Joining ASEAN Photo Story Competition in 2021, April Jieren R. Muska from the Philippines never expected that her new hobby that she picked up during the pandemic would let her be one of the finalists of the competition. Through “Amihan’s Haven”, she highlighted the positive impacts of having renewable energy in Ilocos Norte.
How does it feel to be one of the finalists in ASEAN Photo Competition?
May I take a loan to the oft-recurring line: ”Everyday is a good day to learn”. As an amateur photographer who just started this hobby during the pandemic, I am very lucky to be one of the finalists in this competition. Participating in the intensive workshop as well as immersing myself in the community to complete my photo project is a life-changing experience.
What are your key takeaways from the competition as well as the workshop?
Through this competition, I was able to draw connections not only to my mentors and fellow finalists but also to the culture we share as a Southeast Asian nation. Even though the event was held virtually, it opened the door of opportunities for me to appreciate their countries, learn about their lifestyle, and be proud of our diversity.
Can you tell us a little about your photo collecting journey?
Due to the pandemic, it is very challenging to take photos again. I almost gave up and decided to just use the entry I submitted. But a famous saying goes, "If there’s a will, there’s a way.” I tried my luck and sought the help of the provincial government. Fortunately, they assisted us to shoot the very next day. They coordinated our travel to the local government units of Bangui and Burgos, police checkpoints, wind and solar farm, and souvenir shop, observing health protocols.
What did you learn from the workshop?
I can say that I learned a lot from the workshop because before I attended it, there was no concrete idea on how I wanted my photo project to be presented. When I have the opportunity to shoot again, I did not only capture images but I collect photos that will perfectly fit my narrative. Photos that are strong enough to clearly convey my message even without context to people of any background.
Moreover, miro was introduced to us during the workshop. It helped me a lot in constructing my photo project as I got the chance to experiment with my sequence. I realize that different patterns and combinations yield different interpretations and stories. As a photographer and writer combined, I focused on constructing my narrative as impactful and readable as possible. I also chose a title that will draw attention, especially to the non-Filipino audience, introducing Amihan is like sharing a piece of our multidimensional culture to the world.
What is your goal after participating in ASEAN Photo Competition?
I aim to become a catalyst of change. Through my photo project, I know I can inspire more people and communities in shifting to renewable sources of energy. Amihan’s haven tackles the positive effects of having wind and solar farms in Ilocos Norte. Aside from its contribution to the total energy supply in the Philippines, these infrastructures also provide numerous jobs to the locals as well as contribute to the tourism economy in the province. Indeed, the sky is the limit; hand-in-hand, let’s start embracing renewable energy in sustaining our lives, and securing our future.
Edited by: Adinda Widya Pasugitaningtiyas, Communications Intern