To mark its 87th year, Asia’s oldest photographic society presents Our Philippines: Intimate Images, a collection of photos reflective of its members’ purpose, both as artists and Filipinos
Manila Breakwater (1965) by Benedicto R. Cabrera
The Camera Club of the Philippines (CCP) has always been the main home of the nation’s photographers, whether they be industry giants or aspiring, part-time lensmen. This collective of artists, by way of vision and direction, are driven by two pursuits: nurturing creativity and tracking the movement of history.
These goals were brought to the fore in celebrating the group’s 87th anniversary, for which CCP members re-examined what it means to be a Filipino artist. “Our Club has evolved from purely pursuing the arts to raising social consciousness,” says 2015 CCP President Frederick Yuson. “Art is about touching the hearts of the beholder, but it becomes more relevant when it is used to help change the lives of those who are most in need.” Our Philippines: Intimate Images is the manifestation of this belief in the form of a collection of photographs that capture Philippine history, culture, and nature. Containing the works of masters like of BenCab, Juvenal G. Sanso, and Jaime Zobel De Ayala, the book presents itself not just as a mere compilation of images, but as a visual triumph, sights of the country captured by the sharpest eyes.
In keeping with CCP’s emphasis on the importance of social consciousness, sales of the book will benefit the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS). It is fitting that a collection aiming to visually encompass the Philippine experience and how culture develops also doubles as a project used to fight what cuts the lives of so many Filipinos short.
“Intimate Images is a testament to our collective resolve for environmental and social responsibility,” says Yuson. The social edge of the book is twofold: aside from the collection’s association with PCS, the works within the book place emphasis on the themes and imagery of nature, another way to articulate the value of life.
Perhaps this is the triumph of Our Philippines: Intimate Images: most projects of the highbrow kind concern themselves purely with aesthetics, failing to pay heed to art’s social importance. CCP’s newest book, a culmination of the club’s long years of learning, makes art’s capacity to bring about both cultural and concrete change its central concern.