Awarded photographer Raymund Isaac, who marks his 25th year in the industry, has significantly contributed to the local fashion and advertising scene. Currently the president and resident photographer of Portfolio Photography & Studio Inc., he recently spoke at the SoFA Speaks lecture series, "From Idea to Icon: How to succeed as an artist in business." Raymund talked about his own creative process and how he has managed to last this long in the business.
In the second part of Female Network's SoFA series, Raymund Isaac gives us his rules about how to not just break into the business, but how to make it in your chosen field.
1. NEVER FORGET THE BASICS
Raymund notes that you don't become a photographer just because you have a camera. "Maybe you can be a hobbyist. There's a big difference--there is discipline in art. You just don't take up the tool and call yourself an artist... Once you forget the basics and where you came from, you forget about where you're going."
2. BE HONEST ABOUT THE BUSINESS AND ABOUT YOUR ART
Raymund says that a lot of his photographs are "a contribution of all other people involved (makeup artist, model, stylist.) You can never claim anything as your sole work. One problem with Filipinos in general is that we are egotistical in nature; we love to credit ourselves."
3. BEAUTY IS RELATIVE
"Never force your principles on any other people who don't agree with you. Eventually, you'll learn that different points of view actually help you. Never close your door or your mind on somebody else's point of view. They are contributions to your evolution as an artist."
4. GET INSPIRATION FROM THE MASTERS
"I will never tell you, 'I'm such a genius, I did this.' I get inspiration from the masters. The masters will teach you the basic principles and disciplines of art. From there, you will learn how to sell yourself. There is no such thing as an original idea, there are only innovations of original ideas."
5. ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE
Accept the inevitable. Sex always sells. "Sex is [neither good nor bad]. Sex is a point of view. You need to deal with basic emotions and instincts of people. Sex is a basic instinct in humans [both on an emotional or physical level]. Then again, the difference between pornography and art is a point of view--just be honest about that point of view."
6. WHATEVER THEY THINK, THINK THE OPPOSITE
"If everyone looks the same, you won't stand out. You won't get attention. If everybody thinks the same way, then we're a clone of everybody else. If you're thinking, 'Hey, I wanna be like Raymund Isaac,' why do you want to be like Raymund Isaac? Be somebody else. It will give you more edge. Learn from me, steal the ideas from me, then be somebody else."
7. RETURN YOUR BLESSINGS WHENEVER YOU CAN
"The talent that's given to you is only a gift. It's borrowed. Whenever you can return the blessing, please do so. In business, most of us who've established ourselves do this by doing charity work for people who are in need."
8. READ A LOT
"Where do I get my inspiration? I read a lot. I have five books in my room, three in my toilet, and I go through one chapter per book. At the end of the day, after each shoot, I actually watch more movies--be it art films, comedy, or even stupid movies--and I get inspired. I even go to the point of watching obscure films that give me visual inspiration."
9. NEVER LOSE THE CHILD IN YOU
"Some people pretend that, when they're already established, they're supposed to act older. That's not true. Never lose that child-like quality, because that's where you get ideas--from not being jaded about life."
10. KNOW YOUR BUYING PUBLIC
"When you think about it, [a lot of people and artists] are gay. Most of the money we have is called a pink peso--their disposable income. Cater to these people--they have money to spend. You want to be a businessman? Think out of the box, cater to these people who will actually appreciate your work."
11. USE THE POWER FOR GOOD
"I've lasted this long without stepping on other people's toes. Be good to the people you deal with and the people who deal with you. They are the people you need as you go up the ladder of either success or artistry."
12. AN OPEN MIND WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR BEST ASSET
"Do not keep yourself in a box. Knowledge, you gather. Wisdom, you earn. Don't be afraid to ask or make mistakes. Ang mga Pinoy, takot magkamali. Every time you go through life, you gather as much knowlege as you can absorb. And when the time comes when you need them, that's when the knowledge is actually earned."
Read about other successful entrepreneurs in Female Network's SoFa series:
(Photos courtesy of Raymund Isaac at raymundisaac.com)