It was a hot summer afternoon of 2009. I was sweating while having my routines at Perfect Line Gym when a tall young man in long colored hair (think of Korean Pop Stars) approached me and introduced himself. I didn’t know that he has fine hands that can effortlessly play a piano or click a camera that captures our lives in vivid and colorful details. A photographer that puts music into his pictures… Vincent Tom Igno Udasco or simply “Tom” OR “Mottymot” to his friends.
Tom was born on July 3, 1980 at their old house in Tiano Mabini street. He is the only son of Henry Udasco and Lina Igno with one charming sister, “Cherry.” Way back childhood days, he was a playful kid that loved to explore the city using his bike. One time, he went biking from Tiano-Mabini to Macabalan. He arrived home at seven in the evening, very relaxed without knowing that his entire family including his grandparents and barangay tanods were already looking for him. “Kung unsa ko kalaagan karon, mas makaingon ko na mas laagan ko sa bata pa ko,” said Tom.
A no ordinary student….
At the age of five, Tom was already in grade one. He was an honor student when he graduated elementary at City Central School in 1992. He finished high school in 1996 st Liceo de Cagayan with honorable mention. Lastly, he completed Bachelor of Science in Business Management at Xavier University in 2002.
If there is that one unforgettable experience of Tom as a student, it was in grade two. “Nagvolunteer ko na magdala ug beddings for Palarong Pampook. At that time, nagtransfer na mi ug residence sa Bulua. Nagtuo akong teacher na sa Tiano-Mabini pa mi nagpuyo so gipabaklay ko niya to get the beddings. Gibaklay nako from City Central School Velez to Bulua. Pag-abot sa balay, grabe ang lagapak.”
During college days, Tom was a working student. He worked part time at ACA Video. After he graduated college, he worked as a crew in an internet cafe. Then he was employed at SM Appliance at SM City Cagayan de Oro (2003), a medical representative (2004), and at Mindanao Development Bank Loans Department (2004).
In 2006, Tom started to manage their family business, The Cyber Cherry Internet Cafe in Tiano-Mabini. It was very successful until he shifted to photography in 2012.
Tom started to have interest in photography when he was still in high school. “Gagamit ko atong compact na camera. Ga experiment ko sa lights, sa mga subjects. It was not really passion but more on interest pa lang. Kung naay occassions, di ba magpalit man ta ug film. Ang first five shots, akong hilabtan. Mag shoot ko ug mga bulak.”
It was in 2005 that Tom started to take photography seriously when he bought his first digital camera. “Didto na dayon ko nagsugod ug picture-picture sa Cagayan. Didto dayon nako na discover ang Skyscrapercity.” I got to know Tom through Skyscrapercity. It is an online forum that talks about cities and their developments. But it is our passion in photography that brings us closer. In fact, the first time that he held and explored a DSLR camera was my very own Nikon D3000 in March 2010. He became my mentor in photography. He taught me how take great shots and photo editing.
The art of photography
“Kung sa tao lang, ganahan ko ug candid. Ma capture nimo ang unguarded moments sa mga tao, walay peke and just themselves. Their pure unadulterated personality. Sa nature, ma capture nimo ang drama sa nature. Ang dramatic colors especially sa sunset, a mixture of colors of sunset and sunrise. Sa events, ma capture nimo ang highlights. In line siguro sa photojournalism because you want to share to people what you witnessed.” But among these subjects, Tom’s personal favorite is landscape photography with nature. ” Before I discovered photography, I’m inclined into music. Kung makit-an man gud nako unsa ka beautiful ang isa ka lugar or scenery, naay background music na motukar sa ako. For example, sa Palawan. Nitukar sa ako ang symphony no . 9 ni Beethoven. Kung unsa akong mood or music, ako gyud siya icapture sa picture. So, ako ginafuse akong love for music and love for photography.”
Tom’s motivation in photography is not a person but his love for Cagayan de Oro. Bisan wala pa koy DSLR, lugot na man kaayo ko magtake ug pictures of Cagayan de Oro.
Most memorable shots
“It was Christmas when I took a picture of UCCP church, wala pay overpass sa CM Recto that time. Then my CM Recto Overpass na picture. Ikaduha gikawat ni na picture sa tabloid without giving me a due credit.”
“Maulit ka kay imong mga published works, wala gi credit imong name, pero there is undertone of flattery kay buot pasabot na na appreciate nila imohang work. Although, gi erase nila akong watermark, but there is an undertone of happiness and a little bit of pride sa imong self because na appreciate nila imong work, ilang gikawat. Although you could have wished na gihatagan ka ug due credit. I was featured also sa I Heart CDO and Launchpad Magazine.”
Tom uses cam phone, Canon 60D, Pentax KR, and Sony Cybershot. But he frequently uses his Canon 60D.
Natural born “maniniyot”
A formal training in photography is something that Tom did not go through. He has only joined workshops and read blogs and watch Youtube videos. “Makaingon ko na wide reader ko sa photography sa internet.”
Tsadagyud asked Tom of his personal choices as a photographer and other topics regarding himself.
Who are these people that you dream to be your models?
International, Catherine Zeta Jones. Although she has gained weight but she still has the prettiest face on earth, iyang mata ug ilong na cute kaayo. For local, Angel Locsin. Aside sa lips ug other features, ang mata man gyud ang pinaka direct nimo makit-an kung unsa ka klase na tao.
What about places?
Number one is Tuscany, Italy. Kada lingi nimo is a work of art. Although, dili siya parehas sa Rome or Milan na intricate kaayo ang architecture. But Tuscany is a mixture of nature and vintage subjects. Number two is Oia, Greece. It’s a valley dotted with white houses and blue beach. In the Philippines, Batanes.
What does it take to capture nice pictures?
Patience. Patience to learn. Patience to appreciate others work pero dili nimo i-copy. And patience for the right timing. Dili trial and error ang photography. What is crucial is timing. No matter how good you are with technicalities, but if wala ka sa maayo na mood, it could affect your product.
What if you woke up not in a mood, how do you handle the situation?
If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I set aside my personal issues. Makig-PR ko with my subject to break the ice
Nikon or Canon?
I appreciate both. It’s not playing safe. Naa silay features na mo compensate sa loss sa isa. Akong ganahan sa Nikon kay vivid gyud iyang color. Sa Canon, ang clarity sa image.
As a photographer, what is your dream camera?
Canon 1D. Siyempre kay mao man ang pinaka mahal na Canon model. Although, dili ka makaingon, unsa ka hi tech imong camera, mag depende diha ang kalidad sa imong produkto. Nag depende gihapon sa photographer. But if given the chance to own it, why not?
A lot of people say that photography is a hobby for those who can afford. Is it really expensive and does it really require DSLR?
Depende na siya sa unsa na intensity nimo i-explore ang photography. If you would like to just capture daily scenes and street photography, any point and shoot will do. Mobalik ko sa prinsipyo na naa ra gyud na siya sa photographer and good capture of subjects.
What benefits do you get from photography?
Daghan ka mailhan na tao, access to events, and the possibilities to explore other people. For example, Kagayanon man ko, so daghan ko nailhan na tao, mapataas na rango or normal lang. Kana sila, pwede nako magamit na access to shoot more places in Cagayan de Oro. Wala nako sila gigamit for my personal benefit. Ang pinaka una man gyud nako na reason na nisulod kog photography is to promote Cagayan de Oro. So, kung naa koy makit-an na opportunity magamit nako na siya tao para ma access ko sa mga lugar sa Cagayan de Oro, I would really mingle to him.
What is the most photogenic place in Cagayan de Oro that you really love taking pictures?
Ako na siya na mention before sa magazine. Kanang approach diha sa Marcos bridge, approaching CM Recto. If you’re using a wide angled camera, you would notice na permi siya ug change na spot ug perspective. Every year, naay mga major na characteristics na ga sprout.
Until when do you intend to be a photographer?
For life for as long na maka click pa akong kamot, makakita pa ko. It’s like I intend to be musician for the rest of my life.
Aside from photography, what are your other hobbies?
In line gihapon sa photography, photo editing. Then piano and plane spotting.
Why have you chosen motorela for your watermark?
Aside from water rafting, motorela is a the most distinct and prototype symbol of Cagayan de Oro.
What is the ultimate turn off of a photographer?
I used to like HDR. Na realize nako kadugayan that it is too surreal. If you want to photograph something, you deliver the emotion without altering, na grabe ang alteration na ang clouds grabe ra kaayo ka dark. Na kung tan-awon na eksena, dili man in-ana. Murag gina ilad nimo ang tao ba. Sa ako, although naay gamay na enhancement, gusto nako ma appreciate akong photo but close to reality.
What big events have you covered?
Miss Cagayan de Oro, Liceo’s Next Top Model, and provincial beauty pageants.
If you’re not a photographer, what are you?
The camera lenses allow us to be seen, our stories to be told, and our souls to shine. And they are made even better when the shutter is clicked in the likes of this brilliant photographer… musician… debonair… Vincent Tom Udasco. PROUDLY KAGAYANON!