Based in: Manila
Personal tragedy led MJ Suayan to photography. Escape, connection, and eventual joy made him stay. “I was in a very dark place when a photo of Sebastiao Salgado inspired me,” he shares. “After seeing that photo, I just found myself in the streets of Manila shooting everything—the candidness, the innocence, the realness. I was so still, no one knew I was watching.”
From street photography, MJ transitioned to conceptual photography, fine art photography, and now, fashion photography. But his approach remains the same. “I usually click right after my subject poses. In the moment she thinks I’ve taken the shot. When she becomes not just a model, but a person.”
Primarily self-taught, MJ has also attended workshops under the likes of Raymond Isaac, Manny Librodo, Emily Soto, and at the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging. He has had editorial contributions to foreign and local magazines and fashion websites, and his approved photos have appeared in Vogue Italia’s Photovogue. His work has also evolved through the years. “It used to be very dark. Now it still has that darkness but I add colors. It’s dark as a style, but not as an emotion. I’ve moved on with my life.”
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