Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Asunta Rufino’s exhibit: Life through her photos By Miro Frances D. Capili

MANILA, Philippines—Asunta Rufino is among the remarkable few who refuse to be summarized by a single noun. As evidenced in her blog, aptly titled Asunta Rufino’s Travels Thru Life…, she is a photographer, foodie and traveler all at once. Being an admirer of the works of Sanso, BenCab, Bobby Wong Jr, Rosscapili, Adre Berger and Ansel Adams, behind each of her photographs is a story of how she perceives the life blowing through this world; and behind that, her own love for it.

Rufino herself claims to have, in her website banner, an artistic vision that promises to engage life on every accessible level: “I collect memories with my camera, trying to capture all the bits and pieces of my life that makes it so rich and full. I want to preserve these emotions and thoughts and all the stages as I go through life... The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality and eventually in their own...”

Despite Alba e’ Tramonto being her very first solo photographic exhibition, Rufino confirms through her artistic sensibilities that she is well on her way to revamping the climate of today’s local art scene. Her recurrent subjects – which include the “beauty of the world, the quiet, magical moments of nature” – hint at an austerity about the dent she is already making as an artist.

Inspired by artistic greats such as Nakpil, HR Ocampo, Legaspi, Amorsolo, Manansala and Tabuena; and having learned from Chinese painting masters Hau Chiok and Sy Chiu Hua in the 1980s, she attempts to render, through very detailed and realistic paintings, “the delicate nuances of each flower's petal, the folds of each bird's feather, the way the light cascaded on each leaf.”

It is also of interest to note, however, that she confesses to approaching photography differently. “I wish to create photographs that border between something real and imagined. Notice how each place doesn't necessarily show its exact location in the world. They are not postcards. These are portraits of places – all shot at sunrise and sunset, the magical hours between day and night, between slumber and reality. The places flutter between reality and dreams,” she said.

Here is an artist who chooses to see the world not only from behind the lens of a camera, where she can protect herself from its magnanimity, but also by feeling its roughness and tremors beneath her feet. “But of course, they are all real. I was there, face to face with their beauty…While I had to shut myself from the world for almost half a year for every painting, nowadays I have had to go out, trek the mountains, ride the waves, get sunburned and even get a broken ankle just for my photography,” she says. And because she seems to have equipped herself well with the virtue of steadfastness in sustaining an admirable artistic vision, we are only left to wonder if the world itself is even prepared for the contributions she is out to make.

Alba e’ Tramonto will be held Oct. 15-31 at Gallerie OneWorkshop at LRI Design Plaza, Nicanor Garcia St., Bel Air II, Makati City.

On the Wings of Artistic Freedom By Yugel Losorata

For someone who is into painting, having an affair with travel photography gives her a kind of freedom so distinct from what she has experienced.  Asunta Rufino, a well-traveled painter who discovered photography only three years ago, realizes that she has found something not just to add years to her life but more importantly, life to her years.
In a chat with Picture Perfect, she happily shared, “Photography has encouraged me to spread my wings, not only in terms of artistic freedom, but in terms of living my life.  While I had to shut myself from the world for almost half a year for every painting, nowadays I have to go out, trek the mountains, ride the waves, get sunburned and even get a broken ankle just for my photography.”

asunta-rufinoThis grandmother of four has been going around the world to put to work her passion for photography which has already produced good pictures of flowers, food, and landscapes. Shooting during sunset or sunrise has developed into a routine that she is going to have an exhibit this month called “Alba e’ Tramonto” or “Sunrise and Sunset.”
To run from October 15 to 30, Asunta’s first solo show in photography will be held at the Galerie OneWorkshop (324 LRI Design Plaza, Nicanor Garcia St. and Bel Air, Makati City). She will be presenting her photographs of sunrises and sunsets which she collected from her travels to Batanes, Banawe, Subic, Tagaytay, Boracay, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Chang Mai, Luang Prabang, and Bangkok.

She shared in deep thought, “The pursuit and the creation of beauty are ingrained in me.  My photographs are more like paintings in the sense that I choose to create photographs that border between the real and the imagined.”

In the ‘80s Asunta studied Chinese painting under Master Hau Chiok and Sy Chiu Hua.  This kind of very detailed medium requires such precise, strict, and meticulous work which took her around three to six months to finish a painting. The fast-paced nature of digital photography serves as a good counterflow to her discipline as a painter.


She recalled that her first camera was a simple point-and-shoot Fuji Finepix. At present, she is into Canon equipment (550D) where she considers it as “user-friendly.”

A frequent traveler, Asunta is set to fly to far places like Cairo, Petra, and Jordan for more shots of the sun – rising or setting. Just before the year ends, she is going to Chang Mai to take photos of the sunrise from a hot air balloon and of the sunset on a microlight plane. Next year, she’s headed to Tibet, Machu Pichu, and the Galapagos Islands.

“A good photograph,” according to this reserved yet quick-witted lenswoman, “is when you have captured a scene at the right moment and time to show it in all its glorious splendor and beauty.” She has always been enchanted with images of sunrises and sunsets, as well as full moons, or the so-called harvest moons that are big, yellow, and beautiful. She thinks of those crucial moments of the sun saying hello or goodbye as “the magical hours between day and night, slumber and reality.”

Proof of Asunta’s devotion to photography can be proven with how she has often gone the extra mile just to satisfy her craving. A few months ago, she tripped, fell, and fractured her foot.  She was asked by her doctor to rest, only to realize she couldn’t take it anymore and would want to have her camera back in action. She ended up walking with a cane and a boot in the mountainous province, with her camera of course.


“There’s always something new to learn about photography, and always something new to shoot,” she disclosed. “I will never tire of it. Being able to go to these places and having the chance to shoot these subjects, especially at the right moment and time, give me a certain thrill and feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment only photography can give.”

She concluded, “I realized that I should definitely take risks for photography, even if sometimes at the expense of my own comfort and safety. My love and passion for the craft have no bounds.”