Photographing the great man–with him directing the shoot

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FR. JAMES B. Reuter SJ on June 2011. MANDY NAVASERO

It was June 18, 2011, when I was commissioned to photograph Fr. James Reuter at the Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Parañaque City, where he had retired and was receiving hospice care. It was for an Asian Eye Institute photo exhibit. For the shoot, he was brought out by a caregiver to the hospital chapel.

I remembered when he was so young. I would go to St. Paul College to watch plays starring Celeste Legaspi and Charo Santos and other actors. He was then young and energetic. His eyes sparkled.

The last time I saw him was in Dasmariñas Village, at the German Embassy. He came quite early. Oscar Lopez was to be given an award that day. They were not allowing guests to enter yet, so I requested the guard to kindly get him a chair so he could sit down while waiting.

During my shoot, he was directing where and how he should be photographed! As a photographer, I should have complete authority over my subject. But I allowed him to direct me. He was, after all, Fr. James Reuter.

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