Hundreds of years ago, no one imagined cherished memories can be immortalized with a simple click. Fast forward to the 21st century, the art of photography has gone along with the progressive waves of time. It’s given birth to countless genres and trends, continuously evolving with people’s artistic interpretation of the art form. Nowadays, countless photo-sharing platforms help empower budding photographers to push the limits of their creativity in new, exciting horizons.
No matter how many years have gone by or the accomplishments he now has under his name, Jasper Tejano always sees himself as a student of street photography. The Filipino street photographer’s affinity for capturing photos blossomed at a young age. Jasper cites his late mother Gaia, who is also an artist, as the mentor who first introduced him to the world of visual arts. He fondly reminisces about borrowing his mother’s Minolta Pocket Autopak 450E and taking pictures during get-togethers or school festivities. He’s the family’s favorite picture-taker, and that has allowed him to explore the depths of his artistry as time went on.
Once he started living a demanding student life, however, Jasper knew that he needed to keep the camera away to concentrate on things that would shape his future. Still, the universe has its ways of leading people to where they truly belong. Jasper reveals, it was his then-girlfriend and now-wife who inspired him to pick up the camera again; and, this time, with a more sharply defined perspective.
“My first serious camera was a Pentax Auto 110, which I borrowed from my wife. She was also the one who taught me the fundamentals of photography. When we got our first DLSRs, this was also the time when we discovered the joy of traveling. Since then, we never stopped photographing our journeys together,” he reveals.
With a clearer vision in mind of where to go, Jasper immersed himself deeply in photography, tirelessly experimenting with numerous camera lenses, angle choices, and even camera settings to bring out photos that are unique to him. Fashion photography, portraiture, travel photography, Jasper has dabbled in all these, but there’s still a missing piece to the artistic puzzle he’s trying to solve.
He wanted to bring a feeling of genuineness through his photographs—candid and teeming with life. The Filipino creative soon started to see how the lights and shadows around him play a focal part in creating emotionally appealing images. He found all of these elements in street photography, where an intrinsic mastery of weaving a story without dialogues is its core.
“What’s great about street photography is that you don’t need expensive gear, multiple lenses, lights, a studio, and models to get your image. All you need is a reliable compact camera, an interesting place, and your imagination. The amount of joy and fulfillment that I get from photographing shadows, light, texture, and the moment on the street is priceless!” Jasper says.
On top of Jasper’s love for street photography and the works of great photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson and Alex Webb, there is a fragment of his childhood that unifies him and street photography. “When I was young, shadow puppets fascinated me—how they move, act, and the very mystery of their character. My curiosity for their anonymity and capturing that brief moment with them has become my creative pursuit. I guess my work is a homage to these shadows, and I am their storyteller,” he adds.
The photographer sees his craft beyond capturing the quiddities of a particular scene. He views every street photo like a tale born out of unpredictability. Jasper believes that there’s no such thing as accidents standing in between perfect timing and capture-worthy moments. “If you’re serious about practicing street photography, study the works of Magnum photographers, go out often, and take lots of photographs by exhausting your street scene. Make the most of whatever camera you are using.”
From the moment Jasper shot his first-ever photograph to this day, where he’s now living his life as a family man and street photographer, so much has changed. There are opportunities that enabled him to share his street photography journey. He was previously picked as one of ASUS’ Pixelmasters for one of its smartphone lines that allowed him to teach up-and-coming shutterbugs about street photography. He considers it as one of his most unforgettable projects to date because he’s someone who was once a beginner, too.
Aside from ASUS, Jasper also teamed up with Sony recently for a creative collaboration project. Whenever exhaustion creeps in, a persevering attitude he mastered over the years pushes him to withstand even the most back-breaking days.
“As I grow old and mature in my craft, motivation plays a minor role in going out there to capture interesting street scenes. It’s more of having the discipline to just go, regardless if you’re low on motivation. You’ll be surprised how discipline plays a key role in your creativity as compared to relying heavily on waiting to get struck by inspiration,” Jasper says.
Jasper encourages new photographers entering the scene to dwell on diligence and embrace each new day as an opportunity to experience magical moments. Make no room for perfectionism, and foster a “Keep going!” mindset. “The very foundation of street photography is all about capturing fleeting moments in a mundane scene. Sometimes, you will go home with nothing–not even a single image worth keeping–but there will also be days that’ll be full of beautiful photographs. Perfection kicks in when you start selecting your best photos from hundreds and hundreds of failed captures.”
No matter where this road may lead him, Jasper will always hold on to his purpose to create. Whoever wants to wear an artist hat should know that it takes more than just grit to leave a long-lasting mark. One must have an unparalleled vision fueled by consistency to create spectacles out of the ordinary, too.
“Street photography will always be a reflection of yourself. By presenting your work to the world, you are also opening a window for people to see who you really are. That window will reveal to everyone that you are either authentic with your vision or a mere copycat just trying to get ‘likes’ from photography communities. I learned that to define your vision, you need to build a solid body of work that your audience can say is your signature work. You can only achieve this if you are consistent with your outputs.”
Jasper has been to different destinations, check out his Lemi list, Capturing the World and unleash your shutterbug spirit!
Jasper is on Lemi at @jaspertejano!