Thursday, March 23, 2017

Elevate Your Selfies Into Self-Portraits

(Click on Photos for better viewing)

A phenomenon of the Social-Networking Age we live in, "Selfies" have become as common place as ID photos in the albums of our digital lives. Most people use it to show the places they have been to, the memorable events they have participated in or the times they spent with friends or loved ones, but a big number of people (particularly women) use it more as mirrors to take snaps shots of their faces or bodies (maybe to see how other people see them), to assess their physical appearance-- as personal data to be used either as negative evidence (to determine what can be improved upon) or positive feedback (to proudly display what they have and others do not). Psychologists have been alarmed by this growing "Selfie" trend, which they have diagnosed to be symptoms indicating Narcissistic Disorder.

The "Self-Portrait" is a time honored artistic endeavor practiced by most Western Painters and Photographers for centuries. Rembrant and Van Gogh, as well as Avedon and Cartier-Bresson often used themselves as subjects for their own work. Like them, I believe in using my image as an element in my photos, drawings, paintings and maybe even in my films (in the future). Like them, my Art flows from my sense of Self-- my history, my experiences, my perspective, my psyche, my thoughts, my spirituality-- in other words, my soul!

The Buddha says, "that the Self is an illusion... Life itself is an illusion!" Since wholly I agree with this premise and believe that our sense of "Self" is a reflection of our mind, "Self-Portraits" for me are visual reminders of my very existence, my physical presence. I think most artists, particularly the more sensitive and philosophical ones, are perpetually aware of the impermanence of all life. It is this sense of impending doom that propels Creatives to value beauty and the majesty of life, and drives them to express themselves through Art. What is Art anyway but an individual's recreation (or reconfiguration) of one's personal experiences, one's perspective of life/reality-- our ultimate validation of our own existence.

Painting or photographing ourselves keeps us in touch with our core... our Selves... the Being that consciously contemplates life and living. Sometimes we have to see ourselves from the outside to understand what is happening inside (our minds). "Self-Portraiture" for me, is a form of meditation or self-reflection/contemplation that can make us understand ourselves better, both in form and in substance. It is narcissistic in a way, but it can be profound if it ventures beyond the physical into the psychological.

"Selfies" are actually just a level away from becoming serious "Self-Portraits." The only difference I can see between the two is "artistic intent." "Selfies" are mostly snap-shots taken without much thought. "Center yourself (or at least see some part of yourself), then shoot" is the only instruction anyone has to follow. "Self-Portraits" are more deliberate. Framing, Focus and light (or the lack thereof) must be considered before the shot is taken, resulting in a more contemplated and conceptual photograph.

Monday, March 6, 2017

My New Instagram Account

Portrait taken in the Camera Museum at the Galleria Taal
Visit my Instagram page:

Movie Making is hard work. More than a year ago, after I finished shooting and editing my first feature film "Dagsin," I thought that I would be able to come back and regularly write on this blog, but I was wrong. Making and finishing a movie was just the first part of a long drawn process that also includes Marketing, Promoting and Selling the project. At this point, we are just beginning to submit "Dagsin" to Foreign Festivals, and are in talks with various distributors for possible Domestic and International Commercial Exhibition.
After the initial salvo of releasing our Trailers, I was caught up in the Cinemalaya Film Festival proper-- a 3 months long cycle of Press Releases, Press Conferences, TV/Radio interviews and appearances, print articles, Premieres and Gala events. On top of these, since Atom & Anne Mediaworks is an Indie Production Outfit, Anne and I also had to personally supervise the project's Social Media campaigns. We were literally swamped and we were drowning in work. When Cinemalaya ended, both of us have been working none stop 24/7 for a year and a half, and we were both burned-out! It was also time for us to work on the other projects we have placed on hold to concentrate on "Dagsin."

"Camera Obscura" effect at the Camera Museum in Taal.
Among those responsibilities I have neglected are this Blog and my Photography. I recently decided to open an Instagram account to simplify my process. Writing articles for this Blog takes quite a bit of time and deliberation. With Instagram, I am hoping to post pictures on the fly; on whatever catches my eye! Finally, Photography (maybe a few videos too) for the sake of Photography, with as little or no captions at all. Right now, if you visit my Instagram page, you will notice that most of the photos I have posted there were actually shot on my IPhone. Spontaneity in my life (and work) has been sorely lacking in the past year and a half. I miss it terribly and I am hoping to rectify it!
I will continue to post articles on this blog about my work and musings on Photography, Cinema and Visual Art, but if you just want to see my images without the thought and stories that go with them, then subscribe to my Instagram account. There, you will be able to see not only examples of my formal work (both still and motion), but also view my random doodles, experimental photos/video, family pics and casual sketches.

--Photos shot by Aria Magadia

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dagsin Write-up by Cinemalaya

The Cinemalaya Film Festival posted this write-up on their fan page...
--Image courtesy of Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Dagsin Cinemalaya Movie Trailers

Cinemalaya is two months away and everybody is gearing up for the Festival.
Atom & Anne Mediaworks was required to come up with two shorter Trailers (aside from tons of other requirements) to be used exclusively by the Film Fest, aside from the full-length version we released a month ago and the possible foreign version.  Here they are...
Dagsin's Official 30 second trailer:

Dagsin's Official 15 second trailer:

--Both videos are the exclusive property of Atom & Anne Mediaworks, Corp.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dagsin Official Movie Trailer

Good news! I finally finished Post on my first full-length feature film "Dagsin," so I can now go back to blogging:))
Although principal photography only took ten days (seriously, we can shoot Philippine Indies faster than American Indies due to desperation and lack of funds; of course, with several 20+ hour days), actual shooting stretched for three months due to Murphy's undeniable Law-- actors pulling out last minute, actors getting sick, scheduling problems, transportation problems, you name it... Post Production took about the same length of time, again due to unexpected problems I am trying my best to forget. Reflecting on my experience this past eight months, making "Dagsin" was a virtual struggle against cosmic GRAVITY! The adage "no pain, no gain" should be the personal motto of every filmmaker!
But that is now all in the past. We made it, and making the next ones should be easier from now on (right????). Despite the struggle and hardship, it was fun and fulfilling most of the time. Anne and I learned a lot, and we have decided to do this as often as fate and financing would permit...
Here is the first proof of our labor, the full trailer of "Dagsin" (Philippine Version):

Watch it in YouTube:

 --The Video is the exclusive property of Atom & Anne Mediaworks, Corp.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas

As you all know by now, Christmas came early to me in the form of my first Feature Film "Dagsin." Please forgive me if I have not been updating this blog as often as I should these past few months, but I have been really busy...
Me with my new toy.
It has been a wild roller-coaster ride so far, but Anne (Producer) and I have somehow managed to keep our ship afloat. "Dagsin" has been plagued with all kinds of problems from the onset of Preproduction and each shooting day has been challenging-- Two of our actors have been ill and hospitalized, another decided to drop out in the middle of filming, the local government threatened to shut our production down more than once, we had to iron out a land ownership dispute situation for another location, and on top of all that, we had to fire someone from our team for gross misconduct and anomalies regarding the budget-- these are just the major ones! Talk about Murphy's Law... We are taking this all in stride because it has always been our goal to deliver the best work we can, once we set out to execute a project!
I am very grateful that I have finally been given the opportunity to finally make my movie and I thank God everyday for this blessing. I love making movies and I plan to keep doing it for as long as I can! 
I have not forgotten that this is also a photography blog, despite my other interests. So I am posting some of my still-photo work in the movie. I just realized recently that it is hard to be a director, cinematographer and photographer all at the same time, so I have recruited a second DP as well as a BTS photographer in "Dagsin" to complement my work.
Here are two promotional photographs I shot for "Dagsin," which I am giving to the actors as Christmas gifts:
Tommy Abuel, Lotlot De Leon and Sue Prado for Dagsin
Alex Diaz, Janine Gutierrez and Benjamin Alves for Dagsin

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Veteran Actor Cast in Dagsin

...with veteran stage and screen actor Tommy Abuel

(reprinted from
The Dagsin family is very proud and happy to welcome multi-award winning veteran stage and screen actor Tommy Abuel in the lead role of Justino.
An actor with a long and illustrious career in both Theater and Cinema, Mr. Abuel is known as an "actor's actor," a consummate artist who internalizes his characters and brings them to life in the most creative way. He has been nominated for his work consistently since he began working in 1973 (has won for both stage and screen), and has worked with some of the country's most singularly artistic Film Directors including Lino Brocka, Ismael Bernal and Mike De Leon.

--Photo by Anne Prado-Magadia

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dagsin is Online

My feature film project, Dagsin (Gravity), is now online!
Please visit our Facebook fan page at and our Website/Blog at to get the latest information, announcements and updates regarding the movie.
Initial Poster Mock-up

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

9th Generation - IPhone 6s & 6s Plus

The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
It's that time of year again when we, hardcore IPhone fans, welcome the newest incarnation of our favorite gadget. A few hours ago, Apple's CEO Tim Cook unveiled the 9th generation of its popular smart phone in California-- the IPhone 6s and its larger sibling the 6s Plus. Tim referred to the new models as "the most advanced smartphones in the world."
Among its newest features are the upgraded 12 megapixel camera and a more advanced touch-screen capability called 3D-touch. Although a lot of people have already scrapped buying traditional cameras in favor of their cell phone cameras for years now, with the 6s' 12 megapixels sensor, the IPhone has finally crossed and complied with the technical specs. of a good consumer grade point and shoot camera. The larger sensor is now 4K video capable and offers optical image stabilization (on the 6s Plus). It also has superior low-light performance (temporal and special noise reduction) compared to past models as well as better color accuracy and tonal performance. The front facing camera is now capable of taking 1080p video and 5 megapixel stills with support for slow-motion video, "selfie panoramas" and a "True Tone Flash" on the display that matches the ambient light for true to life color and natural-looking skin tones (the Retina Flash allows the display to flash 3 times brighter than usual). To enhance the 6s' photo taking capabilities, Apple has also added "Live Photos," 12 megapixel photos with motion (short video clip) and sound snippet that result in more dynamic photos.
The 6s and 6s Plus comes in 4 metallic colors
The next generation multi-touch technology called "3D Touch," offers enhanced pressure sensitivity as well as feedback. Aside from the more familiar touch-screen gestures like tap, swipe and pinch, Apple has added peek and pop. According to the literature, 3D Touch "lets you do the things you do often faster and with fewer steps. Many of the actions can even be done with a single press, right from the Home screen. The improved multi-touch capability will also deepen the experience of your favorite apps and games."
The new A9 chip is not only faster, it is also a capable gaming console with robust graphic performance. A third-generation chip with a 64-bit architecture, it has a 70% improved CPU performance and a 90% boosted graphic performance from the previous model. The M9 motion coprocessor is integrated directly into the A9 chip which results in better battery life, despite the improvement in power. The 6s supports 23 LTE bands with LTE Advance* and improved Wi-Fi, doubling its previous band speed.
Made from 7000 series aluminum used in the aerospace industry and the most durable cover glass (dual ion-exchange process) on any smartphone now available on the market, Apple has reinforced the new models to eliminate the fragility issues seen on the IPhone 6 Plus. Aside from the gold, silver and space grey, the 6s also comes in rose gold. Both models will be available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB configurations.
Although I am really excited about the camera improvements, I will personally be passing on this version, only because I have found that skipping a generation is the best way to upgrade our IPhones within the family. I upgraded to the 6 Plus last year (and so did my daughter), so it is my wife (and my son's) turn to get the 6s this year. It just goes to show that this gadget/tool has become such an essential part of our lives, that it has become a permanent item on our yearly  family budget. 
--Photos from 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Feature Film Project Gets Into Cinemalaya

Last Saturday, August 15, 2015, the Cinemalaya Foundation finally announced the 10 lucky finalist for its 2016 Main Competition on Full-length Features, during the 2015 Festival Awards Night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Cinemalaya is considered to be the most prestigious Independent Film Festival in the Philippines, so film fans from all over the country as well as the Press enthusiastically welcomed the 10 projects that were chosen from an original pool of more than 150 submissions. I am ecstatic to announce that "Dagsin" (Gravity), my first Full-length Feature project, is among the lucky ten.
The finalist with Foundation Pres. Laurice Guillen and Festival Head Mel Chionglo
With its goal to promote and develop the Independent Film Industry of the Philippines,  the Cinemalaya Film Festival is arguably the most anticipated yearly independent film competition (our version of Sundance or Cannes) in the Philippines. In the last ten years of its existence, the festival has given birth to most of the country's up-and-coming filmmakers, ushering forth the digital age of Philippine Cinema widely known as "The Philippine New Wave." The festival aims to encourage "works that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity," and Cinemalaya has consistently delivered on this promise by having 5 films, from its ten year roster, be nominated by the Film Academy of the Philippines to represent the country for the annual Academy Awards' (Oscars) Best Foreign-Language film category.
The directors (and some writers) of the 10 Feature Films for 2016

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Weekly Street Photos #39

This week's theme: CHILDHOOD FANTASIES

These are not posed. I had to wait a year to complete this set of three, since the elements in the photographs all happened by chance. I did not go around stalking children with this theme in mind, it was all luck. The photos are testaments to the wonderful magic that can happen when you become totally present and aware of everything that is happening around you. Serendipitous moments like these are what keeps me shooting "Street."    

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"The Princess and the Frog" Singapore
"Mirror Mirror..."
This will be my last installment of "Weekly Street Photos" for awhile, since my first full-length feature movie "Dagsin" (Gravity) was just green-lighted for production, and I will be super busy. Although there would be less photography entries maybe until the end of this year, it will be replaced by updates on our production for "Dagsin." Thank you for your support, and salamat sa Maykapal! 

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Weekly Street Photos #38

This week's theme: RANDOM GROUP SHOTS

Group shots,  particularly in street photography, are some of the hardest photos to shoot. Even in the studio, taking photographs of people in groups must be timed precisely so that each person will be in their proper position within the frame, and their individual expressions captured with everyone's eyes (ideally) open. Imagine doing all that in a split second out on the "street"... It is short of miraculous!  Here are a few examples of random group shots I came up with :)    

(Click on Photos for better viewing)

"Talking Heads"
"Levels Of Vision"
--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Weekly Street Photos #37


Large graphic Ads are the easiest elements to juxtapose in "Street" photography, specially in urban spaces. In fact, a lot of photographers would actually wait in front of a particular image (or location) until something or someone walks into their shot. Although this strategy is quite effective and has been used by a lot of "Street Photography" Masters including Henri Cartier-Bresson; I prefer to run into my images synchronously, never spending more than a minute to compose and take my shot before walking on to the next subject, since I do "Street Photography" mainly as a form of Zen meditation.  Here are three  photos I captured serendipitously, incorporating graphic Ads.   

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"I Feel You Bro"
"The Watcher Watching" Singapore
"Instant Family"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Weekly Street Photos #36

This week's theme: SILHOUETTE

Photographing silhouette is an imaging technique commonly used by most photographers, because it is fairly easy to do. But it is also one of the most stunningly graphic ways we can create photos, particularly in Black & White. Here are three examples: two high-contrast (1 dark, 1 light) and one low-contrast, I shot recently.   

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Into The Light" Singapore
"Bars And Wires"

"The Edge Of Darkness" Los Angeles, USA

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia