Edwin Datoc: “Photography will no longer be an individual point of view, but a team of 7 -10 people passing on files and give their own version of the image”.

30 set, 2012

I was born in the Philippines. My family migrated to Australia when I was 11 years old. I was a natural musician, self taught in guitar, piano, drums, and was lead singer in my band. I play a lot blues guitar, jazz, funk and adore cuban music as well.

When you’re a filipino your uncles and aunties become your mentors, and you end up becoming a lawyer, doctor, accountant. You get a degree and have a respectable career.

Well, I was an accountant for 8 years then I said enough is enough, and grew tired of it. My life was stable and comfortable but I was also bored. I needed to make a change. I figured you only get one crack in life, so you might as well have some fun.

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I’ve always been fascinated with the traditional process of photography, the darkroom. I did a brief “black & white” printing course at the Australian Center for Photography in Sydney. I remember getting so confused and nothing was making sense.

But I guess I just loved this whole thing about printing your pictures and that made me want to take more pictures. While still keeping my day job, I shot mainly street stuff on weekends, shooting TrI-X film, which I use to buy in bulk and rolled my own canisters, developed the film then print in the darkroom.

A model had stuck a note in the ACP noticeboard for student photographers who would be interested to take her photo, so I grabbed this opportunity, and discovered I had a eye . Then I started shooting model tests and gradually build my portfolio for a year before I was good enough to get paid. I find inspiration in everything but I guess mainly from movies, music, and travel. I define my style to be somewhat cinematic.

The digital era producing terrible photographers

I think the digital era is producing more and more terrible photographers. The essence of the photograph is no longer in the shot but in the retouching process, and that’s where you cannot create emotion and timeless feeling. There are photographers now who have never shot with film and they are so into the newest gear. And some even swear that if they get the newest camera that they will take better photos. That just mean they don’t really know what a good photography is all about. Its never about the camera! But your  camera salesman will insist that its the camera.

Worldwide economic crisis on fashion photography?

Budgets are continuing to drop and more cancellations happening .But I believe there is still room for excellent work. But we are living in the age of  instant noodles, where most clients value speed than quality. But the fact is that you cannot rush art. To be a photographer now , you need to also develop  skills in moving picture, or you will be buried in the competition.

The “Art” in photography is melting, and becoming more high tech and eventually images will become more artificial. In the future photography will just be about pressing a button, then repairing the image. Photography will no longer be an individual point of view, but a team of 7 -10 people passing on files and  give their own version of the image.

The special moments: working with the models

I’m currently working on short film projects as director and writer, and using my photography to create mood in the shot. Most of the models I worked with get inspired when they see my cinematic style image of them, and start to take up acting classes after my shoot. One particular model I liked to work with was Alejandro Salgueiro with Q in New York, who resembles a young DeNiro, and we made a funny short film called “The Italian American (2011)”

And also Jonathan Drew Taylor for his natural aura on screen and who I’ve worked with on several film projects

And Leticia Jane Bishop a model I recently discovered last summer in Sydney. She resembles a young Kim Basinger, Lara Stone look. In within a couple of months Leticia has shot major campaigns in Asia and editorials. She is now listed on “The One to Watch” . She is currently in New York and will be signing with a top NY agency.

The days when I shot with film, was when photography felt special every time you pressed the button. It was when something grabbed your eye, feel something , then you look at it again before you took the photo. I only feel like taking pictures when the light is right for me. Like stormy rainy days outside and during the night in New York. With Digital you are more able to take more photos and take more chances but only one shot makes the cut.

Once in while I see a girl who I shot their first pictures and they’re now on a billboard and editorials. Even if they don’t remember you anymore, I still feel good to be part of their journey.

The funny backstages´moments

It’s always interesting shooting on location in New York. Like one time when I was shooting in Grand Central Station, and a police wanted to throw us out and was already in the middle of writing me a ticket for not having a permit to shoot there. So I just quickly said that I would set him up a date with the model, and take a photo with her. Until now I still have that photo and brings back smiles to my face. The police still calls me once in a while on his day off and ask where I will be shooting next and when and where are the fashion parties, I don’t really go to parties.

Top 5 cool fav places for a shooting and why

1. New York: It has cinematic perspective, and the public tolerates location shoots.
2. Paris: Shooting in Paris feels more like painting a picture, I love the great french photographers like Robert Doiseau, Jean Loup Sieff, Henri Cartier -Besson.
3. Budapest: For its dramatic war damaged buildings and art and overall dramatic vibrance especially during the winter.
4. Sydney: In the summer, the sunrise on Bondi Beach is so amazing, and people are sexy.
5. Havana Cuba: I promised to come back to this place after my first trip here in 2003, Its a photographer’s paradise!


Yes, a good picture is worth a thousand words but a great picture is worth a million words.
We should all aim more for more greatness.

The Projects and the most special moment in his photographer´s career

I’m currently working on several projects from films, fashion and publishing a book dedicated to one model who I’ve been photographing lately. It will combine fashion and sentimental pictures and some travel images.

The most special moment but also quite daring, was just having $300 left in my pocket and threw away my return ticket back to Sydney and decided to stay in New York. That was 15 years ago. I’ve been moving around the globe every three months. I find change is always good. You should try to have special moments everyday.


” Life is not meant to be easy, it should be INTERESTING!

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