Interview with Jophel Botero Ybiosa
TIFA 2019 Winner, 2nd Place, Events category – “Mud People Festival”
Jophel Botero Ybiosa’s started as a freelance photographer, then worked as Photographer and Videographer under the production house of Filipino celebrity – Mr. Robin Padilla. In 2014, he started working with Princess Cruise Lines as a Cruise Ship Photographer and then elevated to Master Photographer. Currently, he also consistently represents his country in various international competitions and exhibitions aiming to share to the world the inherent beauty, unique culture and tradition of Philippines.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Culiat, Quezon City, Philippines. Photography has been my passion with a purpose of capturing the essence of stories, meaningful memories and beauty of life. To share my vision and philosophy to fellow artists, I established the Team Juan Makasining. I’m also involved in various photography organizations such as the Master Photographers International Organization (Canada), The Societies of Photographers (United Kingdom), Wedding Photographers Europe (France), Professional Photographers Asia Community (Hong Kong) and Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation.
Q: When did you discover your passion for photography?
My journey in Photography started during my years as a student and publication staff in Culiat High School and seeing the works of photojournalists in newspapers, books and magazines inspired me to pursue my passion. Then I became a member of Sinag Photography Club in Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and began to join local photo contest and exhibitions. Aside from attending some formal trainings such as the workshop/scholarship program of SEAMEO-SPAFA Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts in Thailand and Masterclass of Sir Joe Craig in U.S.A., my international exposure in competitions and exhibitions also contribute in broadening my horizon and strengthening artistic passion.
Q: What was your first camera?
I started with film-based cameras, a Minolta XG-1 and Canon 1000QD.
Q: Is there any culture/mentality that shaped your way of thinking? how did it affect your professional approach to photography?
I believe that great photography comes with passion, connection to your subject, artistic sensibility and creative vision. My exploration, life experiences, struggle and success cultivated my philosophy as a Photographer. I always make it a point that my images evoke meanings, narratives and symbols. I’m deeply interested in Travel Photography, Cultural Photography and Events Photography. I devote myself in capturing and sharing unique culture and tradition, stories of people and moments of life through the art of Photography.
Q: What guided your work and process in your “mud people festival” picture?
Basically, my advocacy in promoting Philippine arts, culture and tradition thru the art of Photography has guided me to appreciate and document the meaningful story of the Mud People Festival in Nueva Ecjia.
Q: What were the main challenges of working in that picture?
During the process, I was trying to capture its uniqueness and connotation. Careful fine-tuning of elements can also make an image impactful. In the end, I’m happy with the winning image.
Q: What do you like least about your job?
Sometimes it’s the pressure that might bring stress. But the challenge from this job also brings out the best from within. Pressure that could also lead to improvement and success.
Q: What does this award mean to you, or why do you think these appreciations are important in photography?
This prestigious award is truly significant in my photographic journey. Photography competitions are great training ground to unlock the artistic potential and provides an opportunity to hone your photographic skill and achieve professional development. It also builds global audience for your creative works and the feedback and reviews from experts provides motivation. Aside from that, the success story of award-winning photographers also inspires fellow photographers and aspiring artists. In my personal experience of winning and reaching 360 local and international awards, it led to opportunities, artistic growth and inspiration.
Q: What role do you have in society as a photographer?
As a photographer I’m committed in documenting significant moments of life, capturing the essence of culture and tradition and creating meaningful images to inspire people. Photography is a significant visual language and channel for documentation of reality, cultural identities, socio-political issues, historical and religious events.
Q: What’s your next project about?
I’ll be hosting the Global Photo Show (Global TV Network), a platform that showcases the creative works and inspiring stories of photographers. Vlogs and online workshops will be organized. I’m also looking forward to continuously participate in international competitions and exhibitions.