IT’S always good to talk about photography over coffee. I had a chance to chat with Ms. Arlene Donaire one afternoon, and even after long hours of photography talk, it seemed like the conversation kept getting interesting. She asked to meet me in Harbour Square because of the chance to shoot the golden sunset of Manila Bay, but we were lost plenty of time with the neverending photography talk.
Even before I met Arlene personally, her photos have always been a scroll stopper in my Facebook feed. It’s the composition and the clarity of her story in her shots that make me stop and stare. Her photos allow me to experience the scene as if I was there myself. It’s always easy to spot her photos among the others.
I was always intrigued at how she developed her style of shooting and what got her into photography especially that she is an accomplished economist who studied in UP and Harvard. How did she find photography and why shoot travel and street? What are her thought process and inspirations? Those were the few questions that I was eager to ask.
A competitive academic student, she was not introduced to photography in her growing years except a memory of her father bringing home a film camera with a cube disposable flash. She was a literary writer during her college years and has been fascinated with photography but never had the chance to try it.
She had her first decent digital point and shoot camera in 2002 that she uses for documentation in her project assignments. It was only sometime 2008 that she decided to get a DSLR when she found herself with a lot of time in her hands after a surgery. It was about time that her interest in photography finally catches up with her.
It did not take long for Arlene to gain recognition after awards here and there started to come in. With her competitive personality coupled with her unique way of telling story in her photos, she is now a respected travel and landscape photographer. She’s happy with her accomplishments but she’s not yet there, according to her. There’s so much to learn.
Arlene is not the typical photographer who is very technical about her gears but she sure knows what it can do and how to take photos that tell stories. I find her photos very engaging and timeless. She attended several photography workshops from industry experts that allowed her to grow, define and confirm her special eye in photography.
Her enthusiasm when it comes to photography is amazing. No matter where she is, working, on-vacation or traveling with different photographers, the photos that she shares are full of life and hope. A Cebuano, travel photographer, visual storyteller, FujiX & Asus Zenfone shooter and Development Economist, making a difference in every shot she takes.
Keep on shooting, everyone!