Jul 4, 2017

A few days ago, travel and documentary photographer and March 2017 Southern Living cover personality Hannah Reyes called out Esquire Philippines on Facebook for misrepresenting female photographers in two separate stories—the first one being a feature on “the country’s top photojournalists,” which did not include a woman.

The article, titled “Filipino Photojournalists on Working in a Post-Truth World,” gathered photographers covering current affairs in the country. There, the lensmen talked freely about the state of media today. Indeed, the discussion was “engaging,” as Reyes had put it, and offered audiences various viewpoints from which they could dissect journalism here and abroad.

Reyes juxtaposed this round-table discussion against an earlier story by the same magazine titled “7 Filipina Photographers Who’ve Caught Our Eye,” in which she was featured.

Noting that, in contrast, the listicle made female photographers “look like we’re on holiday,” Reyes accused the magazine of not even bothering to show the work of the women included in the feature—a far cry from how Esquire Philippines presented their male counterparts in the more recent piece.

Reyes ends with a statement that clearly resonated with many of her colleagues: “I am tired. I am tired of our work and our cameras being treated as accessories.”

Magazine editors have since then defended both stories saying that a woman photojournalist was supposed to be part of the round-table discussion, but was unable to make the interview because she was out on assignment.

While some netizens took time to show support for Reyes and her stance, there were those who extended more magnanimous views on the matter. One thing’s for sure: Reyes’ post caused quite a stir online and served as a springboard for more dialogues on the importance of diversity not only in photojournalism (or journalism, for that matter), but in any field and profession.

In the meantime, here’s a peek into the work of seven Filipina photographers making waves in media today:


Hannah Reyes

Of course, we begin with our former Southern Living cover personality, Hannah Reyes. Reyes is a travel and documentary photographer represented by National Geographic Creative. Her works have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera America, National Geographic, and The GroundTruth Project, to name a few. The photo above is from her recent project, “Shelter from the Storm,” which tackles the lives of Filipino women and children displaced by typhoons and forced into the sex trade.

See more of Hannah’s work here: https://hannah.ph/


Alanah Torralba

International Day of the Disappeared. August 30, 2016. Karen’s portrait at the Empeno residence in Zambales. November 2007. On the fourth year since her daughter was missing, Concepcion Empeno broke down while doing the dishes on a balmy September morning. It was a normal enough day when suddenly the television played Christmas songs. Her heart sank as tears flooded her eyes. Yet another year that Karen is not with us, she told her husband. In June 26, 2006, Karen Empeno, a student from the University of the Philippines, conducting her thesis study on the plight of farmers along with fellow student Sherlyn Cadapan in Hagonoy, Bulacan, was abducted by unknown gunmen in their rented house. After nearly a decade of fruitless search, Concepcion continues to exhaust all her means to find her missing daughter. She has knocked on the doors of military camps; went to graves where personal articles of her daughter were supposedly buried; sought the support of the international community and pleaded the courts to order the military to surface her daughter. Ten years on, Concepcion admits the search has taken its toll on her. Despite the lengthy court hearings and seemingly unanswered pleas from the government, she refuses to stop searching for her daughter, hoping one day Karen will return home. #internationaldayofthedisappeared #humanrights #philippines #searchingforkaren #everydayphilippines

A post shared by Alanah Torralba (@alanahtorralba) on

Alanah Torralba is a Manila-based photographer and writer. From 2007 to 2010, she worked for international news wire agency European Pressphoto Agency (EPA). Aside from doing freelance work, she is a contributing reporter for VERA files, a “nonstock, nonprofit independent media organization” dedicated to “taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues.” The photo above is from “Searching for Karen,” a story on a missing daughter and her mother’s unwavering belief that one day, “Karen will return home.”

See more of Alanah’s work here: https://www.alanahtorralba.com


Tammy David

Tammy David is a Manila-based photographer, videographer, and content strategist. Her photos have been published in Wall Street Journal, Monocle magazine, Financial Times, Newsweek Japan, and Nikkei Business Publications, to name a few. She is also one of the founders of @everydayphilippines on Instagram. The photo above is from her coverage of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines.

See more of Tammy’s work here: https://www.tammydavid.com


Kimberly dela Cruz

Leo C. Baldomero, 37, killed June 7, 2017/Navotas #everydayimpunity #everydayphilippines

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Kimberly dela Cruz is a freelance photographer and writer based in Manila. A photo correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she has documented issues and events under news, lifestyle, and everything in between. Her photos have appeared in TIMEWashington Post, and BuzzFeed. These days, she is busy with in-depth coverage of the Philippines’ ongoing “war on drugs.” The photo above is just a glimpse of dela Cruz’s documentation of the drug war controversy.

See more of Kimberly’s work here: @kimiisstellar on Instagram


Xyza Bacani

Xyza Bacani is a street and documentary photographer. Part of the 2015 Human Rights Fellows of the Magnum Foundation, she has been featured in New York Times Lens Blog and CNN. Prior to becoming known as a photographer, Bacani was a domestic worker in Hong Kong, where she was able to document the lives of migrant workers and help raise awareness on human rights issues. She has held various solo exhibitions here and abroad. The photo above is part of Bacani’s street series titled “Love&Poetry.”

See more of Xyza’s work here: https://www.xyzacruzbacani.com/


Eloisa Lopez

Eloisa Lopez is a Manila-based independent writer and photographer. A former photo correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she regularly contributes to the Union of Catholic Asian News and online news platform Rappler. Her photos have appeared in The New York Review of Books, TIME online, and Columbia Journalism Review. She is currently documenting the war President Rodrigo Duterte has waged against illegal drugs. The photo above shows a supposed drug buy-bust operation in Binondo, Manila.

See more of Eloisa’s work here: https://www.eloisaalopez.com


Nana Buxani

Nana Buxani is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, and visual artist who was born in Mindanao and specializes in sociopolitical reportage. Her photographs spotlight issues such as child labor, children in detention, life in war-torn areas, and indigenous peoples’ claims to ancestral lands. She has gone on assignment for TIME magazine, Bloomberg News, The New York Times, and The Guardian-UK, to name a few. The photo above shows Manobo women farmers at work.

See more of Nana’s work here: https://www.nanabuxani.com

TAGS: alanah torralba eloisa lopez esquire hannah reyes journalism kimberly dela cruz nana buxani nolisoli nolisoliph photography photojournalism xyza bacani