They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” A photograph conveys thousands of ideas depending on a person’s visualization of the photo. That’s the value of a photograph that makes it a work of art. We have different notions on how we explain a photograph, but there is one particular explanation why there is life in it. There is something that the naked eye does not see that only a photographer can see through his lens.
Thomasian Marc Henrich Go won the grand prize in the 2012 Asian Cities Photography Contest which was organized by Asia Web Direct, an online travel specialist that focuses on the Asian continent.
Marc, a fourth year student from the College of Architecture, bagged the 1st prize with his photo, “Emerging cities,” which featured the view of Singapore’s skyline.
An online voting was conducted to narrow down the entries. After the voting closed, the top ten finalists were judged by a jury from Asia Web Direct who selected the top three entries. In the end, Marc was declared the grand prize winner. Nuntika Sathithanont of Myanmar and Umi Handayani of Indonesia were declared as second and third prize winners, respectively.
The story behind the winning photo
The winning photo of Marc was not a planned photograph. He was really planning to capture the sunset from the Marina Bay Sands’ Sky Park, but was not able to do so because of the weather that day.
“About a year ago, I was in Singapore. I remember rushing to this spot, and I was really breathless because it was raining hard and the traffic was really bad,” Marc narrated the story behind his winning photo. “I knew that the Sky Park of Marina Bay Sands would be an amazing location to catch the sunset, and I learned that you can see the whole city when you’re atop the Sky Park. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on my side that afternoon, which left me slightly disappointed.”
Marc just enjoyed the view of the city instead. He was with his dad who accompanied him.
“I decided to wait with my dad and instead enjoy our view of the Singapore skyline,” Marc said. “Suddenly, the sunlight started to fade and the city light sprang [back] to life, I knew I had my shot.”
Prior to his win in the 2012 Asian Cities Photo Contest, Marc already won in a great number of photography contests. He won in the prestigious Everyone’s Vision Petron National Student Art Competition in 2011 and the grand prize in Asian Traveler Magazine’s Walk Through Asia Photo Competition, also in 2011. Marc was also a semi-finalist in the DPC-PLDT Yellow Pages 26th Visual Arts Competition National Photo Competition this year, wherein two of his entries entered the top 50—The Enchanted River and Hidden Grandeur.
Among his works, Marc’s favorite photograph is “Blur,” his winning entry in the 2011 Vision Petron competition. “The photo was taken in Bohol, summer of 2011,” Marc said. “According to the judges, they liked the photo because it was very dynamic; you can see the motion and the colors.
“Blur” portrays the motion of a speeding bus, and it depicted Petron’s theme of “Lakbay Pinoy.” It was chosen by Vision Petron as the best photo among over 900 entries.
Half empty or half full?
About a year ago, just before the Vision Petron competition, Marc noticed that his vision was getting dark; a vignette was obscuring his left eye. He went to consult a doctor to find out if his eyesight was deteriorating. “The doctor said that I had a retinal detachment,” he said. “It was a case wherein your retina falls off from your eye.”
Marc said that he was shocked when he found out about his condition. He became negative with things, thinking how will he continue both his architecture and photography with only one eye fully working.
“I underwent an eye surgery. It was very painful. For two weeks I [had] to do everything lying down. I [had] a lot of questions in my head, ‘Why now?’, ‘Why me?’, ‘Will I still be able to take photographs?’ I had a lot of time to ponder,” Marc narrated.
After the surgery, Marc joined the Vision Petron competition. He believed that there was nothing to lose and that he needed to try harder so that he can build back his confidence and continue to fulfill his passion.
“There are different perspectives in photography. You have to look at the glass half full instead of half empty. In my case, only my left eye has a deficiency. The good thing is that my right eye, which is my photography eye, was spared. I realized that I can still do photography,” Marc added.
His victory in the 2011 Vision Petron competition showed him that despite his situation, he can still accomplish great things.
Passion for Photography
All winning photographs of Marc were captured with his Canon EOS 7D. Recently, he upgraded his camera to a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which he used once since he bought it.
“I’ve upgraded last month from EOS 7D to a mark III, but I haven’t used it yet,” Marc said. “The only time that I used it was when the Queen of Spain visited UST.”
Marc’s passion for photography does not end with just getting the perfect shot. He also delivers lectures during special events when invited as guest speaker.
For him, passion makes or breaks a photographer. He believes that an “eye for bringing out the beauty from the mundane” is the thing that makes a good photographer.
“What makes a good photographer is his passion that drives him to go beyond the ordinary to find an extra ordinary shot,” Marc said. “Passion makes you push yourself to achieve more. It allows you to overcome all the obstacles thrown your way.”
He also encouraged amateur photographers who want to be excellent in the field of photography to always be passionate with what they are doing. “Always have passion, always seek to learn, never let the flame die.”
Architecture vs. Photography
Aside from winning photography contests, giving talks in special events, getting his works published or exhibited, Marc is also a full-time architecture student in UST.
One might wonder if he still plans on being an architect someday or if he’s going to pursue a professional job in the field of photography. “A lot of people ask me that question. I am very interested in architecture the same way [that I am] with photography.”
“I’m going to take up architecture and photography side by side,” Marc said. “In fact, I plan to take up my master’s degree in architecture while continuing my craft in photography.”
You would not believe that for a successful photographer like Marc, he has yet to shot his dream photograph.
“I dream of shooting aerial photography,” Marc said. “In photography, the more unique your position, the more unique your photo will be. With a position of hundred of meters up in the air, my shots would come out definitely unique.”
Contribution to the Thomasian community
Just this year, Marc was awarded by UST with the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to the Thomasian community.
Marc, who is also the chief photographer of Vision Magazine, the official publication of the College of Architecture, and the president of Fotomasino, the official photography organization of UST, considers his craft as his contribution to the Thomasian community.
“I consider my craft of photography and my accomplishments as my contribution to the Thomasian community,” Marc said.
He is very grateful about how UST became his training ground ever since he took his first shot inside the university, up until today, several thousand shots later.
“I am really thankful to the University of Santo Tomas,” Marc added. “It provided me with opportunities to enhance my [skills], it gave me [opportunities] to let my craft grow, and it led me to avenues of success.”
By Jan Angelo Yvan L. Cabantog
Photo courtesy of Marc Henrich Go