Google Dennis Rito | Blog: 2006

02 November 2006


I often wonder what "Undas" means. A web page I found said that Undas or Undras (All Saints' day in the Philippines) comes from Spanish "honras" which means "honors." It's the time when Filipinos goes to various cemeteries to pay homage to their departed loved ones.

I visited Metro Manila's largest burial ground- The Manila North Cemetery. This burial ground reflects its congested urban surroundings and just like in the world of the living, difference between the rich and the poor still exists here.

More photos here.

18 October 2006


I found these kids below the Kayaan flyover near Aurora Boulevard in Cubao. I easily befriended them by shoothing several frames and let them view their photos in the LCD screen. They were so delighted upon seeing their pictures that they squabble for my attention and shouted at me "Kuya, piktyuran mo 'ko!"

15 October 2006

Photographers, time to stand up for your rights!

In support for Philippine photographers.

DO NOT SIGN!!! Photographers! Time to stand up for your rights!

Both international and Philippine laws recognize the photographer's right over their images. If a magazine or newspaper commissions a photographer for a shoot,
the copyright belongs to the photographer. The only rights the magazine or newspaper has is the right to publish it for one issue only.

Even if the magazine pays for the film or cd and owns the material or media they do not own the copyright of the image. They can only use the image once. That is the law!

It is a law that photographer's should appreciate and fight for.

Within the past few days, a major local publishing company that carries several of the top glossy magazines has issued a contract which they are requiring photographers to sign if they are to shoot with them.

The stipulations of the contract are terribly one-sided and are designed to rob photographers of ALL their rights to their images. It is said that no one will be allowed to shoot if they do not sign the contract.

They are requiring the photographers :

- To relinquish all moral rights over the authorship of their images, here or anywhere in the world – that means that you do not even have the right to claim that the images are yours, you do not have the right to claim that you took the photos

- To relinquish ALL rights and copyrights over the images –
which means you don't own them anymore, you have no say in how they will be used, etc –

- Need to get permission to use for our own portfolios - you cannot include the images in your portfolio or website without their permission

All of these are unacceptable!
It is not only degrading, it is insulting!
The local publications severely underpay photographers as it is.
Now this publishing company is treating the works of photographers as cheap merchandise.

What are the repercussions of this agreement if photographers sign

1. The publishing company pays photographers pathetic editorial fees yet they can sell the images to advertisers at advertising rates. The photographers lose out big time.

2. They can even market packages to advertisers that will include photography. So instead of advertisers hiring photographers for their print campaigns, they can get a cheaper package through the publishing company. The publishing company can offer a package wherein they include our photographs which they get for barya!

3. If the publishing company chooses they can build their own stock agency and sell our images with no benefit to us. Mind you that stock agencies all over the world act as agents for photographers. They market the images, and if sold, they earn a
commission and the photographers earn. But with this contract, if the publishing company chooses to sell our images, all the profits are theirs because they fully own the images.

4. The publishing company can commission us under the guise of editorial photography but may intend to use it for any commercial venture anywhere in the world. For all you know they are paying you P2000 for a shoot of 5 layouts and then they are selling to someone else for P50,000.

5. You do not own the images. Imagine that you cannot even claim that the images are yours. Imagine that you cannot even include it in your portfolio unless they grant permission.

Is this in anyway acceptable?
The answer is obviously a big resounding NO!
To agree to such a thing is allowing ourselves to be slapped in the face.
It is an insult!
It is an utter disrespect for photographers.
It is bad enough that the fees for editorial photographers are pathetically low, now they want to rob us of everything we have. For a photographer… your images are part of your soul. They are trying to buy our soul for loose change.
Is that all we are worth?

Many professional editorial photographers are outraged at this and our initial stand is DON'T SIGN.

So if you are an editorial photographer, don't sign. Once you do, as a photographer, you have sold your soul and have betrayed the industry.

If we allow this to happen, it will be a precedent, and soon everyone else will follow suit. We cannot let this happen.

What's the plan of action?

First, DO NOT SIGN. Don't be afraid even if they threaten that they will not hire you. Many of the top and most sought after editorial photographers have stated they will not sign and are planning to meet soon to take a stand. If nobody signs, the publishing company will have to rethink their contract.
Remember the images are yours! It is you that should make the demands on them! If you sign, then you are forever a slave to them. There is strength in numbers. If the majority stands up to this, this injustice cannot prevail.

Second, if you are an editorial photographer, please send me your contact info so that we can contact you for the plans of action. A major meeting will soon be called to discuss our stand. You can email your contact info to or

DO NOT SIGN!!! If you have any respect for photography, DO NOT

From Louie Aguinaldo:

The posting regarding this issue has already reached the concerned publishing company. I have already received a call about an hour ago and we had a very good initial discussion to clarify matters. They didn’t mean to antagonize the photographers and would like to work things out so that everything would be beneficial for all parties concerned.
It seems the contract is on hold already due to the strong reactions of the photographic community. The publisher did have some concerns that we need to discuss about.

Here are the points that they brought up

1. We (the publishers) do not need to own copyright.

2. But there should a time frame one year where pictures belong to the magazine they originally shot for. After that re-use fees apply. One of the editors was asking, “What if we do, say, a 10-year retrospective of our bet photographers’ works, we need to pay all of them again?” Maybe we can talk about it?

3. After one year, copyright reverts to them but cannot be used in a competing magazine or publishers. Eg. FHM versus Maxim, Mega versus Preview

4. For outtakes, we can use them at any time, but only for magazine that commissioned the work.

5. For promotional purposes like posters, websites, re-use should be okay.

6. Payment and approval of other people involved in shoot (models, makeup artists, stylists, plus clearance of celebrity subject) is their responsibility if image is used for commercial purposes. If re-used for commercial purposes like advertorials, we will pay them (as we already do).

So we have to meet to discuss this soon and come up with a set of guidelines that are agreeable to both parties. The meeting of editorial photographers has been set for Monday, Oct 16 at 9pm. at DPI

This is a good opportunity for all of us to come up with guidelines that we can present to all publishers to avoid confusion and violations of copyrights.

I am glad to say though that the discussion today went very well. I
am convinced that they would like to maintain a good working relationship with photographers and I believe we will be able to resolve the problem soon. But let’s not get complacent, let’s see this through.

30 September 2006

What's keeping me busy?

Been off for quite a while and I failed to update this little blog of mine. But just in case you're wondrin' what kept me busy nowadays, here it is:

Comments are highly appreciated.

28 August 2006

Asia-Europe Forum for Young Photographers 2006

Just got back from the Asia-Europe Forum for Young Photographers which was held recently in Bay View Hotel in Manila. A total of 21 young photographers (10 Europeans and 11 Asians - including 2 Filipinos) converged and participated in various assignments, fora and dialogues with regards to the Photojournalism issues. Tutors were Hans-Juergen Burkard (Photographer for Stern Magazine - Germany), Magdalena Herrera (Art Director, National Geographic-France), Alex Baluyut (a veteran photojournalist) and Romeo Gacad (Bureau Chief - Agence France Presse, Manila). This event was organized by Asia-Europe Foundation, World Press Photo and The Philippine Center for Photojournalism.

This is my first time to work as a guide/ fixer (in photjournalism, fixers are the one who lays the ground work prior to the photo shoot) which is why I felt excited and paranoid at the same time :) My original assignment was "Youth in Showbiz" which proved to be the very difficult assignment (according to Mr. Jimmy Domingo, Project Director of the AEFYP 06) since I can't get a schedule from the subjects' handlers until the very last day when the assignments had been finalized and disseminated to the participants. I was re-assigned, instead, to handle "Young Workers in Mall" which was partly shot in the SM Mall of Asia. Both Officers and Staff of SM Mall of Asia were very accomodating - Ms.Millie Dizon, Ms. Melody Bay and Ms. Rachel, Ms. Veronica Fojas, and Ms. Janice - our subject. Thanks to you all!

The group also paid a visit to the famed Oarhouse. Being a guide had taught me many lessons notwithstanding the things I learned from the tutors who shared their invaluable time and expertise (thanks, guides were allowed to sit-in). While photography (for some) seems like a fabulous occupation, this experience taught me that its passion and hard work combined - knowing that behind every photo essay/ picture story are research work, getting permits, negotiating, establishing contacts, etc. Indeed, it was a wonderful learning experience.

More photos at my Flickr site.

17 August 2006

Eastwood 2006

Last week (8.12.06), I hurriedly went to Eastwood hoping to catch up a concert of Bamboo. I arrived quite early for their performance and watched the front-act band. The venue was full and brimming with yuppies. Too bad, I wasn't given a permission to shoot photos (being honest sucks sometimes). Instead, I searched for other subjects- like this one.

14 August 2006

Hidalgo: Updates

R. Hidalgo to reclaim title of RP’s photo haven

By Tina SantosInquirerLast updated 04:41am (Mla time) 08/13/2006
Published on page A17 of the August 13, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

RENOWNED 19th century Filipino painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo should be pleased. A street in Manila named after him is about to regain its lost glory.
Three months from now, the stretch of R. Hidalgo Street in Quiapo—particularly the portion stretching from Plaza Miranda to P. Gomez Street—will soon be able to reclaim its decades-old reputation as the country’s photography haven.
For several decades, the area was a lively and flourishing trading place where photographers could get anything they needed to practice their craft, especially secondhand cameras and hard-to-find accessories.

“Every Filipino photographer knows where R. Hidalgo is. Whether greenhorn or professional, student or seasoned hobbyist, almost all photographers have, at one time or another, searched for and found photo equipment or supplies in the photo shops of R. Hidalgo,” according to advertising photographer John Chua.


31 July 2006


I had a chance to shoot DZMM's 20th anniversary concert in Araneta Coliseum last July 29th/ 06. Taking a rest in between performances, I managed to capture a more interesting subject - its audience :)

Hidalgo: A Proposal

This thread was originally posted on my Yahoo! 360 (;_ylt=AobLwh21zIb_tfMwQsiygySkAOJ3) which was an effort to restore R. Hidalgo St., (in Quiapo, Manila) back to its old glory. This was being undertaken by John Chua and the FPPF.

As a photography student back in the early 90's, R. Hidalgo St. was one of my favorite place for cheap films, developers and papers. It is where I usually go to have my films and negatives processed. Such memory (and am sure every Manila-based photographer has his/ her own) is the reason why I am supportive of this effort and though I was not personally able to attend meetings, I share joy in such a worthy undertaking.

Here are the updates:

More than 70 people from the photo shopowners, camera club members,wedding
photographers association, hobbyists joined forces in attending the
meeting with Mayor Atienza last Thursday July 13,2006. Mayor Atienza was
impressed with the large group who were committed to improved the
rehabilitation of R Hidalgo.. Together with the City Administrator and city engineers,
the Mayor presented his two year old plan in Rehabilitation of Quiapo
starting from San Sebastian Church. But when he look over our proposal,
he was in total agreement that its about time that He should start the rehabilitation
of Quiapo from R Hidalgo. When asked by Mrs. Imee Ong Hallare of Island if the
rehab will be finish by January, the Mayor replied that would be too far. He said that
he will start the project today. He summons Mr. Ader Khan and instructed him to
advise the vendors about the plan. Next day, the vendors were called
for a meeting at City Hall at 9:30 am and were told that they would be relocated
to another site. Thats where the problem began. Today, after four days of tensions,
Cong. Miles Roces has intervene in behalf of the vendors, But he is totally in agreement
with the Mayor on our proposal. Cong. Roces has made sure that the relocation of the
vendors should be fix properly, drainage, lighting and aspahting of the road.
The vendors has expressed their anger towards me and the shop owners,
Right now I am in Singapore attending a Adobe Workshop. I will return on saturday
and seek the assistance of Cong. Roces for a dialoque with the officials of the
vendors association. I hope cooler heads will intervene in this nasty
situation. --- John Chua
The vendors upon the instruction of the Mayor will be transferred to
the ramp beside the bridge. They will be allowed to sell only from
6am to 8pm then they have to fold up and store elsewhere their
stuff. This policy of organized vending is what we plan to
implement in the area.

The City Engineer just needs to flatten the relocation site since at
the moment, it has drainage/flooding problems. After the relocation
area is fixed, then the vendors along Hidalgo will be moved and
pedestrianization will eventually follow. I have not seen the
actual plan for the pedestrianization but will update you once I get
it from the City Engineer. Hopefully all of these will happen
within a months time.....and also the store/shop owners is expected
to do their share in the urban renewal effort of the City by fixing
up their frontage as fix Hidalgo.

Cheers to those who initiated/pioneered in this noble project. I am
one in this project and will support the Hidalgo project.

Joy Dawis-Asuncion
City Administrator's Office

11 July 2006


Taal Maiden



Am on my way towards Araneta Center when I noticed how the traffic enforcers are managing the traffic. And I thought its a job that's hard and - lonely.


Last week, as I was preparing for the portfolio review and hurriedly searching for images, I retrieved this image from among my files of previous photo shoots.

This was shot last year in Taal Lake, Batangas. It was near sunset and while waiting for my companions, I noticed this boatman approached our boat. I framed him and snapped a couple of frame. Instead of showing the 'real' boatman, I used his reflection instead. Voila!

07 July 2006

Portfolio Review

Just attended from a photo portfolio review conducted by Benjamin Lowy and Marvi Lacar who works with Corbis and Getty respectively.

I arrived a bit late (a couple of minutes) just in time to catch up with the slideshow presentation of Bahaghari. Aside from photodocumentary work, Bahag presented a very personal docu work about his father who is working in Italy. That docu moved me. Then slideshows of Ben and Marvi followed.

Portfolio review such as this is quite new in the photography community here in the Philippines and this is the first time such activity was organized. Thanks to Kat Palasi who had initiated such gathering.

Marvi was my critique of choice. It was my first time to attend a portfolio review and also the first time I will be presenting my photos (which are purely personal work) for critiquing. I am thankful of Marvi's straight forward comments and her invluable insights. I can say it's a good learning experience to know 'where' I am and what skills do I need to improve as a photographer. Not only do I learn from Marvi and Ben but also from other fellow photographers who are far more experienced than me and are generous enough to share their experiences. I enjoyed listening to Marvi's anecdotes too of those time when they were still starting out. Truly, it was an activity worth attending.

I do hope such an activity maybe adopted or replicated and be held regularly here in the Philippines particularly in Manila. After all, it was through other photographers that we become better visual communicators.

06 July 2006


Last night as I was shooting the frontage of Teatrino in Greenhills where the Cartwheel's event was, there was this old lady trying to shoot a photo of her friends, seeing her, i gladly offered help so that she can join in the photo. So she lent her old film P&S. One of her friend saw us and lent me her prosumer cam too. I waited a while for them to gather some of their friends who wish to join the m. They even managed to have Bimbo Cerrudo to pose with them. After a few instructions, I shoot a frame away. Returning the camera, the lady with the prosumer digital cam saw my F80 dangling down my neck and asked "You still use film?" I answered, "Yes, I still use film" the lady replied "Amazing!" Isip ko tuloy, ano amazing dun?

17 March 2006

How do I Blog Thee?

How do I Blog Thee? Let me count the ways ....