I’m Jasper Tejano based in Makati, Philippines. My day job is in Human Resources focused on business partnering, employee engagement, performance and talent management. Employee engagement is basically about an employee’s satisfaction at work.
As for well-being, it’s cultivating a healthy and happy disposition by doing meaningful activities other than work. Photography fits perfectly in my need to have positive well-being and balance my work and personal/creative pursuits.
I started exploring photography when I was in my pre-teens. I used to borrow my mom’s Minolta Pocket Autopak 450E and would use it to photograph school and family events. I was always the designated photographer during family events. However, photography took a backseat when I was in high school and college. It was actually my wife, who was then my girlfriend, who rekindled my interest in photography.
My first serious camera was a Pentax Auto 110 which I borrowed from her. She was also the one who taught me the fundamentals of photography. When we got our first Nikon DSLRs, the Nikon D60 and Nikon D80, this was also the time when my wife discovered the joy of travelling. Since then we never stopped photographing our journeys together.
When I got really serious in photography in 2008, using my Nikon D80 I started experimenting on various lenses from the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 to the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-56G and researching on settings that can bring out the best in my photos. I started to appreciate the importance of light in creating drama in my images when I attended a workshop on portraiture and creative lighting.
However, there was at some point between 2010 and 2011 that I felt that my photography was on a plateau and needed a creative jolt. Most of my photographs were in the category of travel photography – which for me were too manicured, too clean and technical. Nothing wrong with that but I guess I was looking for something else. For a while I explored portraiture, still photography and even fashion photography but none of these were giving me fulfilment.
I wanted something different, something raw and edgy that somehow defies convention that could bring out my style. It was perfect timing that I started to get interested in the works of Magnum Photographers. The photographs of Henri Cartier Bresson, Alex Webb, David Alan Harvey and Harry Gruyaert blew me away. In 2012, I started seeing the world through a different lens. Street photography has become my genre of choice.
The street, though vibrant and dynamic, will always be chaotic and you will have little control over what happens around you. I try to speed up my comfortability level when I’ve chosen an area so I can make lots of frames while I work the scene. I do this by blending with the crowd and make myself less obvious.
Although you will always stick out like a sore thumb in a busy street, I just try to act casual and not make it a big deal that I’m doing street photography work. For me, the more casual and relaxed you are, the less obvious you become to the people around you. As they say, you become part of the street.
My gear approach to street photography is always to go compact and minimal. I’m currently using the Ricoh GR II fitted with the Ricoh GH-3 Adapter to attach my Hoya 49mm HD UV Filter. My other camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 fitted with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5 pancakes lens. Both cameras look unassuming and don’t draw attention to me when I’m out there photographing people in public places.
For my bag, I use a locally produced item, it’s an oiled canvass pigeon bag called Gouache. For editing, I use Snapseed using my mobile phone making it easy for me to share some of my works to my social media accounts.
If you’re serious about street photography, study the works of Magnum photographers, go out often and make lots of studies by exhausting your scene. Most of all, always have fun photographing the streets. You’ll never know what you will encounter in your next street adventure.