Shoot First by Geric Cruz
Photographs by Geric Cruz
In 2013, photographer Geric Cruz was invited to participate in a project in Mount Pulag by Klasrum ng Pag-asa, an organization that aims to build and restore classrooms in the farthest reaches of the Philippines. When he and fellow photographer Geloy Conception stayed for another two weeks, they encountered a mother who asked them if they could take an ID photo of her son. It was this simple request that inspired them, along with other photographers, to provide ID photos to the residents of Mount Pulag, an item that could otherwise have taken hours to acquire. Naturally, during his subsequent visits to the village, other images were created; images that captured the lives of its residents as they opened themselves up to the photographer. But to Geric, these are secondary. The primary reward is in finally experiencing an aspect of photography that directly impacted lives, however simple.
“It’s not all just about pretty pictures, or what I want to add to my portfolio,” he says. “With something as simple as an ID photo—something everyone takes for granted and even make fun of—we, as photographers, can actually do something useful for the community.”
Juan Portrait, a community of volunteers and photographers, has continued the initiative through the years. If you wish to learn more and see how you can help, follow their Facebook page or send an email via info(at)juanportrait(dot)org.