How would you react if you’re walking in the streets and you see somebody selling his pictures in the walkway? This might be something familiar when walking in some western countries but quite unusual when in the Philippines.
Tendo Kato was surprised himself getting this much of attention after Don Marc, wedding and events photographer, posted his encounter with Tendo selling his pictures in the streets. “Your price”, he would say if you want to buy one of his pictures. The post went viral and as of this writing, it had 36k likes and 9k shares.
I have to see this guy and ask the burning question many of us would like to ask, why was he selling his pictures and what’s his story? Fortunately, Don arranged a meeting with Tendo for an afternoon chat and invited me to come along.
Tendo is Japanese quite obviously and is here for english lessons. He came sometime April and recently, he just finished his lessons. He is also currently taking up Physical Science in Chukyo University in Japan. He’s a down to earth simple backpacker type of a guy and plans to go to Palawan a few days from now. After that, he plans to go to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
With that said, he looks like he doesn’t need the money so I have to ask why he was selling his pictures in the streets. He said that one time, when he was in Indonesia, he saw this western girl selling her pictures in the street. He said to himself that one day I’ll have enough good photos, I’ll do the same.
It was his first time to sell his pictures in the street. Similar to what he saw, he uses a scarf as base for his display. He has no idea that in the Philippines, nobody sells their pictures in the streets. He just wants to share his photos taken from his previous travels. He said that you can actually buy his photograph for five pesos each. That’s the cost he paid to have it printed.
He told me the story when he displayed his pictures near SM City, some of the street children even bought two of his pictures for ten pesos each. Most of the time when he is in Ayala, he moves around because the guards always asks him to leave. I asked how much he gets in a day, he said that on an average, about 15 pictures. Some pay ten pesos and some pay as much as 50 pesos.
If you’re all wondering what camera system he is using, he is a Canon guy. Why Canon, he said that 2 years ago he was inspired by his friend’s photos that he had to buy his own camera. He went to the camera store and asked for the best cheapest camera and the attendant offered him a Canon 550d.
You probably thought that there was more to the Canon story, well there’s none. He has two lenses, 8-16mm and 50mm. He said he never had any formal training, only some youtube tutorials. He loves landscape photography and spends a lot of time researching different destination and photos taken on that place. Believe it or not, he edits his photos using his cellphone.
Sometimes, it’s not about your gear or your workflow, it’s what you see and how you want to share it to the world. Keep on shooting everyone!
Text by Albert Pedrosa