EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with Banawe Corvera

Photo courtesy of Banawe Corvera The anatomy of the hair (self portrait) There is always something very enigmatic and powerful about blac...

Photo courtesy of Banawe Corvera

The anatomy of the hair (self portrait)

There is always something very enigmatic and powerful about black and white photography, and Banawe Corvera's work is no exception.

Read on for our exclusive interview to discover more.

Hi Banawe! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hello! Usually, a conversation with a stranger picks up with either my name or my photographs as the subject of interest. I was named after an eight wonder of the world, the Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippines, which is also considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To put it simply, my name is cultural and is a rarity (quite odd, even) in the country when it comes to namesakes. Read more of that here: http://www.philsite.net/banaue.htm

I'm a 23 year old freelance writer and photographer from the Philippines who hates the idea of a desk job but is a slave to my own desk at home. I have a fetish for low-key B&W photographs, which often reflects in my body of work.

A crow left of the murder

When did you discover your passion for photography?
I believe it just came to me, at some point. I don't recall dreaming about being a photographer when I was young, or even becoming this passionate as a photo hobbyist. When I was a freshie in college back in the year 2006, bless mobile phones with cameras (albeit with super low quality), I always had this urge to photograph people and objects. I'd have them printed into 2x2 prints and keep them in my wallet. I know they looked horrible, but everyone's gotta start somewhere, yes? Eventually, when my classmates started having point and shoot cameras, I'd go up to them and borrow it for awhile - a minute, an hour, a day - to take photos of what I see, especially when the afternoon light is beautiful.

Memento Mori

Where do you get inspirations for your shoots?
I draw inspiration from melancholy, from the quiet calm of dark and empty rooms, from movements, from light, from the physical features of women. In terms of research scope, I revisit the blogs of photographers who inspire me with their portraits and rely heavily on Google to discover more bodies of work.

Memento Mori

What do you have to tell from your photos?
I want to tell stories of beauty that can be found in people, in places and in thoughts. I'd like for my work to connect with the audience in a way that moves them. While I find delight in getting a message across through subtle visuals - softly lit subjects / photos that are pointblank and minimalist (and minus the fanfare) - at times I also like to tell stories that weigh heavily on viewers, that makes them feel the ache or the mystery in an endearing way - heavy contrast/abstraction. To sum it up, i can only think of the word "emotive."

The mourning after

What are your favourite tools and equipment to work with?
I only have two cameras that I work with. Mainly, the Nikon d3000 with the kit lens when traveling. I prefer having the prime lens on for portrait/street/abstract photography (50mm 1.8). Occasionally, I use the fisheye adapter (when out having fun) and the DIY tilt shift lens on landscapes to get the diorama effect.

The second one is the film cam, a Zenit 122. Currently I'm trying to get back to shooting with film, still hoarding film rolls.

What else do you plan to shoot in black and white?
I have a dream project, a photobook that reflects my appreciation for the female form. Hopefully that will materialize.

I'm Jim Morrison I'm Dead. (a series dedicated to Mogwai's The Hawk is Howling album)

If you could only work with one colour (besides black and white), which one would it be and why?
The first thing that came into mind was split toning. However, I would wish to stick to black and white because it's versatile and works well with how I want to interpret thoughts.

What would you do if you win a million dollars?
Build my parents' dream house, build a beach resort, gift my parents and sister with a trip to Europe while I go gallivanting around Asia/Africa/America with my partner in crime and probably chase the concerts of my favorite bands (Interpol, Mogwai, Radiohead), indulge on boots, send photo prints to friends all over the world, build a studio, buy a camera for a kid with potential.. and now I'm out of breath. So much more.

Banawe's blog

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  1. Congratulations! Very interesting to read about your ideas and motivation behind all those beautiful photos! Keep it up :-)

  2. Thank you Lensblr team and Simon! Your support means a lot and it continues to inspire me to dream big things. =)

  3. good job sister dearie :) I'm proud


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