What’s Your Talent: Photography by @preciousheartsu

I am proud to be a Leo

Those are seven words that I will always use to describe myself. Those are seven words that also rings true to one of my best friends, one whose Leonine heritage shines through just about everything she says and does.

I first met @preciousheartsu, or Ate Precious, back in our secondary school Hurlingham and Chelsea, and I remember the first ever interaction that we had. It was the first day she and her brother Josh (aka the other whiskey boy haha) came back to school after they spent a vacation in the Philippines, and even though she didn’t even know who I was, she gave me a polvoron and the warmest smile ever, and then asked for my name.

Note to self: give Ate Precious a box of polvoron for her birthday and then Boba Jam taro milk tea. Weeeeeeeee!

One of my favourite qualities about Ate Precious is her ability to bring out the inner child in me without making me seem immature. When we’re together, we may seem like two young adults, but we’re actually two elementary students usually laughing at Marvel superheroes, making jokes about shop names (wala akong Wasabi sayo!) and reinventing common catchphrases (talk to the turtle!). My jokes are nowhere near as havey as Ate Precious’ jokes, especially after she’s had our dose of bubble tea and Japanese bento!

Flash forward…

to the year 2012, the year where our love for the arts first merged, thus creating a stronger friendship. One summer after swimming in Kingston, and when my book Lost in London was at the middle of its construction process,  I had an idea on how to attract more readers: through photos. Alongside scenery photos I took myself, I stumbled upon the idea of maybe using me as  a subject.

As soon as I asked Ate Precious if she’d like to help me out, she immediately began talking about themes and ideas and what kind of brick walls she thinks would work best as backgrounds. Mabilis talaga ang mga Leo!

And a few months later, this are our end result.

GGSS! I was called Robin Padilla for a good few months then, so that means it was a success!

And in the following year, for another book that I’m still yet to finalise, here’s another shot from a more concentrated, James Dean-esque pictorial.

Here’s some of the other photos that she took herself. Check out the details!




And in the spirit of this segment, I had the privilege of asking Ate Precious a few questions about the craft.

1. Describe the moment when you first fell in love with photography.

To be honest it wasn’t love at first sight. it was more like, the more I took pictures the more I fell in love with it. It wasn’t about the place nor the camera that made me love photography, but it was the things that it can do for us. It captures those moments that you would never be able to go back to. That’s what I love about photography, it’s just a picture but it has a lot of memories, good and bad.

2. What sort of message do you want to tell people with your photography?

I’m not really sure. All I know is that I want to let people know the story behind the photos. I want them to feel what the pictures are showing, I want them to know the reasons behind the smile, the laughter and the tears behind every portrait I take.

3. Do you have any themes or styles that you like using through your editing?

I don’t really edit the images that much because I want it to be as natural as possible. I mean, how can you see the real beauty if you hide it ? I believe editing is not necessary, you only need it to enhance the beauty, not to cover it.

4. Which do you prefer to photograph, nature or people?

I love taking portraits, don’t get me wrong, taking pictures of the views around you is good but capturing moments through my lens is priceless.

5. Final question: favourite camera model and why would you recommend?

I’d definitely recommend Canon especially for beginners or Nikon (Although I haven’t tried it; they say it’s one of the good ones). If you’re still starting to learn about photography like me, try to invest on those mid-range prices. You don’t wanna spend less and get a bad quality camera but you don’t want to spend thousands of pounds for a professional camera as you’re still beginning to explore.

There you have it, folks, straight from a talented photographer herself. Don’t be shy about asking her to take a photo of you, you’ll only look ten times better. Haha!

– Troy

Published by troycabida

Troy Cabida (he/him) is a Filipino poet and producer based in south west London. His recent poems have appeared in TAYO Literary Magazine, harana poetry, MacMillan and bath magg. He is a producer for London open mic night Poetry and Shaah and co-founder of Liwayway Kolektibo, an arts and culture network providing space for UK-based Filipino/a/x creatives. His debut pamphlet, War Dove, was published by Bad Betty Press in 2020. Photo taken by Ray Roberts.

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