Celebrity photographer Raymund Isaac died in a hospital in San Francisco, California, on Sept. 3. He was 58.
In a Facebook post dated July 24, he wrote that he had been brought to the California Pacific Medical Center “due to lack of oxygen” and was alone due to COVID rules. “Even Jayson Vicente can’t be with me now,” he wrote.
On July 15, less than two weeks before Isaac was rushed to the hospital, he and Vicente were married in Las Vegas, Nevada. A few days earlier, the lensman posted his photo on social media after getting his first COVID jab.
In his Instagram account (@chocol8man) a few days ago, Vicente posted a photo of their hands wearing matching Cartier wedding bands with the caption: “My love to you @raymundisaac and our faith [in] God is my strength. I know how excited you are to share this news to our loved ones & friends so I’m sharing this now as your proud husband [diamond ring] 07.15.2021.”
News of Isaac’s death last weekend led to an outpouring of online tributes from friends and family.
“I am still in deep shock…COVID has taken so many loved ones away from us all…Now it has taken away from us—from me—one of only two of the country’s top—and my most trusted, most-often-contracted photographers and really good friends,” wrote actress Sharon Cuneta.
“I will miss your thoughtfulness and kindness and love during our photo shoots at your studio or our home…your lambing and just making kwento with you about our teenage years—you in La Salle, me in St. Paul’s and ISM—just laughing our hearts out whenever we worked together and found a break to catch up. Our deepest condolences to Raymund Isaac’s family, husband Jayson, and all others who love him,” Cuneta wrote.
No fake smiles
“Itinuro n’ya sa ‘min na tabingi ang bibig mo ‘pag fake ang ngiti mo (He taught us that our mouths would be crooked if our smiles were fake),” wrote comedian Michael V. “I never had a fake smile in any of our sessions. Thank you, Raymund, for making the world a better place to show us our smiles. Even now under our masks and our tears, your memory will always be something to smile about.”
House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda also took to Facebook to express her condolences: “Raymund Isaac brought out the best in me, whether in Venice for the Biennale or even in his studio since the 1980s. He knew how to motivate, he knew that lighting is life, he knew the best angle, we loved the same music, and we were friends! It was a joy to have such a gifted photographer as a real close friend.”
Top model and former editor of Cosmopolitan Philippines Myrza Sison recalled how Isaac was the first photographer to take her headshot.
“You saw the beauty in everyone, even when they did not see it, taught them to own it, and captured it for all the world to see,” Sison wrote on Facebook.
“You patiently taught us how to come alive and smoulder, not just in front of your lens but also in life, to seize it and live it to the fullest like you did. Your loss leaves a gaping hole in the worlds of photography, fashion, beauty and entertainment, and in the hearts of all of us whom you generously taught and touched, inspired and motivated,” Sison added.
In an earlier Zoom interview with Isaac for her online show Tick Talk, Sison asks him what he thinks his legacy will be. He recalls how moved he is when he gets calls from people who say that they attended a seminar he had given. Even if they had sat quietly at the back, they felt motivated enough to put up their own—and now—thriving studio.
“My legacy is when I make one life better, when I change a life,” Isaac said.
Get the latest lifestyle news delivered to your inbox