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When I was six years old and my uncle Willy Vicoy showed me his camera and taught me how to use it and take pictures of my family. They came out as good pictures.
As a teenager, I did not think I would end up working as a photographer. When I learned how to use a camera and to take pictures, I was proud of myself. Photography challenged me, it helped me to go beyond my capabilities and to improve different aspects of shooting. I wanted to become a photographer to witness historic events first hand.
My very first assignment was to take photos of the “people power” revolution in Manila. It was tough because for a first assignment, it was huge. The Filipino people took to the streets calling for then president Ferdinand Marcos to resign due to election fraud and the implementation of martial law.
It was a big step for me because Marcos had control of the state media, military and the police and for a small country like the Philippines, we had the world's attention because a lot of foreign media were interested in the peaceful revolt against the government. Marcos eventually fled to Hawaii.
An assignment in Afghanistan has left the biggest mark on me. It was exciting and dangerous at the same time. I was hesitant at first to say yes but in the end, I just went because I thought that not only would it be beneficial for me as a photographer but it also helped build stronger family ties – just like the cliché, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
We are the eyes of the public. We convey transparency and truth to our readers through our pictures. They are eager to know and see beyond the ordinary.
For photojournalists starting out now, my advice would be: experience is the best teacher and always be mindful of your surroundings while covering events – “Cover the story, Don't become the story".
I have the utmost respect for my late uncle Willy Vicoy, who as a photographer covered the Vietnam War for UPI. Without him, I wouldn't be the experienced photographer that I am today.
Photojournalism will never fade. It will go with the tide and progress.