CINEMATOGRAPHER Neil Daza highlighted the transition between film and digital photography in “25 Times: Images from Behind the Camera,” an exhibit marking his silver anniversary in the film industry, which opened on Aug. 3 at the Pasilyo Vicente Manansala in the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Daza mounted more than 30 archival inkjet prints of his behind- the-scene photographs which he took on various sets where he was the cinematographer. His transition from using 35mm film to digital was evident in the quality of his photos.
“I started off as a painter with social realist painters as my inspiration. Later on, I was influenced by cinematographers Mike De Leon, Andrew Pulaski and Francis Ford Coppola,” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian.
He used his stint as a photojournalist to evoke the stories and emotions of his subjects which are mostly men working behind the camera or cinema projectors, artists and fans curiously watching.
In “Gloria Romero Waited while the Artists Set Up the Lights on the Set of MMK,” he captured the award-winning actress looking lost in thought while waiting on the set of an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya in 2007.
“Ticket Seller, Galaxy Theater,” (1997)one of Daza’s earlier photographs, depicted a woman waiting for a customer inside a vintage ticket booth.
Gradient blue skies and two people standing in the middle of a barren desert were shown
in “Francheska Farr and Mahdi Yazdian lost in Moroccan desert in ‘Emir’” (2010).
“Dream Sequence of Francis Xavier Pasion’s ‘Bwaya’” (2014) captured the scene in Francis
Pasion’s film “Buwaya” in which a girl in a white toga is sailing alone in a marsh filled with wetland plants. The film won him the best cinematography award in the 10th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
“Filmmaking is a very collaborative work. You have to be a team player otherwise you’re not going to last in the film industry.
Daza was also the cinematographer for Sonny Calvento’s “Nabubulok,” which competed in the recent Cinemalaya festival.
An alumnus of the old College of Architecture and Fine Arts, Daza has received fi lm awards such as the 2011 Golden Screen Awards for “Emir”, the 2015 Gawad Urian Award for Best Cinematography and the 2014 Cinemalaya Balanghai trophy for “Bwaya.” He has also produced notable films including “Yamashita: the Tiger’s Treasure” in 2001, “Dekada ‘70” in 2002 and “Emir” in 2010.