Thursday, November 1, 2012


Aside from promoting and advocating life insurance, businessman Paul Borromeo maintains a good balance by taking time off for family life and to capture still life.

I remember talking to one of his closest friends, and he proudly pointed out that Paul showed a lot of promise in the field of photography even when they were in high school. “He has always had the eye for great photos.”

Hip and cool at 44, Paul is like a kid full of ideas every time I see him work at photo shoots. It’s like seeing Paul in his own wonderland, creating magic through his rabbit hole of a lens. It has always been such an ease to spearhead and execute projects with him in the wing. We’ve collaborated over series of PR and advertising campaigns since 2007, and, to this day, I remain one of his loyal fans.  

His visually arresting art and style has spurred the interest of thousands of shutterbugs netizens, and aspiring young artists in the country. Check his friends list on Facebook and you’ll understand what I mean.

What’s so great about this man is his passion to share ideas with curious minds. He devotes time to reply to questions and throw in a few tips and suggestions to budding artists, whether on line or in close encounters.

What he knows, he shares. It’s just like giving back all the knowledge that helped hone his skills and made him who he is now in the industry. “After all, my art is a collaboration of so many happy coincidences. It’s a product of shared ideas and experiences from pros and other practitioners who I’ve had the privilege of working with.”

At the early age of 11, Paul started off with a Kodak Instamatic, which was given by a family friend, and his love affair with photography blossomed while he experimented with lights and shadows. “I got caught up with the idea of freezing time and emotions, and documenting a part of history and the past.”

“Then I joined the yearbook committee when I was 16. Given the unlimited rolls of film I was supplied with, I had the best time going around campus to photograph scenes and images of high school life.”

“I got even more hooked into photography when the digital cameras came out.  At that time, I explored more with landscape, travel, and street photography."

Sometime 2003 or 2004, Paul was introduced to some of the most respected photographers in the Davao community. These were names which he just once read in newspapers or exhibits. “I remember Tatay Rene (Lumawag) showing me how to properly use my Nikon 5700, in one of the Kadayawan sunrise events.  I also got a bit of enlightenment from Chiaw Yap, who gave me detailed pointers on lights and shadows. Through them, I got to understand the so-called passion in photography. The fascination wasn’t more on the technical aspects, but on sharing ideas instead. In the process of immersion with the Camera Club of Davao, I got to meet fellow enthusiasts who formed online groups and shared ideas and critiques to make the craft better.” 

“I also got to meet Rhonson Ng during the ASEAN Tourism Forum, and we, together with Jojie Alcantara, became steadfast friends and photo buddies since then. In one of those days when Rhonson and I used to hang around their studio, I met a model friend of theirs, Karen Johnson, whose elegance drew me closer to portraiture. Soon, I found myself going deeper into this wonderful rabbit hole of creativity, and invested heavily in portraiture when I did my first workshop with Manny Librodo in Iloilo.”

With much passion and interest in honing his craft and sharing his ideas, he took the big leap by constructing his own studio, just within the comfort of home. In 2009, Leadfoto Studios was born.

“The idea came from my wife, Nina. She suggested that I just set up a studio near our house. Then my sister pointed towards a vacant family property in our area. Together with Saldy Mascardo, I began designing what I envisioned to have --- a studio where artists could meet and share in a non-commercial environment.”

With fellow collaborators, Paul staged numerous productions and photo shoots which further increased his fan base on Facebook and around town. He inspired more photographers to step out of their perceived self, think out of the box, and just have fun experimenting.

Paul with fellow collaborators at Leadfoto Studios.

“To this day, Leadfoto Studios continues to evolve and grow. It is not a commercial studio, but a venue to create. Photo workshops such as the Lyrical Light series originated in Leadfoto, the same way make up seminars of Tiny Pili and Mae Ann Cortez and satellite workshops by Marlon Advincula have been born out of this studio as well.”

“Slowly, through the past 3 years, we have been able to gather like minds in forming an unofficial team of fashion stylists, hair and makeup artists, models, and other photo collaborators. As time passes, Leadfoto Studios will always be a venue for collaborations. It will always be an artist’s playground.”
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1 and A4, INdulge section, Edge Davao, Vol. 5 Issue 172, 31 October 2012.



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