Friday, 6 May 2011

Veejay Villafranca: Fate Above Faith

Photo © Veejay Viilafranca-All Rights Reserved
Vicente Jaime “Veejay” Villafranca is a photojournalist from the Philippines, who worked with Agence France Presse, Reuters, World Picture Network and the United Nations IRIN news wire. He was of the 7 Filipinos to be accepted in the first Asian documentary workshop of the Angkor photography festival in Siem Reap, Cambodia. His project on former gang members won the 2008 Ian Parry Scholarship. His work has been shown in London, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Phnom Pehn, France, Turkey and Manila. He is represented by Getty Global Assignments in London and Melon Rouge in Cambodia.

I particularly liked Veejay's powerful photo essay Fate Above Faith, which documents the faith of half a million people who seek to show their faith in the streets of downtown Manila by venerating the 400-year old relic of the Black Nazarene, which is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ, and considered miraculous by many Filipino devotees. During this event, the devotees are overwhelmed by their faith and barefooted and dressed in the devotional colors of maroon and gold, surround the relic's carriage, pulling and tugging at the cordon ropes.

Equally impressive is Veejay's photo essay on the Badjao, the indigenous people of the seas who settled on the coasts of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga in the southern part of the Philippines.