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POLAROIDS on canvas by Cres Yulo



‘Old Magic’ of polaroid manipulation

By Anne Jambora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:18:00 11/03/2008

Filed Under: Photography

MANILA, Philippines - An obsolete technology makes its swan song as six artists showcase an exhibit of Polaroid manipulation in ?Old Magic,? until Nov. 7 in One Workshop Gallery, G/F, 2241 La Fuerza Plaza II, Don Chino Roces Ave. cor. Sabio St., Makati.

Presented by Foto Baryo, ?Old Magic? is a collection of unique, manually manipulated photographs taken between 2002 and 2007. Using a special film known as Time-Zero, images are altered manually by a blunt object just before the film seals in the final colors of the image.

As the Polaroid film develops, the chemicals are still soft. The gentle pressure from, say, a stylus or a fork, said Foto Baryo member Vixienne Marie Calulut, causes the ?colors to move.?

The result is a charming artwork akin to painting of ?etching and scratching? as colors blend together in strokes of swirls and lines.

All images were taken by a single camera, the now phased out Polaroid SX 70, which was passed around the group?s six members. Both film and camera are no longer in production.

Known as Foto Baryo, the group is composed of its founder Fernando Afable, Pinky Urmaza, Tommy Hafalla, Vixienne Marie Calulut, Maria Amor Rodriguez and Cres Rodriguez-Yulo. Foto Baryo has its studio/library at Tanauan, Batangas.

Founded in 2003, it began as a dream of Afable when, while working as a security guard for the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City, NY, in the late ?80s, he would sit-in through many classes and lectures.

One man?s garbage is another man?s treasure. Long since promoted as ICP?s darkroom manager, Afable, said Rodriguez, has collected through the years discarded equipment and photography books.

ICP changes its equipment every year and orders about three titles of the same book for each published photography book.

During inventories, excess titles and old equipment such as enlargers and aluminum sinks, are given away.

Five years ago, Afable spent most of his life savings to ship all equipment and books to his hometown, Tanauan, and set up a school last year constructed on a family lot. The school, named Foto Baryo, is patterned after ICP.

All cameras, equipment, chemicals, photo papers, classes, are free. The cameras are lent to anyone who has a passion to learn photography. All students who come to Foto Baryo come from families who cannot afford to buy a camera.

The school offers black-and-white photography from basic courses to advanced classes.
The spirit of Foto Baryo has also been taught in Sagada, where Hafalla and Calulut reside. Since Foto Baryo?s inauguration in 2006, some students in Sagada have been documenting the disappearance of indigenous culture.

A course for 8- to 18-year-olds from Parañaque, Metro Manila, using ?instamatic? (film point-and-shoot) camera recently culminated, with the students learning how to develop and print their own photographs at the end of the course. A similar project has also been conducted in Tanauan.

Afable seeks out the help of photographer friends to help Foto Baryo, friends who lend their time by flying over to give lectures, or make a donation to support his cause.

?Old Magic? will culminate with a three-day photography workshop on Nov. 6-9. Slots are limited to seven.

Starting at One Workshop studio, the workshop travels to Tanauan, where students will handle firsthand darkroom processing. Only film cameras are allowed. Lectures are to be conducted by black-and-white documentarist Hafalla.

Proceeds of the exhibit and workshop will go to funding future projects of Foto Baryo. Call/fax 8192074. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily except Sundays.

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