A multimedia art student in Laguna, Nico Binwag, showed that photography is not based on a person’s equipment after winning first place in “Best Tourism Photo” in the Makabagong San Juan-Pinaglabanan Shrine Photo and Video Contest.
The award ceremony was held on August 30, wherein Binwag supposedly received only Php 100,000, but to his surprise, First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos added to his cash prize making it Php1 million.
The photos Binwag submitted were only test shots; his focus was on the historic essence in order to promote San Juan’s tourism.
He chose black-and-white shots to shift audiences to the focus of his pictures rather than the vibrance of the colors that come with them.
“The idea behind the entry was to portray the history of San Juan. Applied some learnings on what would be appropriate for doing the entry. Since it is a historical subject, I believe that black and white would be much more appropriate as it allows the audience to focus and not get distracted by colors, including the collage” he said.
Binwag became an inspiration to many by encouraging photographers or photo enthusiasts that, without professional gear, anyone could tell the stories if they wanted to.
“You do not need expensive gear or equipment to have the best output; just be able to photograph a subject that can tell stories for many years,” he said.
He even shared that he wasn’t expecting to win first place, and upon learning his entry was selected as a winning piece, it brought him tears of joy.
“To be honest, I feel like I was dreaming. I was expecting a third or second since I compared my entry to other entries during the awarding; it brought me to tears, especially to my family, who have been supportive on my journey,” Binwag said.
Binwag shared on his Facebook post how he thought it was only a prank when he got called to wear a barong and slacks for the awarding ceremony.
“I was messaged by Ma’am Melchorica Herrera, to wear barong dahil may awarding daw. Loob loob ko, “baka prank ito?” kaya pinaconfirm ko. Ma’am Herrera confirmed na meron pero hindi minention kung anong award. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, “hala pano yan nasa Santa Rosa ako ngayon… pero sige first time ko naman maka-attend ng awarding sa photography,” he shared.
Binwag continues his passion for photography and videography by being a digital creator while showcasing his talent for telling stories to bring new perspectives to his audience.