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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Photographing Rosalinda (by Manny)
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05/06/2006 08:07:47 AM · #1
I didn't know her. I didn't see her before. But that day, when the jeepney I was riding on passed the corner where she was selling cigarettes, my eyes caught the flaming pink hair. Then I saw the face...wrinkled yet beautiful, worn-out yet dignified. I didn't have my camera. But I told myself I would come back.

Two days later, I was on an expedition. I got off 5 corners away from her. On the way, I took pictures here and there, trying to sharpen my skills and steady my hands on the thought that she might be a difficult person to photograph. She might not even allow me. But the pink hair gave me hope that she would be a willing model. I had to dig deep into my well of charm.

Then I saw her again.

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She had a carefree look. Distant perhaps? Would she run away if I approach her? Would she shout at me if I ask permission to take photos of her?

"How much is the Philip Morris (cigarette)", I asked. No response. (Another wasted opportunity, I muttered.) Then I saw her hands holding a limestone. (And she's gonna throw a stone on me, I silently panicked.) I stepped back. "Philip Morris", I repeated.

"He likes to buy Philip Morris..." someone shouted behind me. "She's deaf", another vendor came close to me as she repeated my order close to her ears.

I bought one pack. Then I dropped the bomb. "I'd like to take pictures of you." My sentence was repeated by the same vendor to her. "Why me?", she asked. "Because you're pretty." (I was serious.) "Because your face tells me a lot of stories". I continued.

Then I took some shots. Many people came closer. I didn't see them. All I saw was ROSALINDA.

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And many more vendors flocked around us. Various information about her were thrown in.

"She is a sidewalk vendor for more than 60 yearsnow ... started even before World War II."

"She has 11 children, all alive. One is a seaman...giving her money every month hoping that she would stop selling and stay at home."

"A car hit her in the 1980s. She almost died."

"She changed her hair color every now and then...sometimes yellow, sometimes green."

I laughed, she also laughed. I continued talking (shouting to her). My camera continued taking pictures of her simultaneously.

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"I would like to take pictures of you very closely. I would like to capture the lines in your face. Come take a look at your pictures. I would like to make even better pictures than these." I showed her the pictures I took in the LCD. She laughed. She said thank you. I said "Thank you...you're such a willing model." She laughed again.

Then she left. I looked around me and saw the many people who were watching us. Policemen, passersby, other vendors...more than 50 of them. I smiled at them. I then looked for Rosalinda. She was in front of the small mirror (in the sidewalk) combing her hair.

She then approached me after a minute. "I am ready", she said.

"I need a veil." I declared. As if on cue, a Muslim vendor appeared from nowhere handing me a brown veil. "Thank you so much...thank you." Everything worked out well. Rosalinda posed as I requested.

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In between takes, Rosalinda told me about how she was photographed by many photographers before. She told me about her wedding, her children, her near-death experience, her hair color, her plans next week, etc. I told her about myself: my single status, my students, my love for life, my gray hairs, my lack of plans about my holiday, etc. We seem to know each other well. I could see the sincerity in her one bright eyes...I hoped she saw the same in my eyes.

I said that I might come back to take more pictures of her before I return to Bangkok. I promised to send her the pictures. She smiled.

And I did come back. I brought my own veils. And she welcomed me like a long-lost friend.

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I've sent her the pictures. Rosalinda is a friend that I will always cherish as a person.

Message edited by author 2006-05-06 08:23:47.
05/06/2006 08:12:40 AM · #2
What an amazing series!!

Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scene story...
05/06/2006 08:14:47 AM · #3
And they wonder why I can see your pictures in National Geographic... *sigh* Utterly brilliant, the whole series and also the story, it really captivated me. Awesome!
05/06/2006 08:22:12 AM · #4
Thanks.

Digital Photo UK contacted me about these photos so you might see them again in the said magazine.
05/06/2006 08:36:16 AM · #5
A stunning series and a wonderful description Manny!
Many, many compliments! :)
05/06/2006 08:44:24 AM · #6
A wonderful series about a wonderful person. Thankyou Manny.
05/06/2006 08:51:19 AM · #7
A fabulous story and a wonderful subject for a brilliant photographer. Thanks for sharing with us.

And congratulations on the magazine contact - your photos cry out to be seen by a global audience.
05/06/2006 08:55:49 AM · #8
Wow! beautiful. Well done. thanks for the inspiring story and moving pictures.
05/06/2006 09:35:01 AM · #9
Manny these images are worth far more then what some are willing to pay now.

Your images will grow in value as your talent becomes more well known, but on a personal level don't ever give (sell) away the images that mean the most to you.

Rosalinda is model that doesn't come around everyday..... Cherish it.

Message edited by author 2006-05-06 09:35:39.
05/06/2006 11:22:27 AM · #10
This is why I love you, Man. I already knew the story and still I got caught up in it.

A true A-Class Artist, indeed.

P
05/06/2006 11:39:57 AM · #11
Thanks for sharing this.... very moving.
05/06/2006 11:51:05 AM · #12
Your compassion shows in your work, Librodo. You have made this lady immortal! Thanks for sharing this story.
05/06/2006 12:43:56 PM · #13
Sadly I was unable to find the last magazine you were published in. If they publish these photos I hope I have better luck. They are truly wonderful.
05/06/2006 12:56:49 PM · #14
Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Sadly I was unable to find the last magazine you were published in. If they publish these photos I hope I have better luck. They are truly wonderful.


I had two spreads in Digital Photo UK last April. You will probably recognize the pictures. DPChallenge pics.:)

Manny
05/06/2006 12:59:18 PM · #15
Originally posted by keegbow:

Manny these images are worth far more then what some are willing to pay now.

Your images will grow in value as your talent becomes more well known, but on a personal level don't ever give (sell) away the images that mean the most to you.

Rosalinda is model that doesn't come around everyday..... Cherish it.


Well-said Tim. That's why I keep on finding reasons not to enter it in a competition for the money. And I am not really keen on sending it to the Digital Photo mag. Let's see what's gonna happen.:)
05/06/2006 01:02:05 PM · #16
wonderful story manny. i would love to have the opportunity to photograph someone like her wehn i go back to the Philippines someday.

salamat pare ko. inspirasyon ka talaga!
05/06/2006 09:40:23 PM · #17
bump
05/06/2006 09:46:06 PM · #18
Super shots and a great story to go along with it.

AWESOME
05/06/2006 09:58:14 PM · #19
Wonderful story and wondeful photos. She looks so much better in black/white or duotone yet you managed to pull off a color portrait very well. No surprise of course.
05/06/2006 10:01:37 PM · #20
Such a wonderful story and, of course, beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing ... gives me hope that someday, somewhere, somehow, I will be able to approach someone. Of course, the pics won't be as good as yours.
05/07/2006 01:29:01 AM · #21
Gotta say mister.. that i'm in love with her.. (she has a pretty great name too ~mine is Rosalind ;) laughs )

I adore wrinkles and the stories they tell. Much like you said, the lines on her face tell a story.. the thing that intrigues me the most after the wrinkles is the pink hair and the hair colour changes.

She is Brilliant and a free spirit. I hope to have that same wild abandonment when I am her age.. embracing life and walking to my own beat for the rest of my days.

Thank you for Sharing such a magical woman with us.. she has served well in inspiring me personally and with photography (to keep myself open to the people we meet in this adventure I call life)

I love all the pictures you have of her.

Message edited by author 2006-05-07 03:27:05.
05/07/2006 02:35:31 AM · #22
Love that you have taken the time to share the stories and the pictures .. cheers Manny it is always wonderful to know the backgrounds of the pics we take :)

Kari
05/07/2006 02:47:24 AM · #23
Wonderful shots and an equally wonderful story to go along.
05/07/2006 08:57:26 AM · #24
Originally posted by Shecoya:

She is Brilliant and a free spirit. I hope to have that same wild abandonment when I am her age.. embracing life and walking to my own beat for the rest of my days.

Thank you for Sharing such a magical woman with us.. she has served well in inspiring me personally and with photography (to keep myself open to the people we meet in this adventure I call life)

I love all the pictures you have of her.


Very well-said. She is a woman of substance. She might have lost her hearing and sight (in one eye), yet she has so much zest for life. We can learn a lot of lessons from her.:)
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