“Portraits from the Field” by Francisco Guerrero

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“I remember quite vividly the first time I discovered Irving Penn’s images from Papua New Guinea—of tribal men and women in elaborate mud masks and headdresses. Here was a photographer best known for his celebrity portraits and fashion images, in the middle of the jungle taking pictures of the most “primitive” members of humanity.
It only took a split second to understand his point: That these people were far from primitive. The images Penn created were a document of the intricate and beautiful manifestation of culture that people are capable of.
So, as a young photographer, I decided to follow in those very large footsteps, traveling with a background whenever I could, taking portraits of people from Tahiti to Costa Rica.
I would argue that these formal portraits enable the subjects to pose, to choose how they are to be photographed. By using techniques usually reserved for fashion models and glossy magazines, these images attempt to make the banal, the normal, into magical subjects.

These images represent cultural, social and economic diversity—how Filipino identity is plural and not the simplistic concept that we try to cram under the blanket term “Pinoy pride.

” Travel does not always have to be about the next secret beach or the best resorts.

I find that most of the time, it really is about a conversation with a farmer or an encounter with a faith healer—it’s about new viewpoints, not just new places.”

About the photographer:

Francisco Guerrero is a Spanish/Filipino photographer based in Manila. At the Brooks Institute of Photography in California, Francisco majored in Documentary Photography and was part of the West Africa Expedition. He won a photojournalism competition for American Photo magazine. Francisco also attended Goldsmiths College, London from where he holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Communications.
Spending 8 years in Barcelona, Spain, Francisco has worked commercial clients such as IHG, Starwood Group , MHI, Daman Dubai, HSBC, Merck, and Nestle on their global-level projects. Over the years his editorial clients have included Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, Monocle, Surface, Outside, New York Time Travel, Elle Decoration, Smile, Hemispheres and Lexus Magazine.
Currently residing back in Manila for the past 5 years, Francisco is a founding partner and Executive Editor at Grid Magazine. Occasionally, he hosts What I See, a travel and photography TV show on Channel 9. This series of black and white images presented at Grid Gallery are culled from a year-long project of portraits of Filipinos from all walks of life. The images were created during the filming of the show What I See and speak to the vast diversity of Filipino culture, religion, and ethnicity.

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