In case you don’t already know, Jilson Tiu is a professional Chinoy photographer who recently broke the internet with his decision to withdraw as one of the brand ambassadors of Canon Philippines.
Jilson is a 30-year-old Fine Arts Advertising graduate from the University of Santo Tomas. He simultaneously took classes in photography and honed his craft as an official photographer for UST’s school publication, The Varsitarian. Now a professional photographer, Jilson is best known for street photography of the daily lives in Metro Manila, such as the daily commute, the raw streets, and the everyday lives of Filipinos.
Jilson’s photographs have been featured in the official Instagram account of National Geographic. The Chinoy photographer based in Manila has also been published by several local media such as Manila Bulletin, Spot.ph, and Philippine Daily Inquirer. His works highlight the nitty-gritty underbelly of city life.
When Canon released its ambassadors for 2021 with an all-male line-up and clamor ensued, Jilson was not one to stay silent on the brand campaign’s unapologetic absence of diversity. All across the country, various members from the creative field, among them local and international photographers, models, artists and even non-professional camera enthusiasts called out the camera brand to correct their actions by adding women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. However, this was met by a bland statement that obviously lacked an apology.
Because of this, through his social media accounts, Jilson announced that as of last Wednesday, he was dropping his ambassadorship with Canon Philippines.
“I love Canon cameras, so far, it’s been my partner for a decade of my photography career. [So] thank you, Canon, for three years, I will continue to use your camera as a tool, but I don’t want to be an ambassador to a brand that doesn’t align with my principles,” Jilson stated.
Whether or not this movement would bear good results, Jilson stands by his words.
The controversial incident with Canon and how Jilson stood up for his principles is just one of the many reasons why the lensman is not your typical photojournalist. If you want to know more about Jilson and his advocacies, it would be best to look at the photographs he’s captured through his own lens.
We have compiled these five photos taken by Jilson, which describe him best as a photojournalist and a truth-teller.
“This is a pathway under the MacArthur bridge. This used to serve as an underpass cross from one lane to another. For years now, this pathway has been clogged with plastic trash and stagnant water. There is a flood here with or without rain. Not only [does] this water block the path, [but it also] harbors dangerous viruses like dengue. We still have [a] long road ahead in fixing this Metropolis.”
“River warriors, these people work hard rain or shine in keeping the rivers flowing, [especially] it’s flood season. Today they collected an enormous amount of plastic trash clogging the river. They even found a couch today. Plastic trash in Manila has been a big problem. It causes a flood surge that adds headache to the botched road work of water companies. We need a law to penalize improper plastic disposal. From cigarette butts to a couch that was found stuck in the filter.”
Unafraid to show the reality
“Dark side of the sand.”
“Even before riding a bike, I was fascinated with these two-wheeled heart-powered vehicles traversing the streets. It always catches my attention on the busy roads of Metro Manila. Nimble, humble, and zero fossil fuel. The first four photos were taken pre-pandemic, where I was on top of train stations, overpasses, and commuting around Metro Manila to capture the vibe of this city. Now that I am on the saddle because of this pandemic, it gave [me] a different perspective of the city. A new way to explore the Metro, a new world to explore with my camera.”
An unparalleled perspective
“Summer hues on muted weather.”
All photos from @jilson.tiu on Instagram.
Have you seen any of Jilson’s work? Let us know your favorite in the comments section below!