Paano nga ba kami nagkakilala ni Allister? Sa pagkakatanda ko ay nagkakilala kami sa isang gathering para sa isang business kung saan kaibigan siya ng aking itinuturing kuya at noong nakita ko siya ay may dala siyang libro patungkol sa psychology marahil noong mga panahon na iyon ay nag-aaral pa lamang siya sa isang kilalang universidad sa ating bansa.
Noong una akala ko suplado siyang tao ngunit hindi pala sadyang tahimik lamang siya at maliban pa doon nalaman ko na parehas pala kami ng interest, ito ang potograpiya. Di lamang yun isa sa mga sigurado na paborito niyang karakter sa kartons ay si batman, kaya naman madalas yun ang naging tawag ko sa kanya.
Masasabi ko na kahit sa maikling panahon na aming pagsasama ay di siya nakalimot sa akin kahit na nasa ibang dako na siya ng bansa.
Tara kilalanin pa natin ng husto kung sino nga ba si Allister Esguerra sa mundo ng potograpiya.
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Genre of your Photography: Travel Photography
Tell me about yourself that people don’t know: I eat chocolates everyday
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?I’m very relaxed at the moment.
How did you get started in photography? I actually started in photography at a very young age. I remember buying my very first compact film camera when I was only 12yo using the money I’ve saved from my daily allowance in school. From then on, I’ve been a fan of traveling and taking photos of beautiful landscapes everywhere I go.
Did you go to school to study photography? No
What camera did you use? I had a compact film camera (Kodak). The one that you can just buy from the store and bring on your field trips. Then in uni, I decided to buy my very first and only DSLR, the Nikon D40. I’m still using the same camera till now.
How would you characterize the style of your photography? I would characterize my style of photography as simple and informal. I don’t really follow rules and just take images as how I wanna see them on print. I focus more on the story behind my images rather than the technicalities.
Can you share with us some recent images?
And what's the story behind it? This photo was taken in Hoi An, Vietnam a few months ago before I relocated back to Hanoi in April. I was on my way back to the main island from a trip to on one of the villages in the area. This exact moment reminded me of how lucky most of us are and am happy to be where I am in my life. Traveling everywhere and seeing places that I never thought existed.
Who or what influenced you to become a photographer? It was my mom who influenced me to become a photographer. She’s been traveling all over Asia when I was a kid and showing me photos from all her travels. I remember my first time taking a solo international flight at the age of 7 to visit my mom in Brunei for 2 months. We went everywhere and took pictures in all the places that we’ve visited of course. So after that trip, I knew already that I needed to get my own in the future.
How did you become a photographer? And When did your career start as a Professional photographer? Honestly, I became a part-time photographer in 2008 doing gigs and side projects for my friends and through networking (birthdays and parties mostly). I even had the chance to take photos for the Embassy Club in the Fort and Izakaya in Makati just for extra income and exposure.
How did you go about selling your first photograph? Selling my first photograph (photography services) wasn’t that hard. I guess I was lucky enough and connected enough to know a lot of people from the events industry because of my university and my lifestyle back then.
What makes a good photographer in your opinion? A good photographer should always know the basics. If you don’t know the basics of photography, you should never call yourself a photographer.
Do You Have A Favorite Walk Around Lens...If So What Is It? Yes! I always use my kit lens (18-55mm) ‘cause it’s easy to carry and not that heavy! Plus, it’s very versatile!
Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you? The most important equipment for me is my extra set of batteries; especially when you’re traveling.
What is the most rewarding part of photography? The most rewarding part of photography is learning and discovering new things everyday and taking advantage of all the possibilities around us especially the ones that involve meeting all kinds of people.
What is your most embarrassing experience as a photographer? The most embarrassing moment I had as a photographer was when I was mistaken of having drugs in my bag during the Christmas Event at The Fort and the authorities had to lock me up for an interrogation. I had handcuffs on my arms and everyone was just literally trying to figure out what I did and what happened to me.
How did photography change your life? Photography changed how I see the world and how I communicate with people. It has inspired me to travel more and see more of what our Mother Earth can offer.
I know you been working with some of the famous and influential people in the country but may I ask whom do you wish/dream to work with and Why? I was just in touch a few weeks ago with Rob Whitworth on Facebook for a collaboration work on my new business venture in Vietnam. Unfortunately, he’s a bit expensive now for us to hire so maybe I’ll get a chance to work with him in the future. I would love to work with him because I know he’s REALLY good at what he’s doing (Time Lapse Photography) and it’s a pity that I didn’t get this chance when we were still living in the same city (Hoi An, Vietnam) a year ago.
What tips can you give to someone aspiring to be a professional photographer? Just learn and practice whenever you get the chance. Photography is a skill. And skills are always learned. Remember that.
What are the best tools for a beginner to learn on (besides the camera)? Always start with the basics. You can never move forward if you don’t know the basics.
What is your favourite recent image you have shot recently? Can you describe it’s creation in regards to location, lighting, composition, camera settings etc, also your thoughts when creating the image and What it means to you?
This particular image has been my favorite so far this year. I was on a motorbike trip across the Central Highlands of Vietnam with a good friend and was in a city called Buon Ma Thuot. We went to this secluded road tracks and discovered the Dray Nur Waterfalls in the middle of nowhere. I really didn’t plan on taking photos that afternoon as I was expecting it to rain. Luckily, I brought my compact camera with me and decided to take photos of the area. During this particular shot, I had to do this for about 30mins to be able to get the “right” moment for me and for my subject. Again, as I always do, I work on the basics before I hit the shutter button. This image reminds me of why I decided to live in and fall in love with this country.
What are the pros and cons of being a photographer? Please be specific.
Pros: Unlimited opportunities to meet people, travel the world, and earn big bucks.
Cons: Unlimited hours on the computer, huge amount of money investing on your equipment, and having to spend most of your time taking photos instead of just relaxing and taking in what’s in front of you.
I know you like traveling for shoot or even for chill-out, can tell me where is the best place to be to do some shoot? and why there? In my opinion, there’s no best place to take photos of. It always depends on how you view the world and take advantage of every moment you encounter. Personally though, my favorite place to take photos of is obviously Vietnam because of its diverse culture and AMAZING landscapes!
What goal are you working towards within your photography and when will you know you have reached it? My goal now in photography is to buy a new compact mirror less camera, use it as my main equipment for taking travel photos, and practice my skills again so I could be better and use it for my current business.
What photographic organizations do you belong to? Now, since I’m not that active anymore, I just recently joined the Hanoi Photography Club in Vietnam, which is a group for all the photo hobbyists (both locals and expats) in my city.
Name a photographer you would like to take a portrait of? I would like to take a portrait of Rob Whitworth from England who’s currently based in Shanghai and has been creating a lot of noise lately because of his extraordinary works in Spain (Madrid) and in North Korea (Pyongyang).
If you weren't a photographer or a multimedia artist, what would you want to be? Why? Well, photography isn’t really my main job now. I’m currently doing what I love doing, which is being an entrepreneur. Photography is just part of my overall tasks.
How do you see yourself 20 or 30 yrs from now? 20 years from now, I see myself running different kinds of businesses in the travel industry in Southeast Asia while traveling across the globe every now and then for sales calls and side trips.
What legacy you will leave on? I haven’t really thought about it. Though the only thing I always say to the people I meet on the road is, “Never give up on your dreams.”
Any final message? Its your time to shine. Mistakes and failures are always good for you. It teaches you how to be right and how to be tough. Embrace it rather than escape it.