What happens when a still camera romances some of Cebu's finest rock bands in the last three years? "Musika," an exhibit of 22 music photographs by freelance photographer Kathy Zialcita, reveals the run of this 3-year romance. On display at the Outpost café in Lahug, "Musika" is a collection of her favorite photos of local musicians.
Apart from immortalizing Cebu's music scene, "Musika" is distinct for its composition; the romance of grainy textures with each musician's character. "I don't want it too clean like what you see on the billboards. They're just too clean and too perfect," explains Zialcita. "Y' know, when you take something that's too perfect, it's not human anymore. I like it a bit messy. I don't care if naa sila'y (they have) wrinkles or scars on their face - It's part of their character. You make use of it because it's them. It's not you, it's them."
Right before turning her lens to musicians, Zialcita worked as a freelance photographer, shooting furniture for an export company. The story of her "Musika" began when a friend noticed her work some years ago. Impressed, Zialcita's friend suggested that she try portraiture. Deciding to give it a spin, Zialcita talked to Budoy (of Junior Kilat) and offered to do a shoot - free of charge. Thus, from shooting wood and furniture, she took on a new subject - rock icons.
Junior Kilat was very impressed, to say the least, and soon word spread about her work. Alternative rock group Sheila and the Insects was one of the first bands to hire Zialcita for their publicity collaterals. When the SATI photos landed in several newspapers, magazines, posters, and websites, other bands began booking her for photo shoots - Zarah Smith, Hastang - the list goes on.
Zialcita says that she prefers rock 'n' roll personalities over fashion models, saying that dealing with each bands is always a new experience. "I tried fashion and it's ok. I can do it but it's so much easier to work with models. You don't have to make them comfortable because they're already comfortable. The way a fashion shoot works is, models have their stylists and basically all you do is look for a perfect shot. That's it." reveals Zialcita. During band photo sessions, Zialcita seeks inspiration by listening to music, something she says keeps her in the drift. Music is one of Zialcita's comfort zones; allowing her to embrace the more arduous passion of photography. Thus, the theme of her exhibit.
To an extent, "Musika" proves that local bands don't need to go as far nor spend a lot just to get a photo that matches their character. Zialcita says that one of her goals for the local music scene is to help bands make good impressions through quality pictures. "I don't want people to think that bands from Cebu can't afford good publicity photos" says Zialcita. "I don't want them to think that the pictures (look) so cheap. No matter if it's a pro-bono or magpabayad ko (I get paid). I still want the best for each band." A fitting tribute to Cebu's music scene.
"Musika" will run until March 17, 2007. All 22 images of the exhibit are arrayed around the Outpost's music area, posing as the stage backdrop. To the left, is an array of scarlet-hued images of band members from Powerspoonz. To the right, are canvassed versions of Island Joe, Faspitch, and Sheila and the Insects, to name a few, along with a couple of live performances frozen in time.
While "Musika" is her debut exhibit as a freelance photographer, it is definitely not the last. These are just a few tidbits of what's in her stockpile. "Those photos are what I frequently look into," adds Zialcita.
Besides, people are begging for the second, even third exhibit; Musika has already hatched quite a few jealous reactions. But their fears are of no consequence. Already in the works is another batch to be exhibited sometime in June or July, this year.
Zialcita hasn't sang her swansong - oh no, not by far. She's just warming up.