Cover Photo: artfairphilippines.com

Japanese-American photographer, Neal Oshima, has built a reputable career for himself in the Philippines and beyond. Today, he shares his take on the incredible minutiae that has inspired his photography

Celebrated photographer Neal Oshima has won much recognition (and a slew of awards) for his work in "Asian photography". The artist, who has a known affinity towards the Philippine islands and its artefacts, has worked on a variety of projects throughout his time; and his versatility is merely the tip of the iceberg. He's done artistic exhibitions, advertisements, food photography, and many more. Recently, he's been focusing on doing what he describes as "the same old", which includes books, art shows, and exhibition curation. "The river is never the same twice, [however]," he says. 

Some of Oshima's best works have been capturing intimate moments and minute details otherwise overlooked. "There are some amazing images to be taken in your immediate surroundings," he tells young photographers. "One doesn’t have to travel far, climb mountains or meet famous people to find subjects of interest." He himself has brought out the magnificence out of humdrum items and activities often found or experienced in daily life. Yet, his work always comes out as a mix of intriguing and intimate—never boring. 

"I like that Philippine art photography is so open and raw," he remarks. "Since it’s been under-appreciated as an art form for so long (particularly by collectors), photographers have been given the room to experiment without the demands of the marketplace and results have been amazing." To him, the growth of the local photography scene has always been fairly organic. "More galleries and curators are realising that the medium can be a draw, pulling in newer and younger viewers as photographs become increasingly collectable."

His main piece of advice? Think outside the box. Look at a subject and explore how it can be translated into something new. The medium itself—the camera—is another creative outlet young photographers can stand to learn more of. "Delve into the history of photography, learn about film and pre-digital photographic processes. Make your own camera, any image-making device: a scanner, an x-ray machine or a surveillance system can be a camera." 

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