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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

Best Friend Day: My BFF, the photographer who loves Legos

June 8 is World Best Friend Day, the best time to honor my best friend and hubby: photographer Rizalino Antonio “Riz” Pulumbarit.

Call me biased but I think Riz is one of the best photographers in the world. Actually, I only realized this when one of his clients said so.

Riz will never be the one to brag but he does take very good pictures. In his 30 years as a professional photographer, he has taken photos for billboards, coffee table books, yearbooks, annual reports, posters, websites, and more.

A Business Management graduate of De La Salle University (DLSU), Riz has photographed Philippine presidents, business leaders, as well as local and foreign celebrities.

Books and Legos

From afar, it’s not easy to picture Riz as a photographer. He looks more like a professor as he is always reading books. This is his hobby, along with building Legos.

Riz probably has about a thousand books and he donates books almost every year to Caritas Manila and libraries.

In his collection, he only has a few photography books. Most are novels by his favorite authors that include Haruki Murakami, Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, David Baldacci, Amy Tan, and F. Sionil Jose.

In high school, he was more into magazines, especially Life Magazine, not books. “I was amazed at the beautiful photos I saw in magazines. That gave me an aspiration to be a good photographer someday,” he says.

DLSU Camera Club

Also in high school, Riz had his first camera, a Canon AE-1 bought in Sacramento, California. It was given to him by his grandmother when they were vacationing with relatives in the US.

In college, Riz honed his photography skills in DLSU’s Camera Club, where he was a Vice President. They were “old school” photographers who used film cameras and printed their own photos.

“I used to love developing the film and printing the photos myself. But It was a laborious, expensive, and time-consuming process. It was also dangerous because of the chemicals that emit fumes and harm the lungs. The chemicals also ruin clothes,” he recalls.

Riz used to have Nikon and Hasselblad film cameras. Today, he only maintains Nikon digital cameras, from mirrorless to full-frame DSLRs.

“I have embraced advances in photography, especially the shift to digital which has made photography accessible to everyone,” he says.

Riz became a professional photographer in 1989, as soon as he finished college.

“I have devoted my skills mostly to serve clients. Now I think it’s time I take photos for myself. I’ll go back to photographing landscapes, architecture and my pets,” he says.

Riz believes it’s time to “give back” by sharing his knowledge as a photographer through the Art Style Manila blog. He will be sharing photography tips and uploading stock photos that individuals or companies may use for free for their projects.

Riz feels this would be a good thing to do at this time when people around the world are facing huge challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Filipino photographers have turned to selling home-cooked foods or driving delivery vans to make ends meet after their photography gigs were cancelled.

To professional photographers who are facing challenges and have lost their gigs during this COVID-19 pandemic, Riz says: “As photographers or as any professional, we must adapt and learn. Hopefully, this too shall pass and we will overcome this."

To photography enthusiasts, he advises: “Just like any other skill, keep on practicing. Take photos even in these uncertain times. Master the basics. Check out the works of photographers you can look up to.”

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