Q&A: Quick lessons from the master via his most recent one-man exhibit
By Jessica Servande Losorata
ONE of Cebu’s most respected photographers embarked on another solo photo exhibit — his third —depicting mostly street musings from the last two years. Dubbed as “Here,” the exhibit of Robert Pableo “Bob” Lim was staged at Ultra Digital Imaging studio in Archbishop Reyes Ave. in Cebu City last month. In a one-on-one with Sun.Star Weekend, the man himself talks about the show, photography, and things in between:
The depth of your featured set at the exhibit suggests an established portfolio. How long have you been around in the scene?
In college, I thought I was going to pursue writing. However, writing was such an arduous discipline and along the way, photography presented itself, initially as an engrossing hobby; and after that, as a viable profession.
If a timeline is necessary, I would say 1984 was the year I formally announced my intention to become a photographer. On that year, I and five other photography hobbyists held a group photo exhibit in Cebu Plaza Hotel. Which means I’ve been around for some 30 years. But my first commercial photo outfit, Kino Boy Studio was opened in 1992.
Three decades of telling stories through compelling photographs. What inspires you?
My fascination with the visual arts and literature are, in effect, the main source of my inspiration in photography. Not that I try to literally create photographic equivalents of paintings I love, or literary passages I stumbled upon. In its own form that uses a machine (the camera), photography has a rich latitude of presenting poetry in motion. In the hands of an artist, the camera is capable of creating beguiling pictures that paint a thousand words.
Your photographs carry this impression as potential painting subjects. What are your tools of the trade? Based on your experience, film was your initial weapon, yes?
As a commercial photographer, I am mainly handling portrait and advertising photography. I belong to that generation that started using film and then moved on to the new digital technology at the start of the 21st century.
Digital photography offers many conveniences to a photographer that makes the technical requirements easier. Which means that learning is faster. But this does not guarantee that photos taken with a digital camera are instant masterpieces. A serious photography enthusiast will need to learn, and hopefully master, the aesthetics of image-making before his photos can be taken seriously. Knowing digital manipulation does not make any photo newbie a photographer.
Anyone can have a camera but not everyone is a photographer in the real sense of the title. So, tell us about “Here.”
This is my third one-man photo exhibit and I (presented) 22 recent photos, mostly done in the last two years. I thought it might be a good idea to show them through a public exhibition as a form of sharing. Mostly, photos nowadays are seen in social media, which is okay because of its wide reach. But seen on the monitor of a computer or smartphone, the photos are small, puny. On the other hand, viewing photographs that are enlarged and hung on a wall in front of an audience gives a different level of heightened experience.
It’s interesting to get a sneak peek of what goes on inside the head of a true artist. Your mantra as a photographer?
“I love to turn you on.”