She wanted glitzy, but instead got gritty.
Photographer Robert "Bert" Flores was commissioned by his sister a couple of months ago for her maternity shoot.
Upon receiving some sample pics, the creative told his sister that glamour shots weren't his bread and butter.
Bert, however, was not one to back out from his word. So instead, he gave his sister the full Mga Kuha ni Bert photoshoot experience.
He knew as an artist where his specialty lied, and decided it was the best way for him to narrate his sister's maternal milestone.
What was initially planned to be a glossy-inspired maternity shoot has since birthed a package of neorealist documentary shots straight out of a 20th-century European film wave. Only better, with all the heart and context of Filipino culture.
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Bert's sister was just as pleasantly surprised as the rest of the country about the trending photos, precisely because she saw these around the same time as everyone else—when Bert posted them.
“Hindi ko kasi pinapakita sa kaniya yung mga pictures na nakuha ko kasi gusto ko surprise. Lumapit siya sa’kin habang nangingilid ang luha dahil naalala niya raw agad ang mga pinagdaanan niya noong siya’y nagbubuntis. Natuwa rin naman siya sobra dahil sa mga litrato na ‘yon, hinding hindi niya na malilimutan ang mga pinagdaanan niya,” Bert tells PhilSTAR L!fe.
The maternity shoot usually featured his sister by herself in frames, symbolizing how she had to experience motherhood mostly alone since her fiancé worked aboard a ship as a breadwinner for their family.
“Si Marlon naman, kaniyang fiance, tuwang tuwa at lungkot na lungkot. Natutuwa siya dahil nakayanan ng ate ko yon at nalulungkot dahil wala siya sa tabi ng ate ko ng mga panahong iyon,” added the photographer, who clarified that the said fiancé never fell short in terms of support and love.
“Siguro ‘yon ang isa sa pinakamaganda tungkol sa mga litrato, natitigil mo ang bawat sandali at isang tingin mo lang ulit do’n, maaalala mo ang mga nangyare at naramdaman mo noong nangyayare ‘yon,” he reflects.
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Bert considers himself a street photographer. His love for the streets began in 2017 when he started shooting the unseen lives of urban dwellers.
The lensman has been taking documentary shots of his family since 2020. “Mga pagkakataon na gusto ko ihinto, mga bagay na ayaw kong malimutan.”
His viral photoshoot actually didn’t take place in one day. Rather, it was shot for nine months over the course of his sister’s pregnancy.
What took even longer for him was finding his calling in street photography.
“Sumubok ako ng iba’t ibang uri ng photography tulad ng events photography, product, portrait na may mga model pa, at iba pa. Hanggang sa sinubukan ko mag street photography at unang mga oras pa lang na ako ay nasa labas ay alam ko na agad sa sarili ko na ‘yon ang gusto kong gawin. Hindi ko namamalayan na napamahal na ako ng sobra do’n at pang-anim na taon ko na ngayon na ginagawa,” Bert recalls.
He advises aspiring photographers to simply try their shot at this craft. Whether it’s five minutes or five hours a day, practice is practice. Likewise, he said whether it’s one eye or a thousand eyes opened, their work is important all the same.
“Sa mga aspiring photographers, diyan din ako nag simula. Hindi alam kung ano ba talaga ang gustong gamitin o gawin na uri ng photography…Tuloy niyo lang nang tuloy, subok lang nang subok. Lahat tayo may sari-sariling istilo sa pag kuha ng litrato. May kulay o wala, planado o hindi, malabo man o malinaw. Hanapin niyo lang kung saan kayo pinakakomportable at mahalin niyo ng todo,” Bert concludes.