Apr 132015
 

Do what you Love 

Xyza Cruz Bacani

P U R P O S E  I N  L I F E

 

Do what you love: Xyza Cruz Bacani by Adam Marelli

Do what you love: Xyza Cruz Bacani by Adam Marelli

01

First I would like to congratulate you on the recent scholarship you won with the Magnum Foundation to attend NYU.  Could you tell us a little bit more about what this means to you and how it will impact your photography?

It means a lot because it will be my first (formal) education in photography. There is this tiny voice inside me that sometimes says people don’t take my  photography seriously because I am self taught, and I envy those who have a degree in photography. I still don’t know a lot about photography, especially technical stuff.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

02

In the last few weeks, there have been a number of interviews about your scholarship, most of them with the heading “Domestic worker wins Magnum Scholarship…”  Why do you think people respond so strongly to your previous profession?

Maybe because not all domestic workers like me are given the chance to pursue their dreams. Being a domestic worker is not an easy job. We suffer from human rights abuses and are regarded poorly by society. With my story, somehow it inspires people that no matter what you do, where you from or who you are, your dreams are valid.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

03

Could you tell us a bit about how and why you decided to pick up a camera?

I wanted to be a painter but I don’t have the skill or talent, so when I discovered photography, I was overjoyed because I realized that I can create with it.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

04

What are some of your influences and how have they impacted your photography?

Jonathan Van Smit, Elliot Erwitt, Rick Rocamora, Sim Chi Yin to name a few.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

05

How would you describe your photography?  Not just the genre, but why do you take pictures?

My personal photography is a visual diary of my feelings. My images usually reflect my emotions at that certain time. Photography for me is a need, more than just a want. If I am out shooting, I stop worrying. I am happy and I am free.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

06

From your early pick up by the New York Times to the possibility of self education, it sounds like the Internet played a positive role in your development.  Usually the Internet is blamed for things, but in this case it seems to have brought you a connection to other people that led to success.  Could you talk about how the Internet was a resource for your photography?

I educate myself by watching and reading free stuff from Internet. I learned the basics from one of your video tutorials, Bridging the Gap. It connected me to great people. My closest friends, I met them through the Internet.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

07

The choice to pursue photography is something that many people are afraid to do because they are not sure they can make money.  Did you encounter any resistance when you decided to be a photographer and how were you able to over come it?

When I asked my mom if I could buy a camera, she said, “It’s only for rich people.” I felt rebellious during those times, but I understand her. For people like us, the need to survive is greater than the need to do art. I’m slightly stubborn; when people say I can’t do it, I will do all my best to be able to do it. I like challenges.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

08

While there have been a number of feature stories that look at “Domestic Workers,” you have a opportunity to come at the subject, not as an observer, but as an experienced worker and photographer.  How do you feel that your personal experience sets your work apart from the journalist trying to understand that world from the outside?

I am one of them, so they relate more. The images I took of them are more honest, more real because the intimacy is greater. There are no presumptions, they show me their real self, because they know that I know and experienced what they are going through.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

09

Up until this point, attending a photography program has not been a practical option for you, what are you looking forward to with the prospect of spending all of your time dedicated to developing your craft?

I want to know all the stuff I need to know. I crave for education, I want to learn the business side of photography so I can find ways to support my family while doing what I love.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

10

In other interviews you have said that you would like your photography to help people and that it would be useful to society.  Could you explain why this is important to you?

It gave me a purpose in life. One of the best things about living is when you realize what is your purpose, and I found mine. I want to serve people and the best way I can do that is by using my photography to raise awareness about issues I care about.  Awareness brings change and photography is a powerful tool to plant the seeds of awareness.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

11

What are you most looking forward to when you come to New York to start the program?

I’m looking forward to meeting my co-fellows in the program, the people behind the Magnum Foundation and Susan Meisales. She is my superstar.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

Portrait of Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani

Thank you Xyza!  We look forward to her arrival in New York City and welcoming her to the next steps in her career.  To see more of her work: http://www.xyzacruzbacani.com 

Do you know someone who took a chance on a dream and is doing what they love?  Drop us a line if you have a story that you would like to see featured…

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  6 Responses to “Do what you Love: Xyza Cruz Bacani”

  1. Great article! She is such an inspiration.

  2. An inspiration indeed to those who love to pursue their dreams.

  3. Congrulations Xyza! You must be so excited and honored all at the same time. You have some wonderful pictures and I am happy you received your scholarship to attend a great school. Keep following your dream, work hard, have some fun and soak it all in. It will go by fast!

  4. Looking forward to seeing future work

  5. Awesome pictures Xyza and a great inspiration.

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