Its been over two years since I have had the opportunity to focus my camera on some Manila street photography. Manila is one of my all time favourite places to shoot, it’s chaotic, hot, very humid and a home from home for me that is full of exciting opportunities to create some fantastic images.
With that said, Manila street photography is hard work, you are working in thirty degrees heat, ninety per cent humidity while breathing air saturated in jeepney fumes and the smell of grilling meats. Along with the bombardment of car horns, the sound of screeching breaks and shouting of street vendors this place is indeed an assault on my timid southern British senses. Because of this I typically aim to venture out before sunrise or at night as its cooler, and I love the dramatic look that is created by of all the bare white bulbs used to light pretty much everything within the wet markets and barangays.
Unlike my approach to wedding photography, I try to approach Manila street photography without a particular plan or any real expectations. Instead, I aim to focus as much as possible on the experience, to explore and enjoy the sights. Visually, Manila is incredible, but to translate what you see into images that do it justice is very challenging. Seeking a well lit moment at night that has the potential to form a decent composition amongst the sea of bustling activity can be frustrating if you are trying to fulfil preconceived expectations of the images you want to shoot.
Although I have shot all over the city, on this trip I focused a fair bit of time in Guadalupe, Guadalupe is a hectic marketplace just off EDSA. It’s approximately a 15-minute Jeepney ride from Market Market Mall in Fort Bonifacio and has a mix of local bars, wet markets, shanty dwellings and makeshift basketball courts all within a reasonable distance apart. I have shot here many times and have always enjoyed the experience and have been greeted warmly by the locals. If you would like to find out more about the city, I’d recommend checking out When in Manila a website full of great content on Metro Manila and the Philippines in general.