Interview with Jilson Tiu

Photo by: By Jilson Tiu

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Diving into Jilson’s portfolio is a vibrant and eclectic experience, which offers us a wide amount of possible ways on approaching human life as it bursts in both the cities and the outermost corners of the urban civilization. It isn’t hard to imagine that Jilson is a photographer with an enviable sense or ability for being constantly surprised with the life surrounding him. It wasn’t hard to felt attracted with his images, and his way on framing both details and wholeness on the streets.

F. Your work truly speaks about walking with a camera, how do you discern between worthy and unworthy moments?

J. Worthy moments, means good light, great story or vice versa. Good light catches the eyes of the viewer and a good story or scene is the key to have a truly worthy moment. It has to make sense why you took that picture and it should fill something inside you, that you feel a sense of completeness in a photograph.

F. You have a highly nurtured portfolio, but let’s speak about street photography, what is your own definition about “street photography”?

J. I really didn’t know that I was a street photographer, I used to work as a photojournalist for a newspaper and my work really revolves around stories and human interest. Unique human activities that pops in a photo or an interesting story that makes your viewer feel the picture. Street photography for me about making art in real life. Life as a moving artwork and it’s up to you to frame it. For every moment there is a photograph, waiting for us photographers to capture it and preserve that gold moment. Appreciating that we live, there for we are. Combining the aesthetics of street photography and the story of photojournalism. A depth of feeling more than the depth of field.

Photo by: Jilson Tiu

F. How can you describe the city as a being?

A city is a being when it has something to say without you telling it. It tells you visually, without a direct answer, so you always have a new picture, at the same city.

F. How does weather participate in your photographs?

Weather is a big thing in my aesthetics, especially rain. It adds drama, texture and feeling to the scene. When someone enjoys the rain, I feel joy that someone also feels the same way, but I like when I’m with an umbrella. Appreciating the rain is like appreciating water, it’s a gift specifically here in the Philippines. Where summers and El Niño is really harsh so rain is a blessing and I find joy when people appreciate and embrace it.

F. Do you have a specific time of the day for hitting the streets?

J. It’s usually 3pm- until the evening. Because you get those dramatic lights and the city comes alive at night. I also enjoy the morning, when my body permits me.

F. What could you tell newcomers about gear?

J. The best camera is what you have, the moment it breaks that’s the time to upgrade, the moment it limits you, that’s the time you buy. Master it, because it is the extension of your vision and hand. Practice with it until it exhaust your creativity and when you feel like down, remember to always enjoy the process and appreciate the results.

Photo by: Jilson Tiu

There are two fundamental things that we can learn from Jilson’s work as street photographers. The first thing is that we need to squeeze out the life that surrounds us instead of just wishing to travel in order to capture great moments with our cameras. And the other one is that we need to be able to surprise with the things that surround us on a daily basis. But beyond that, we need to really learn how to see in multiple perspectives when these moments burst in front of our eyes. Life can be overwhelming, which makes it perfect for approaching it in various ways. Jilson has been able to do this, and his style, or his vision of the world solidifies during the post-processing stage of his workflow.

To see more work from Jilson please visit the links below: