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Hersley-Ven Casero captures ‘joy in the moment’

By ALFRED A. YUSON, The Philippine STAR Published Jun 28, 2021 6:00 am

Dumaguete’s creative ferment goes on, pandemic and all, and well beyond the literature that the Silliman University National Writers Workshop has famously accounted for. Painters, sculptors, musicians, theater artists, dancers, video animators, photographers and filmmakers are on a constant thrust of creativity.

A few years ago, a motorized tricycle even joined the horde of “pedicabs” as a unique prototype with a body of grilled metal sculpted as a fish that glowed at night.

The latest homegrown international hero is Hersley-Ven Casero, now billed as a street photographer but who is better known as a multidisciplinary visual artist who has racked up quite a string of credits in the past decade.

His latest triumph is the publication of a hardbound book of street/ documentary photography titled All in Good Time, published as a limited print edition by Pinspired Philippines.

The first hundred copies were sold out in a week’s time. The layout design in landscape format is by Evgeniya Spiridonova, while the Introduction is provided by Touilla Mavromati. An excerpt:

“‘All in Good Time’ is a phrase that encompasses the idea of patience, of reassurance, of making peace with a lack of control and of a trust that the Universe will always provide in good time. It is a sentiment that many of us have had to befriend during the past year, and one that may stick with us for some time as we approach the light of normality at the end of a seemingly endless tunnel, and transition into the next chapter of humanity.

“This same philosophy of patience and trust is also at the heart of Casero's daily practice as a street photographer. His signature photographic style captures split-second snapshots of comedy, absurdity or pristine alignment in life's chaotic and infinite randomness. It is a process of ‘a kind of meditation’ as he refers to it himself. Instincts, composure, perspective, and damn good timing all culminate into one decisive moment. The Universe delivers a great shot; All in Good Time.”

All of 120 pages, with about a similar number of photographs, spin a thematic thread of images that Dumaguete-philes will find familiar, and then some: kids at play, shoreline frolic, boulevard lampposts, sunsets, street patterns, walls, umbrellas, kites, shadows, silhouettes, visual puns, graphic juxtapositions, field workers, a truck brimming with red onions, a colorful array of slippers at a street store, the city at night… 

Casero arrests the moment of epiphany — as of a boy diving off a pier and caught aloft above clouds. It’s a skill that has earned him critical praise abroad, where his works have been recognized and published, such as in the LA Times, which also sponsored his first personal camera equipment after taking cognizance of his “passion and dedication to the practice.”

Born and raised in Dumaguete, he has been an Artist-in-Residence of Foundation University, where he received his BSC in marketing and an Artist of the Year award. He also gained the Negros Oriental Young Heroes Award in the field of Visual Arts in 2018.

  Multidisciplinary visual artist Hersley-Ven Casero

Over the years, Casero has explored and experimented with a wide spectrum of materials, subjects and concepts. I recall inviting him to join the “Chromatext Rebooted” exhibit at the CCP Main Gallery in 2015. He sent a framed series of surreal drawings that had ordinary-looking people with their faces and heads replaced by angular rocks.

From solo art exhibits at Café Memento and KRI Restaurant in Dumaguete, he has joined mural projects as in Bacolod and group exhibits such as Art Fair Philippines 2016 and Art in the Park 2016 in Makati, and mounted solo art exhibits in galleries in Cebu City, Taguig, Makati, Ortigas Center, and California.

International exhibits he joined last year were: “#ICPConcerned: Global Images for Global Crisis,” International Center of Photography, in New York; “City VS Quarantine,” Traveling Group Photo exhibition in Lviv, Ukraine and other European cities; and the “Fujifilm Moment Street Photo Awards 2020” in Poland.

His photographs have won a Silver Medal in the “Street & Children” category of the Paris International Street Photography Awards 2020. He was also a finalist for the Sony World Photography Awards 2021.

Depicting joy in the moment in Hersley-Ven Casero’s “Colour Wheels”

When I asked if he could pinpoint a favorite photo in his book other than what appears in the cover, his reply was revealing of his mindset when it came to the creative impulse.

“That’s tough to answer, as I know every story, every scenario and every emotion I felt as I took each picture, and they are all pretty special in some way or another. They may have given me a little adrenaline rush, a new perspective, a sense of wonder or even a little laugh…

“But when I look at this particular photograph (referring to ‘Colour Wheels’ on p. 45 — taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM), it takes me right back to all the good feelings that overcame me when I took it. Like a wave of bittersweet subconscious connections and realizations. Witnessing unfettered creativity and invention, absolute and unadulterated joy in the moment, shared with a community of friends bonded from birth, and not even an inkling that this sense of ‘play’ in its purest form will soon be just a faded, nostalgic, childhood memory.”

 More power to your art and photography, Hersley-Ven Casero!  

To pre-order a copy of All in Good Time, one may visit