Billy Mondoñedo

BILLY copy

The camera club of the philippines’ Master photographer for 2005 and a renowned fine arts printer, Billy Mondoñedo takes the craft of photography and printing to a different level. While most photographers would be happy to see their shots on their monitors, uploaded to their computer from their camera, Billy makes his images live by printing them.

Batanes copy

Master Photographer

When did your interest in photography start?

Back in high school in the U.S. Back  then, I mostly shot slide film. There was  a time when slides were cheap, but the  processing was too expensive for me.  Being just a student, I didn’t have the  means to have my films processed.

What was your first camera?

A Nikon FM.

Subject that interest you the most?

I was into portraits and landscapes.  Natural light was my choice for my  photos.

At what point did you realize that you were getting better at your craft?

I had to give up photography for a  short while. In 2001, I decided to go  back to photography. Equipped with a  Canon EOS 1D, I took several sponsored  photography workshops as a refresher.  The following year, I joined the Camera  Club of the Philippines (CCP), sponsored  by my uncle. It’s one of the best  photographers’ clubs! I thought that, if I  really wanted to hone my craft, joining a  photography club would be the quickest  way to refresh my skills. True enough,  just a year after finishing probationary status in the CCP, I finished eleventh  overall. In the following years, I landed  third and eighth.

At what point did you realize that you had “made it?”

2005 was the milestone year for me. My  hard work, and my passion and desire  paid off and I received the Camera Club  of the Philippines’ Master Photographer  award, the youngest member to get the  coveted title. I’ve learned a lot from the  club, especially in terms of approaching  my subject. [The Master Photographer  of the CCP is the member who garners  the year’s highest score in the monthly contests and annual on-the-spot photo  contests.]

In the first monthly contest very next  year, however, both my entries ranked  last! Shocked and dismayed, I made sure  that my entries the following month  would make it to the top ten. True  enough, I got seventh place. In the end,  I was vindicated, for those two photos  that were trashed by the contest judges  found a buyer in Europe!

R-0025 XPANll

You are now specializing in fine art printing. What differentiates it from other printing methods?

It’s fine art printing when you take time  to bring out the true essence of the  image to have a customized print. You  take a picture, dissect it and meticulously  enhance every element to come up with  an exhibit quality print.

What is your view on photography and fine art printing?

The end in view of every photographer  must be to see his work printed. Most  photographers stop at the monitor. The  monitor is just the workshop. Because printing is the part of photography  where photographers get most  frustrated, I decided to study the fine  arts side of printing in the US. This is  not just another commercial photo lab,  though. I make sure that every project  is of superb quality, and not mediocre.  I do the editing, the test printing again  and again, the cutting and the final  printing myself. Most of my clients do  not understand that image building is a  process that takes a lot of time. I do my  best to do justice to every photo—from  editing to printing, ensuring that the  black is black, that the red is how it’s  supposed to be.

What is the impact of fine art printing to consumers, those you view them?

I print large, exhibit works. I believe that  one large photograph hung on a wall  makes a greater impact than several  small photographs. For instance, in a  restaurant in Cebu, we printed a 7-1/2  by 1 feet reproduction of Paul Reuben’s  The Judgement of Paris in black and  white. With just one enormous photo on  the wall of that restaurant, we received a lot of feedback, both positive and  negative.

What makes you very passionate about your craft?

I believe that a photo should tell a story.  One must remember these: seeing,  observing and connecting. When one  looks at a picture, he must see and  observe the subject—how does the light  fall on the subject? How does its texture  add character to your photo? And then,  connect with the subject. It is when a  person can see himself one with the  photograph that the picture is a success.  As a printer, I’ve seen many images that  I’d never shoot myself. Then I ask myself  why the artist took that photo. If I can’t  find the answer, I say “maybe the artist is  on a higher level.” One must be able to  appreciate different approaches.

When one visits your studio, none of your works are on display. Why is that?

(With a very friendly laugh) I’m very  demanding when it comes to my  photographs. I’ll never stop finding something wrong or something to  adjust the moment I print a photo. I’m a  perfectionist.

2 Fishermen Final copy

How would you like to be known, a photographer or a fine arts printer?

I’m both. I start by shooting and end by  printing. I see photography and printing  as arts, not just tools. A photographer  must know all the processes, from  pressing the shutter release button to  pressing the “Print” button.

Dream Landscape copy

What is your advice to photographers on fine arts printing?

Good images come from getting very  close to your subject, not just physically,  but intuitively and emotionally. In  printing, do not compromise. If you have  a good image, print it and spend on it.  When images are not compromised,  you’ll see their beauty.

Gurten1 copy

“Good images come from getting very close to your subject,

not just physically,

but intuitively and emotionally.”

Dock copy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)