Crumbling Claveria/Davao photo-walkers

Subscribe Now November 28, 2012 at 09:12am

I TRUNDLED down Claveria the other Saturday morning, the first time for ages, from the SP building (Being painted elegant shades of mud) to the Aldevinco warren, and was astonished at how run down the area had become. Half the street was shuttered up and looked abandoned while the other half unpainted since, well, ever. Was this Davao starting to rot from the inside, the inner-city blight we read about? It was around eleven in the morning, precious few people about, precious few businesses open either. Where had they all gone? Presumably the better-off to the new glitzy suburban malls, the remainder to the commercial ghetto of Uranguyan, a stretch of road the tourist people no doubt peddle as the “authentic Asian shopping experience” rather than the horror it really is.

No? Chock-a-block traffic, no parking, street people every three paces with their hands out, no sidewalks and stores staffed by tweenies who haven’t a clue what they’re about.

Back to Claveria, astonishment again because this is a main thoroughfare, a parade route, used by half of all northbound traffic and, I’d imagine, just about any traveller or tourist who visits the city so why is it such a dump? Take a look councilors. Something has to be done and I don’t mean stringing up beer ads or planting those god-awful vertical streamers which resorts feel enhance their beachfronts. Maybe Davao’s photo-walkers could perambulate down the street and post up for all to see crumbling Claveria.

Photo-walk. A new term for me and courtesy of fellow scribbler Ging-Ging Valle, a self-explanatory term but I still looked it up. Says Wikipedia, ‘The act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things the photographer might find interesting. ‘Photo-walks are popular; Ging-Ging’s group explored the People’s Park area while another lot on the same day tramped about St. Ana wharf and, as one blogger wrote, Magsaysay Park ‘but we found it too far to walk’.

I struggled here - my computer ineptitude and SmartBro’s piss-poor connectivity - and have to say the photos of the walks I did turn up were yawningly ordinary which I suppose is the consequence of today’s digital camera capability - blast away and there’s bound to be a good one in there somewhere.

Migs Lisbona’s webpage offers a modest gallery of the People’s Park photos ‘entered in the 2010 competition’. I liked the monochrome tree, only one leaf, a stark black and white contrast and I liked the bicycle leaning near a red gate, lots of color, but the rest? Humdrum people studies - obviously some expensive kit being used but - yawn - on to the St. Ana photowalk page. The walk set off at six in the morning, plenty of strong low light, shadows and textures and yet here’s a gallery of sea and shipping. Why hasn’t someone got down on their knees? Grainy asphalt, knotty wood, pitted bollards? The considered “best” photo was four guys doing a Beatles “jump for joy” against the dawn which hints at the quality of the rest of the gallery (Although I did like the fishing lines with the colored “rods” but why no cropping?).

I hear you. What right do I have offering an opinion on other people’s snaps and I’ll cheerfully reply it’s what I do and I hail from a different era of photography, the era of roll film - my first camera was a hand-me-down from dad with a bellows lens which took 127 film, contact prints the size of today’s 3R format. Film and processing was pricey, film not always available, every photo considered before triggering the shutter.

On the plus side digital cameras and computer editing have brought decent photography and results within reach of everyone. The smallest, cheapest camera is a marvel. I’ve a ten-year-old Canon Powershot, a tiny camera with enormous potential and manual to match which I carry around - the camera, not the manual - but hardly use. Maybe I should join a photowalk.


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