Art Fair Philippines Shines a Spotlight on Photography | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

artu nepomuceno art fair ph
“Cathedral of Shadows” by Artu Nepomuceno with Meg Manzano, presented by Art Agenda S.E.A. and Fashion & Market.

As we look back at the 2024 edition of Art Fair Philippines, we dive into the illuminated world of photography


Photography holds a unique place in the realm of fine art. The medium makes moments in time tangible. Expressions are made through subtle changes in composition and lighting, considering how the different elements interplay. All the while, the photographer works closely with the subject, ultimately telling a story. 

From grand presentations at the projects section, to books, ceramics, and fashion, there was something at art fair for everyone this year.

For the photography enthusiasts, this edition of the fair exhibited photographic work on a range of platforms. As we revisit the 2024 edition of Art Fair Philippines, here are some of the standout photography presentations, from gallerists to educational talks. 

“Cathedral of Shadows” by Artu Nepomuceno with Meg Manzano

Hailing from a family of filmmakers and renowned for his prominent work in fashion and commercial photography, Artu Nepomuceno unveiled his debut into fine art with ‘A Cathedral of Shadows’. Collaborating with his wife and co-artist, stylist Meg Manzano, the series comprised of nine poignant black-and-white portraits capturing close friends and frequent industry collaborators. 

Each portrait seemed to give a sense of gratitude while crafting a meaningful narrative. For instance, among the subjects featured is jewelry designer Natalya Lagdameo, who crafted Meg’s engagement ring, as well as Artu’s long-time lighting assistant Aaron Carlos.

The Filipino image-maker is known for his unconventional approaches to photography, seen how Nepomuceno distanced from the technical constraints of traditional photography, opting for a minimalist setup: a simple white wall and a clean white cloth that accentuated each subject’s silhouette.

In the “Light Notes” which were sold as postcards at the fair, Artu wrote, “This series on a personal level is about letting go of the rules I educated myself in. No lights, no particular or specific camera settings—just a simple white wall, a clean white cloth, a camera that could shoot, and a collection of people listening to the same music.” 

Through this stripped-down approach, the artists invited both the subjects and the audience to explore the multi-faceted aspects of human emotion and the connection that comes with it.

“When Comets Land” at Tarzeer Pictures

While the creative production group Tarzeer has produced a variety of visually striking editorial content for brands, the quality of their gallery work is no exception, especially with past art fair presentations

With well-developed concepts and neat curatorial direction, Tarzeer released “When Comets Land” for this year’s edition of Art Fair Philippines. Many works still play on the surreal, straddling reality, now entrenched in the central concept of nature in our world. 

The fourteen artists dissected and presented photographic renditions of the natural environment, with work by Borgy Angeles, Jed Bacason, E.S.L. Chen, Brian Del Rosario, Sara Erasmo, Geela Garcia, Gab Mejia, Angelo Mendoza, Ralph Mendoza, Alvin Quilit, Nicole Tee, Derek Tumala, Jake Verzosa, and Wipo.


Wawi Navarroza
Wawi Navarroza, “Rosas Pandan (Volviendo, Self-Portrait)” archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Lustre with artist’s frame, 53 x 40 in. 2023. Photo courtesy of Silverlens.

Curated by gallery directors Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo, Silverlens presented a whopping 60 artists in five sections: Ends with Nature, Cuts and Tears, Surface, Stories, and History and Identity.

Although it’s easy to forget despite the name Silverlens Galleries started as a space for photography when it opened in 2004. While the current exhibition spans mediums from painting to sculpture, many of the works explored photography—

For over 20 years, artist Wawi Navarozza has been well-known for her practice of self-portraits, one of which she presented for Silverlens this year of AFP. Issay Rodriguez showed a series of nature-based cyanotypes, a camera-less, yet photographic printing process that creates images through paper and UV light. Stephanie Syjuco also presented nostalgic archival pigments inkjet prints of both Miss Asia Beauty Queens and anti-riot police. Lastly, Frank Callaghan showed calming seascapes. 

“Print is Dead, Long Live Print!” at FotoMotoPH

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Founded by acclaimed photographers, artists, curators, and writers in the Philippines, FotoMotoPH is an organization that holds regular exhibitions, programs, and special projects to strengthen the presence of fine art photography in the country. 

For their presentation for Art Fair Philippines, FotoMotoPH showcased more than 30 artworks in various media, from images in the 1990s to fashion photography, and light installations. The exhibition “Print is Dead, Long Live Print!” was curated by Sandra Palomar and Stephanie Frondoso. 

The collective also has an exhibit as a part of the 10 Days of Art in “FotoMoto Underground” underneath the Legazpi underpass. The selection of exhibitors includes Arturo Luz, BenCab, Denise Weldon Miñana, E.S.L. Chen, Francisco Guerrero, Frank Callaghan, Geloy Concepcion, Geric Cruz, Gio Panlilio, James Clar, Jason Quibilan, Jay Yao, Kawayan de Guia, Mark Nicdao, MM Yu, Nana Buxani, Neal Oshima, Raena Abella, Tom Epperson, V.B, Veejay Villafranca, Wawi Navarroza. 

Photography Talks

Ambeth Ocampo. Photo: NoliSoli.

On February 16, Friday, you can expect two photography talks throughout the day. 

Esteemed columnist and Art historian Ambeth Ocampo presented “History from Archival Photographs”. Renowned for his engaging lectures, Ocampo explored how visual artists have utilized archival photographs. The talk complements the ongoing exhibition “Snare for Birds: Rereading the Colonial Archive” at the Ateneo Art Gallery.

Creative director Nachi Ugarte, Japanese publisher Hikari Machiguchi, and Photographer Neal Oshima discussed a variety of approaches to “funding, digitizing, archiving, preserving, presenting and publishing photographs” in “PRINT IS DEAD, LONG LIVE PRINT.”  The exhibit was a response to the Fotomoto exhibit of the same name, also at the fair.

The daily talks were presented in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery, British Council, and López Museum & Library.

Art Fair Philippines 2024 ran from February 16 to 18 at The Link at the Ayala Centre in Manila. 

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