ReD Ognita is a Filipino award winning photographer, born in Philippines and currently based in Beijing, China. The artist have a original, distinctive and special technique that is marking his black-and-white images. ReD explores solitary landscapes, hidden architectural creations, and never seen seascapes with a high aesthetic value.
We had the great opportunity to interview this great photographer and to share with you some of the best visual interpretations of this artist. Don't hesitate to check out below the details and the inspiring images.
Can you make a short introduction to ReD Ognita Photography?
If my photography is a person, it will only be a child. For some, maybe just an infant. I had my first camera and started in photography late 2006. The idea was to document every family activity since I spend most of my time abroad. But having more time being away, it was also then that it became a hobby.
Whenever I can, I subscribe to the technique of long exposures and to the idea of less is more. The ability to gather time and put them in a single frame amazes me. I am interested in the calm and quiet. And minimalism fits the approach. Maybe it's not photography anymore - I can't say. But what's in a name anyway. It's the connection that matters.
In the direct sense, photography is a cross between time and place but for me, it can be more. I find no appeal in photography by definition. Completely copying what's in front of a camera seems to be a function of a photocopying machine. If we regard photography as a form of art, then it should share some of the basic characteristics of the other arts. Expression more than mere replication.
What’s your creative process like?
At the very root, my creative process is a slow process. Aside from the technique itself, most of the ideas only comes when my frame of mind coincides with the frame of my camera. I need to be connected in my surroundings and attuned with my muse to be able to create. Sometimes, she comes. Sometimes she does not. Though that may be the case, it does not stop me from putting in the time. I notice that the more I do my part, the more my muse reveals herself. Creativity can come on the field or in post. I would like to think that I have a balance of both. With my limited years of shooting, I only have less than 100 images. Needless to say, my shutter count is very low. I go out in the field with a pre-defined goal but always ready to be surprised - or go home empty handed.
What can you tell us about your prints?
During a talk, I was very fortunate to be approached by an art collector and a printer. I was invited to explore the possibilities of my work. My pt/pd prints is a collaboration between a printer who studied and trained as an apprentice in Japan and myself. Together with a gallery owner, we tried for several months to nail down, not only the aesthetics, but also the reason why we should pursue the path. I could say that my prints is a hybrid of old and new techniques and technology.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
Inspiration can be found in many things. Some even use negativity as a positive driver in creating something beautiful. Personally, I find that inspirational stories drives me best - even if there's no images involved. Stories of people who paved the way so that ours will be better. Stories that celebrates humanity and uplifts the human spirit. Hard to explain in words but those things that makes one believe and encourages others to follow.
Why do I like photography? I am not really sure... I can tell you bits and pieces of here and there, small achievements and recognitions, but in reality, these are only the side-effects of loving the art. They were not there when it all started and I think I'd still do it even for myself alone. But if I am to give an answer, maybe because I like the experience - a quiet time from the real world and an opprtunity to create. And that, is very satisfying.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
There's a lot of talent out there that are untapped. There's also a sea of tips and advice from the veterans. It humbles me knowing that some follows my work and would like to hear my 2 cents. But if I can pass an advise or two to someone that would be willing to hear to listen, it'll be the following:
Recognise your creative rhythm.
Check your portfolio and assess what were the conditions when you took your best work. What were the weather conditions. Was it raining? after the rain? early morning? late night? How was your state of being? Were you relaxed? Angry? Did you have a deadline? What were the motivations? Some people are morning person, some are not. Knowing our creative rhythm will help us develop an effective creative process that will eventually increase our keepers.
Develop a habit.
Where do you place your lens cap? What do you check before pressing the shutter? Where is your cleaning cloth? Have a system that can be turned into a habit by doing them everytime, all the time. These small things will help you to be more effective on the field. The hope is to find consistency. Consistency that can eventually be reflected on your work.
Connect yourself to other forms of art. Dance, theatre, music, literature - things that you consider beautiful. Participate in them if you have the chance. These might open up new ideas and promote better appreciation. Hopefully, these influences will spill over your personal work. Besides, the world is only as beautiful as we want it to be.
Set the stage.
Remember the 10,000 hours rule. Find the time to create, or at least find time to be ready to create. Sorting, tagging, doing non-creative things can lead to a creative project. Ideas can be born when we're doing something else. We must set the stage. We will be able to hear the whispers of our muse better when we're ready.
Pass it forward.
Share whenever possible. Not only your work but also your knowledge. Give talks, teach or write about it. It will force you to double check your facts and practice. Karma is alive and well.
Can you name some great photographer that inspires you and why?
Everything that surrounds me, influences me. Of course, most of which are personal experiences. I actually think that somehow, a work reflects the personality of it's creator. I am inspired by the creativity of Michiko Kon and Tokihiro Sato. The work of Jerry Uelsmann also shows me what dreams may look like in paper. It frees me from the limits of what the eyes can only see and from the box of what a photograph should or should not be. For aesthetics, I would say I am a fan of Michael Kenna and David Fokos. As they stood on the shoulders of giants before them, I would like to believe that maybe someday, I'll reach the same confidence and clarity of vision.
If you have something else to add (a video/book/about your next project/etc.) just tell us.
In collaboration with a U.S. based publishing and licensing company, we are planning to reproduce some of my work for a wider audience. I am also planning of continuing my pigment prints but I am still on the lookout for a printer who shares the same aesthetic values as mine. The idea is not to limit my work only to galleries but to also spread the same joy that my work has given me. The goal is to share.
"For a book is only a compilation of paper and ink until someone actually reads it."
Dear ReD, we are very glad to have you featured on this online magazine, among your splendid black and white photographs. We are sure that your future will bring you more and more opportunities and projects, books and clients for the prints. Good luck with all of them.