Illustrado Scrapbook: Sam Coran, PJ Tiongson & Gerber Bench Yrac

A platform for emerging Filipino photographers from around the world. SAM CORAN Sam has taken on a number of odd jobs from being a service crew in a restaurant, a tour guide, a salesman, a call center agent, even a receptionist for a fitness center, saying that before becoming a photographer, he didn’t know what to do with his life. He was studying Social Sciences at the University of the Philippines in Baguio, but needed to quit in his third year due to financial reasons, which somewhat added to his listlessness. In 2008, from his scrimping and saving, he was able to buy his first DSLR and instantly fell in love with the craft. With a new found sense of determination, Sam enrolled in a self-paced study program with The New York Institute of Photography to study the fundamentals of photography. Then, after just a year, with growing success in his newfound field, he needed to quit his day job to accommodate a growing number of clients. “Photography for me, is my life. I am nothing without it,” says Sam with a drive and purpose that he once thought he did not have. PJ TIONGSON PJ describes herself as a flight attendant by profession and a frustrated painter. Originally from the City of Pines, Baguio, PJ first became acquainted with film – black and white photography to be exact – in college when a friend who owned a studio invited her to be a model for them. Since then, PJ’s interest grew, and the same friend became a photography mentor.  PJ acquired her first digital SLR in 2006 and shortly after, discovered that she liked taking portraits of people, especially women. She began experimenting with self-portraits, as well as shooting friends and family. Working for an airline has allowed PJ to not only have the world as visual playground and have multicultural subjects for her portraits, it also affords her the unique opportunity of sourcing photography books wherever she may be.  Her photographic diligence was rewarded when some of her photographs were featured in their company’s 2011 vintage Hollywood glamour calendar. “I am still a passionate ‘wandergirl’ as well as a freelance photographer who loves shooting beautiful, exciting, dreamy, dramatic, and soulful photographs,” PJ gushes. Frustrated painter, maybe. Fulfilled photographer, definitely. GERBER BENCH YRAC In his senior year in high school, Gerber had the opportunity to attend a photography workshop by Philippine Star.  Back, then it was still all about film based photography and Gerber learned the intricacies of developing his own film in the darkroom.  Since then, he has been fascinated with the idea of capturing time and space using light and shadows to capture angles, expressions and emotions.  He also understood that lights and shadows do not just meet, they breathe life; that expressions and emotions do not just interpret the essence of the moment, they give a soul for everyone to understand and empathize with. He met and joined Doha Pinoy Shooters Club in 2008, a local photo club in Qatar and from there, the awards and accolades came pouring in. He won Photo of the Year in 2009, was included in the Top 5 photographers, won Best Image in the Landscape Category and recently Photographer of the Year for 2011.  Moving forward, Gerber has set his sights on the Scarborough Camera Club which he will join this month. His ultimate project is to create his own photobook.