Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Strobist Next Door

Growing up in a testosterone-laden household impressed upon me  man’s propensity to self-conceit. Meeting Pareng Jotay (as I fondly call him) refreshed and ultimately changed my views on men. In his self-effacing manner, he showed me that not all men are born chauvinistic and that chivalry is not yet dead.

Hanging out with Jotay for years (not that long actually but seems like decades already) doesn’t make me an expert on who he is. But there are facets in his personality that made him a special gift to his family and friends.

At the forefront of this is his selfless devotion to his wife, Susan, and unwavering support to his parents. Although, he had already hung his own pair of gloves (metaphorically speaking), he jumps to his friends’ defense when needed.

A chemist who knows his chemistry well, it is in art on which he excels (that almost rhymes!). A poet and a photographer, he has his own brand of art uncommon to these days. His poetry bespeaks the style of the olden times, where poetry is a fruit of labor and not just a product of nonsensical lines (another rhyme!).

I understand perfectly well Jotay’s aversion towards fashion photography and events. For one, his photos show a lot of depth on the subject’s soul most fashion photos lack. The bustle associated with events such as weddings creates an  imbalance on an artist’s equilibrium, especially if one’s style relies on soulful images.

Speaking in the perspective of a fellow artist, his works had greatly improved through the years. As a friend, I am very proud that he has found a niche in this world. Just like anyone, the battles he had to wage may left him scarred.

But it is his battle-scarred self that made him a loving husband, a dutiful son, and a best friend.

And I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you, P’re.

Making a portrait is one of my goals when I embark into this journey. The artworks above traced my earliest attempts to my recent work on portrait makings. In particular, the recent portrait was made while Jotay was sitting for me.


  1. Jotay is certainly not diutay at all. Great tribute to your next-seat neighbor.

  2. Thank you, Hess. Took me a while to find the words. :)

  3. This is truly a humbling tribute, P're. To stray from the path of sounding self-important, let me just say thanks.

  4. You're welcome, P're. I am happy to have written this. :)