SANTA MONICA, Calif. – In 2013, the word “selfie” was Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. While millions of selfie photos pop up online each day, one Filipino photographer realized that in some places, including the Philippines, life isn’t always picture perfect.
“It’s more than a portrait,” said Bryan Alano. “It’s basically making someone feel special and a lot of us take this for granted. It’s just so easy with technology making it so easy. We just take photos anytime. These people don’t have that access.”
Thirty-two-year-old Bryan Alano moved to Los Angeles from Cagayan de Oro when he was 19 and had been involved in photography for about seven years now.
He joined the social photography “Help Portrait.”
Now he takes the group’s concept of photographing the less fortunate back to his home country.
“I really wanted to take this to the Philippines, and over there, there are more people that are less privileged, and this will mean a lot of them,” said Alano. “This will change their life and this will be more meaningful.”
Alano says it’s not just about the scenic photos, but they bring hair and make-up teams, and pamper those in the provinces. His first Philippine shoot was at the southern fishing town of El Salvador.
“It’s way beyond photography,” he added. “It’s a connection. It’s making someone feel more special. That’s the most amazing feeling ever.”
Alano is starting a fundraising project to not only go back to the Philippines and take more pictures, but to take the help portrait one step further by helping his subjects.
“I want to take more photographs of these fishermen, and I want to give back to these guys,” said Alano. “And I want to give them the technology to give them in the United States, which is using fish finders. By using these fish finders, this would help make their livelihood much easier.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for Bryan Alano, he realized that for those who don’t have the luxuries of modern technology to take a selfie, a help portrait can be priceless.