Photo Box: Our City Through The Eyes of Mary Joy Esclamado

"Photography is an art. Taking photos through film is like capturing a scene in its simplest form and making one’s self a part of that moment for a split-second. And though it is split-second, it is priceless and can be truly memorable." - Mary Joy Esclamado 

Mary Joy Esclamado or "Padotz" as her friends call her is just one of the many young Davao-based Film Photographers that we would want to introduce to you. She is a 26-year old software developer  and also and avid photographer.  Mary Joy got interested in Film Photography when her friend  asked her to check out  Old Box's ( the main source of everything vintage in Davao City) Facebook Page where she found the camera that will entice her to enter the world of Film Photography.

" It was 8th of January to be exact, when my college batch mate Benjie Burdeos gave me a link to Oldbox‘s facebook page. When I checked their online store, there was a Konica BigMini 210 up for sale. I looked at the sample photos and I instantly thought why not give it a try. So that same day, I bought the camera and started taking photos. If I remember correctly, my first film was Kodak Gold 200 36 shots, and I only got 12 decent shots. Since then, I did not stop learning; familiarizing my film camera." 

When you take a look at the photos shot by this lady, you could almost feel that you were also there , walking next to her while she does her thing. Waiting for her to find something interesting enough to point her lens to and press the button. Her photos are as raw as it gets. It is out city, through her own eyes, and it doesn't get as better as that. Her photos also makes us see the beautiful things that we unconsciously ignore each day. Like the calmness of empty streets, remarkable things suspended in time and space, emotions that were just there but we never took time to feel and all sorts of stuff that, if we just notice, could help us feel more alive. That is how I see her photos make me feel though. You may not be as melodramatic ( this just happens sometimes) as me but hey, you can always tell us how they make you feel on the comments section. 

We also asked a few questions to Mary Joy in order to know more about how passionate she is about the Film Photography. And she just blew us away. We will not say that finding people with this kind of enthusiasm here in Davao City is quite a rare opportunity, we know that there are a lot of people who have the similar mindsets out there. What we know, is that Mary Joy is one of them ( so are the rest of the people that we have featured in this blog). 

The Davaoist: What do you like most about film photography?  

Mary Joy: There are three main reasons why I love film photography. Firstly, it allows me to avoid the “trial-and-error” mindset when I do digital photography wherein for as long as the battery’s full, I can take tons of photos of a certain subject and later select the best shot. In film, you must be at least precise since you only have 36 shots max. Secondly, the drama behind it, like the excitement I feel while I wait for my films to get developed, the disappointment when most shots were overexposed, the action-packed photowalks and the surprised-look on my face when I see an unexpected outcome of my shots . And lastly, it allows me to appreciate what I took and find beauty even with its imperfections. Let’s face it, not all 36 shots of my film will always be good, but I’ve got to see the beauty in it and if I made a mistake, learn from it.

The Davaoist: What is your process or your inspirations whenever you go out for a shoot? 

Mary Joy: I am simply inspired by this existence and because of that it makes me want to go out and capture bits and pieces of it; from structures to street corners, flowers of various hue to stray cats being naturally cute, from the smallest dirtiest object to the most magnificent smiles of random strangers. When taking my shots, I sometimes pre-meditate but most of the time it’s just impromptu.

She also has something to say to everyone of you: " If you want to surprise yourself in the field of photography, try film photography." 

Here are some of our favorite photos that she posted on

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