It’s been a week since our graduation from The Remix Project. And I guess this is just the perfect time to look back on this amazing experience I had, this awesome 6-7 month journey with The Remix Project.
As I said with my previous post – How It All Started, this all started back when my brother recommended me to go to AYCE (Alternative Youth Centre for Employment) for a possibility that I might be able to figure out what I want and need to do, how to look for the work that I want, or if I should go back to school. True enough, in that very day, I was given these papers to fill out, to submit in just a few days before the deadline. At that moment, I didn’t have any idea that this very thing was the exact same thing that’s going to change my life: learn more about myself, what I can do, get to know other people who are also in the same situation as I am.
On my interview day, I guess it was the longest trip I had for a long time, and not because the place is really far from our house. To be honest, I always get nervous whenever it comes to doing interviews, not having any idea what questions will be asked, if I am good enough for the spot. I even remember what I was wearing that day: a long sleeved polo, khaki pants, leather shoes. Clothes that I don’t usually wear, but thought of wearing since it’s an interview and I want to look as presentable as possible. Once I entered the building, the girl who called me (I forgot her name, I’m sorry.) came minutes later, talked to me for a while. I even remember her saying “Don’t worry about it too much, I’m sure you’ll do well.”
During my waiting time, I was trying to think of the possible questions to be asked, how I will answer them, and all those. And at that moment, I also realized, even if I went through the website, I still don’t know exactly how all of this will work. I still didn’t have that much idea about this program, which just made me more nervous.
Around 20-30 minutes (I think?) later, I was called, and I thought the interview was on the same room. So I was asked to go upstairs to the other room. And there sat the two people who interviewed me. The first thing that entered my mind was “Okay, so I’m really here now. I can do this.” But, my attention kind of shifted for a while to the guy because his hair was really awesome. But other than that, other thing that bothered me that day was the eye problem I had. For the first few minutes of the interview, I think I did pretty well. And later on, when they were explaining what the program is about, what we will do, and all those stuff, I looked like I was crying because of the problem I had with my left eye. So they told me to go wash up first. When I got back, my eye still hurt a bit, and I saw them going through my Tumblr page. The one thing that I remember from that moment was when they saw this photo I took, and I was labeled as Bruno Mars:
This is just one of the photos they saw from my page that day. So they told me that I will get a call whether I get in or not, and the program will start around September.
From the time I got that call from Jalani Morgan, I never had any idea that this was the very thing that will help me get out there, do what I want to do, be who I really am, the very thing that will change my life.
Then there came the orientation day, when we introduced ourselves, and we were introduced to the staff. Then we were grouped according to our programs, and we got to know more about the people we will see and get to work with in the future. Some of the topics that I remember we talked about other than photography was I think favorite music (?) and I even mentioned me going to the Maroon 5 and Train concert. Other than that, we were also asked what kind of photography we wanted to do, where I ended up doing both sports and food photography.
We had a one on one session where we will talk more about our goals for the program, what we want to achieve by the end of the program. What actually really challenged me is not knowing where to go to get these photos and how I will be able to take these photos properly (not having experience in the exact field).
Having to do a lot of research, I just played with my camera for the first opportunities that came my way – shooting sports photography for The University of Toronto and Centennial College. At some point, I decided that maybe I could do some food photography too so I’ll have choices. My first shoot was with McEwan Foods, and I tried to apply what I researched when it comes to food photography. As more and more opportunities came, my shots and editing got better, with the help of the people I got to work with doing food photography, asking opinion from my mentors and friends about my shots.
All throughout my journey, I was able to build my network, get more opportunities, make new friends. And just last week, April 4, 2012, was The Remix Project Batch 8 Graduation.
It’s one of those moments when you enter and you’ll tell yourself “I’m really here. I made it. Hardwork really pays off.”
In the far end of the corner is where the photography works are displayed:
It was actually an amazing night, seeing all these artists get recognized for their success, and for the start of the real journey. And seeing all the other people I haven’t seen a long time.
At almost 7:30pm the program started, and participants from this batch are called one by one to be recognized by everyone and to give them the certificates and rewards.
There were also performances that night. On the left is June Ballentyne, and on the right is Marie Coyles. Should’ve taken more pictures.
Later that night, I was called up on stage and it was my turn to be recognized and get my certificate. Handing me the certificates are the two people who have been the best photography mentors since day 1. From day one, they helped me figure out what I really wanted to do. They helped me explore out there, gave me confidence I needed. But, aside from being just our mentors, they became great friends too. Whenever there’s a chance, they’ll talk to you about anything and doesn’t really need to be related to photography.
I was called back up to the stage again and with another friend of mine. We didn’t have any idea what was up, but there we see Jalani and Ruthie up there smiling at us. From the stage I couldn’t really see anyone in front of us because the light was going straight to us. And, at the same moment (also when I was called for my certificate) nothing was going in my mind. Goes in one ear, out the other. According to my brother, it was the next in line effect. Good thing my brother was to record the video, and you can watch it here. Anyway, at that moment, we were given 1 full year scholarship for Humber College.
This photo was taken after I got the scholarship for Humber College. I’m not facing the camera, but this is one moment I will never forget. I had to thank both my mentors for helping me with all of this, and just to see how happy they are, I can say that I’ve done what I needed to do and I didn’t fail them.
The program finished, but I had to go around and thank everyone who has been a big part of this adventure, who has been there all the time, helped me grow and be who I am now. Of course, I have to thank The Remix Project team for making all of this possible. But most of all, I have to thank these two mentors who have been the reason why each of us is out there doing what we’re good at and making a change. I have to hand it to them, they’re awesome!!
Here’s to an amazing adventure I had with these people. Hoping to have more adventures in the future, and I will always be proud of what I’ve done, and thankful, happy and proud for being part of this amazing adventure. Thank you, The Remix Project. Like what my brother said, this is just the start. Let’s go!!
Never be ashamed of showing people how good you are, because one day, it’s the very thing that will make you go out there and be who you really are. It’s the very thing that will make people look up to you. Always work hard for what you’re passionate about, where your heart takes you, and one day you’ll reach the top of the mountain.. With no regrets.