel photography, street photography and portraiture.
Travel Photography because I love to travel. When I travel, I like taking home memories with me through photographs. I may not get second chance to go back to places I’ve been to. So travel photography is my way of preserving the memories and bring the adventure back home.
Street Photography is very challenging for me. It is not scripted nor can you direct the people around. What you see is what you get and if you’re not very attentive, you will miss a lot. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet a lot of interesting personalities in the streets. Some of them willing to share their stories and you will be amazed when you hear them out.
Portraiture is a different challenge. Having to work with a team of Makeup artists, stylists and other photographers makes it complicated. Having a concept in mind is not enough. You will need to work together to make it a reality. The reward is when all your efforts put together made the concept materialize.”
Now there are many of your photographs that we enjoyed looking at, in particular your portraits, especially the creative portraits really stood out to us. How do you come up with the concepts and ideas behind you creative portraits?
“I draw my inspirations around children’s books, movies, songs to name a few. Once I focus on something, I think of a way how to give it some twist so as to move away from the ordinary. The next thing I do is think of my resources, how, where do I get the costumes, props and how much am I willing to spend on them. When everything starts falling into right the places, then the adventure begins.
Is there a project that you remember being a real challenge? Can you share with us the final photograph and tell us what happened, and how you overcame the difficulties in its creation?
“I remember doing the Red Ridinghood shoot I did. I did all the preparations because I wanted it to be a surprise to my team, I didn’t tell anyone what we are going to shoot except for the model. Youtube played a big part for to design and create the cape and the hood. I took some old piece of fabric from previous shoots and made the cape myself. I bought the props from our local market (shoots need not be expensive).
We did the shoot in an abandoned field behind a university. It was difficult to shoot because there were some street children in the area who always get in the way of the frame. To settle them down, we offered them some food to keep them busy while we go on to finish the shoot. You just needed to outsmart the kids.”
Do you have a favourite piece? Could you share it with us along with the story behind it?
“My all time favourite among my pieces will be the one I call “Biyaya ng Lupa” (Earth’s Gift). It is a photo of hardworking men working in the fields. I took this shot in one of our trips to the Northern part of the country. While on the way to our destination, I chanced upon these people working in the rice fields under the scourging heat of the sun. I asked the driver to turn back as I needed to capture the scene. I took out my telephoto lens so as not to disturb them. To my satisfaction, in one click of the shutter, I was able to get what I came for before they noticed me. I tried taking some other shots after that but to my taste, the first one was the best of the set because it captured the natural expression of the farmers.“
What advice would you give fellow photographers getting started in doing creative portraits?
“To the young photographers getting started, first thing to do is learn the basics. Master your tool, your camera and be one with it. Great photos are all around us and for everyone to take. There are no Pros and Newbies in this field, but you just need to keep your eyes open. Open them to the world and you’ll be surprised how wonderful this world of ours is.”
Get in touch with me with your photography projects through our contact page.
Allan Malolos Castro is a photographer from the Philippines shooting portraiture, travel photographer as well as street photography. More of his fine work can be found on his Facebook page.
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