Fashion photography taught me
about life—rejections and all

I learned to live light-hearted and to enjoy the process

The author: Just enjoy the process and the journey.

An editorial shot by the author for Vogue Taiwan

It has been 10 years since I decided to venture into fashion and photography, become a traveler, and pursue a dream—to shoot for the greatest magazines and produce beautiful work. The plan was to sustain a comfortable life and live and work permanently as an artist in Europe, all while toiling in three different continents.

I left Singapore (where I worked as software developer) in 2011, and moved between New York, London (where I resided most of the time), Milan, and Paris during the fashion weeks, and elsewhere for the remainder of each year. But since 2020, I have been back home here in the Philippines.

Looking back over the past decade, I learned many things. Here are my personal reminders:

  1. It is okay to dream, big or small. In my case, it was the former. There were many rejections and hurdles.

  2. Learn to move on after each rejection. Borrowing a line from the late American singer Aaliyah, “If at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again.” Improve, and restart better.

If it doesn’t work, it’s okay, too. Pat yourself on the back for trying.

  1. Sometimes, a break, a breath of fresh air, will give us a clearer direction of our dreams.

Pause for few seconds. Proceed.

  1. Know when it is time to end it. Stopping even when you haven’t achieved it isn’t equivalent to failure.

Hold on (if you can). Continue the journey. Continue reading.

  1. There are times when our frail human nature gives in.

There were dark days in my early endeavors when I felt completely alone, and my path was downright uncertain. Personal and societal pressures were too difficult to cope with. I succumbed to despair, and resorted to sexual dependency in the hope of finding temporary comfort and strength. In the long run, it didn’t work.

Worse, there were thoughts of suicide… until I braved the storms

Worse, there were thoughts of suicide. I was lost. Until I braved the storms to find the courage to stand again.

  1. I learned to live light-hearted, and to enjoy the process and the journey.

Don’t forget to dance, sing, drink, and be merry. Because there are great reasons ahead.

  1. The world out there is beautiful.

  2. Friends, and memories made with them, are great treasures.

  3. Humanity is wonderful.

  4. Finally, smile and understand that every one of us is a work in progress.

Enjoy life. Start a new dream.

About author


He is a self-taught fashion photographer who traveled and worked in three continents for the past decade before deciding to return to the Philippines to his hometown in Albay at the start of the pandemic. He has rediscovered the happiness of playing badminton, exploring the locality and enjoying provincial life with old and newfound friends. He also founded LINEAL ( ), a digital publication championing creativity in Southeast Asia.

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