The thing that is so very special about the Philippines is its welcoming, friendly, creative, forgiving, kind and resilient people. The landscape is magnificent too but the country is really about its people. Having met Filipinos working in so many different countries, I decided to focus on taking portraits of Filipinos living and working in their own land. I looked for people involved in many types of vocations or activities.
I like the connection that comes with making these straightforward portraits. I always ask permission first and if people refuse I thank them and move on. After receiving the go-ahead, I always feel it’s a privilege that brings with it a certain responsibility. This style of documentary photography allows me to enter the lives of strangers, however briefly, and to record it for others to see. In the Philippines, since we often share a common language, we usually have a pleasant conversation and spend an intimate few minutes with each other.
The Philippines is so much more than the view presented by the world press whenever there is a disaster or calamity – so much more than terrorism, typhoons, poverty, hopelessness, and political vendettas. Their faith and close-knit families always give Filipinos hope during the hardest of times. Every day these hard-working people get up and work to support their families. It is these daily occupations and the dignity and pride that attach to even the humblest of tasks that I have tried to capture in my photographs.
Available for purchase: Philippine Portraits Postcard Sets
A collection of 24 postcards. Each card measures 5″x7″ and is printed on foldcote 15 paper and presented in a tri-fold glossy black foldcote package. $20 per set. Contact me for details.
Portrait of the Philippines in Ottawa show
Published in the Philippine Canadian Inquirer, May 12 2012 by Irwin Cruz
Photographer Liza Linklater will hold ‘Philippine Portraits’, a photography exhibition at ZoomExposure, Ottawa from May 11 – 26.
A series of 15 accented black-and-white photographs of Filipinos of various ages and professions, it is the culmination of a 14-month-long portraiture project was taken during Linklater’s four year stay in the Philippines.
Linklater, who is also a visual anthropologist and writer, has participated in nearly 30 shows, including eight solo exhibitions, in various galleries and spaces in Canada, Thailand and the Philippines.
First shown at the Ayala Foundation’s Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati, Philippines, her ‘Philippine Portraits’ will be unveiled in North America for the first time in a two-week long show at the Canadian capital.
From softball players and ‘takatak’ boys to nuns and skateboarding teenagers, the suite presents everyday Filipinos in the middle of work or play, pausing to pose for the curious, genial gaze of the camera.
What results is a veracious witnessing of the country and its people in images where the sense of pride and character that is decidedly Filipino are palpable. For example, a shot of a jeepney driver who plies his trade along Makati City’s Guadalupe-Del Pan route gives a semblance the nation’s ready propensity for mirthfulness.
“The thing that is so very special about the Philippines is its welcoming, friendly, creative, forgiving, kind and resilient people. The landscape is magnificent too but the country is really about its people,” Linklater says.
The photographer has travelled extensively in Asia – living in the continent for more than 12 years – and has also taken photographs of quotidian life from the mountains of Ladakh and Tibet to the streets of Bangkok and Colombo. Many of these projects have appeared in publications both in Asia and North America.
But this show is hardly travel photography. It is photography whose strain stems from that long tradition of portraiture that seeks out the gravitas of the man and woman of the street, as grandly epitomised by German photographer August Sander in his series ‘People of the 20th Century’.
As Linklater notes, “every day these hard-working people get up and work to support their families. It is these daily occupations and the dignity and pride that attach to even the humblest of tasks that I have tried to capture in my photographs.”
‘Philippine Portraits’ runs from May 11 – 26 at ZoomExposure, 2ndFloor, 391a Bank Street, 2nd Floor, Ottawa. http://www.lizalinklater.com/
Irwin Cruz writes about Philippine art.
Togetherness, a photo exhibit by Liza Linklater, June 10-15 2014 in Seoul, Korea
Published in Hyundai Department Store magazine, May 2014
“A Warm Present from a Person Going Together with You”
There are times when we receive solace and courage by sharing moments, or going in the same direction with somebody next to us. What a great blessing or a gift it would be to know you have someone who would always listen to what you say, and be by your side! The people captured by Liza Linklater, a Canadian photographer, have been given such a warm gift. They are people going together, all in close relation with one other, looking at the same direction. Being contrasted with the black and white background, your eyes will naturally meet with those of the figures in the photographs. “Liza believes that the most powerful mystery of a photograph is that ‘it makes strangers share the moments of their lives and understand one another.’ The photographs of Liza Linklater have such humanitarian warmth, maybe because she had majored in anthropology and worked as a journalist for a long time. Soon after looking at these photographs documented from her lifelong journey, you will realize how people around us are the greatest gift to us,” Director Park of Ryugaheon Gallery said. While appreciating the photographs presented at the Photo Exhibit, “Togetherness” to be held at Ryugaheon Gallery from the 10th until the 15th of June, we are also given the opportunity to think of ourselves in relation to those who could accompany us.
[H] Reported by Kye An-na.