Master Basketweaver Sulimbay of the Ata Manobo

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This beautifully dignified old lady is Sulimbay, a master basketweaver of the Ata Manobo people from Talaingod. Cathy and I had the privilege of taking her photos, along with other masters of Manobo traditions, from Talaingod and Tiguahan, in yet another NCCA-sponsored cultural revival event implemented by the Epanaw Center. Spending an entire weekend witnessing the craftsmanship of these people in action, their diligence and stamina in creating such detailed, back-straining work – they were weaving from morning to near-sundown, with only short breaks for lunch and snacks – really took our appreciation of these Manobos to another level. I hope more Filipinos become more aware of the achievements and legacy of individuals like these. They are certainly more interesting to me and Cathy than any manufactured television celebrity.

By the way, this was shot in monochrome using my 7D. Ever so often I like shooting in mono in-cam, rather than converting a photo to mono afterwards, to hone the eye for black and white. I use the camera’s built-in color filters in the Monochrome Picture Style options, with an eye toward what hues I want to map to dark or light tones in the shot. For this portrait of Sulimbay, I wanted her vividly red clothing to go a bit dark, to push attention more toward her face; so instead of shooting with the Red filter setting, I shot this using the Yellow filter setting.

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