“How to be a photographer? Be relevant. You cannot expect anything new if you keep doing the same thing. Create something no one has ever done before,’ said 3-time Ani ng Dangal awardee Ruston Banal of Betis, Pampanga on the 4th and final day of the photographers’ conference.

“Do not surrender to commodity,” said Banal.

French photojournalist Christophe Loviny, founder of Yangon Photo Festival, shared many of his experiences documenting stories around Southeast Asia and the world.

That’s him in the photo, as a young photojournalist in the Philippines, with a revolver tucked in his belt. He said Diwalwal in Mindanao in the 1980s was the biggest gold rush in the world, with 160,000 people swarming the area. It was also a hotbed of crime and conflict, he said. In his lecture, Loviny also emphasized the power of photography which he says is now in the hands of the masses via the smartphone camera. “Instead of shooting selfies and food, document human stories with your smartphone. Everybody has this capability now. Start with yourself, tell your story,” he said.

Loviny receives a plaque of appreciation from Photo World Asia 2017 Chairman Prof. Joey Tañedo.

Three-time Pulitzer nominee photojournalist Romy Gacad spoke of his experiences as reporter embedded with Allied forces during the 1991 Gulf War. “The reality of being an embedded photojournalist is that censorship is a given condition, you submit to military minders,” he said. “And some embedded missions could be open-ended, you don’t know when it will end. You come in with no idea when you are coming back.”

“Often, I like to shoot crowd scenes wide angle but with clearly visible, even identifiable, faces,” said Romy.

Many of Romy Gacad’s photos have made it to the cover stories of international magazines.

He also documented the progression of the Chinese buildup in the Spratlys, especially on Mischief Reef, from simple makeshift structures which later became a large airport.

“From the 5 W’s, never mind the How, make it 6 – What Where When Who When, Wow,” Gacad said.

The veteran photojournalist, now Agence France Presse chief photographer stationed in Yangon, Myanmar, raises his plaque of appreciation from FPPF’s Prof. Joey Tañedo, Photo World Asia 2017 Chairman.