Manila Camera Style


Roman Pido and Johann Espiritu of Manila Camera Style share the story behind their humble photography project, which features conversations about film and film cameras among analogue photography enthusiasts in the Philippines.

image from

Tell us something about the founders of Manila Camera Style.

Roman: I’m relatively a newbie to photography, having started only in early 2008. Went with the typical tool for starters, an entry-level DSLR (Nikon D40) to be exact. Took a photography class to better understand photography. I then discovered film photography late 2009 when I dug up a old Canon 7 that belonged to my wife’s granddad. I immediately fell in love with it.

It should also be mentioned that Johann (who’s married to my cousin), started me into photography. In fact, he was the teacher in my photography class.

Johann: I have been into photography for over sixteen years. My background before that was painting, which had to take a backseat when I entered law school because the latter took most of my time. To get my “visual art fix”, I picked up a camera, and have been shooting ever since.

So as you guessed, I am a lawyer, licensed to practice in three continents (yup – what a nerd!). I am also involved with the Silverlens gallery as an artist working with darkroom photography. I’ve had two major art shows, and my work has been collected internationally. As Roman mentioned, I am also part of the education programs of the gallery, focusing on creating and appreciating photographs.

Yashica Penta, image from

How and when did Manila Camera Style begin?

R: It was November 2009. Having shifted to film photography, Johann suggested to me a site to frequent because they feature a whole lot of film cameras. We toyed with the idea of starting one here and decided hell, maybe we should. So I went ahead and contacted John Sypal (owner of Tokyo Camera Style) and asked permission to copy the format. Of course he agreed so we did.

The first part of MCS was the same format as Tokyo Camera Style, until we decided to make it more interactive, intimate, allowing the owners to share stories about their film cameras. We’ve preferred this format because it’s a wonder to read the different stories that our readers share.

We’ve maintained this format since.

Ricoh GR1, image from

Where in Manila (or the Philippines) do you usually haunt for film camera enthusiasts?

R: The first place that comes to mind is still Hidalgo in Quiapo, Manila. The fact they the biggest selection of pre-owned film cameras attracts the enthusiasts to frequently window shop there (like me and Johann).

J: I usually just go up to people using film cameras and ask them about it. Lately, it’s been great that most of those I talk to have heard of manilacamerastyle, which makes conversation with a stranger (me, that is) much more comfortable. It’s nice to know people go and read our little project!

Nikon FM, image from

Various film cameras have been featured on your project already, which is the most memorable to date?

R: Wow. That’s a toughie. Personally, and I’m going to go a little selfish here, I’d say my Leica M7 (it’s my first Leica, you see).

J: This is my favorite post by far.

As advocates of film photography, how would Manila Camera Style influence and inspire more Manileños (and Filipinos, in general) to go back and take part in the analogue movement?

R: Personally, I’d make them realize the beauty and art of film photography. I’d argue with anyone that a film photo will trump any printed photo taken with whatever digital camera.

J: Aside from the aesthetic of shooting film, and the intimacy you have with photography when not “chimping” after every shot, it is precisely the length of time and patience that makes it worthwhile.

Think about it – in everything we do today we are in such a hurry: work gets to us instantly via blackberry, we get our news pushed to our mobile phones, and all deadlines are tight and overdue. For something that we enjoy so much (photography), we shouldn’t be in a rush to get it done ASAP. We should savor each photo as we take them, and enjoy the time in between the shot and waiting for us to see the image, then again enjoy the time in between moving from the negative to the final print. Even better, enjoy the long but romantic process that is developing film and printing photos. It’s like extending a triumphant moment from a brief moment into days and weeks. No need to rush through it!

And the best part, finally getting those contact prints – it’s like Christmas morning every time!

Leica, image from

written by basterda on 2011-04-04 in #lifestyle #manila-camera-style #manilacamerastyle-com #interviews #projects #philippines #manila


  1. glenn
    glenn ·


  2. goodtimejordy
    goodtimejordy ·


  3. bongkeebonx
    bongkeebonx ·

    a toast to manila's analog photography movement.

More Interesting Articles

  • Take a Look at the Five Stylish Years of the Diana Mini

    written by shhquiet on 2014-08-18 in #news
    Take a Look at the Five Stylish Years of the Diana Mini

    The Diana Mini is turning five years old this month! Through the years we have seen this sweet and petite 35mm camera transform from a classic analogue beauty to a blinged-out snapshooter and everything else in between. Remember the Love Letters edition? How about the Premier Cru? To refresh your memory here's a gallery of all the Diana Mini styles we've released in the past five years. Which among these limited edition Clones is your favorite?

  • The Rescued Film Project

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-10 in #world #lifestyle
    The Rescued Film Project

    The Rescued Film Project collects, develops and archives undeveloped or unwanted film from all over the world. Recently, the group acquired 31 rolls at an auction in Ohio, which, as it turns out, were from World War 1 and featured some amazing photographic footage of that time. Founder and film technician Levi Bettwieser talks about this exciting project.

  • Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    written by fadjaradiputra on 2014-11-07 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    Adi, Ekeu, and I did a lomowalk around downtown Bandung last Saturday, the beginning of November. We planned to use our Lubitel cameras with only one roll of film each. We were inspired by the One Roll of Film Project by four Tokyo-based photographers with their Hasselblad cameras. This is about the one roll of film I shot with the Lubitel 166U, which made me love shooting in medium format even more.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • 10 Analogue Questions for Photographer Gerrit Starczewski

    written by zonderbar on 2014-07-26 in #lifestyle
    10 Analogue Questions for Photographer Gerrit Starczewski

    Although Gerrit normally shoots digitally as a professional photographer, he has been in love with film photography since childhood and won't go anywhere without his Minolta x300 pocket camera. Find out what he loves about analogue photography, how his cooperation with Meissen ceramics started & which projects will follow his famous work "Dancing Shoes".

  • Pinhole Vienna: Michael Feurstein and his ONDU

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-04-13 in #people #lifestyle
    Pinhole Vienna: Michael Feurstein and his ONDU

    Michael Feurstein is not only a software developer, new media enthusiast and drum/saxophone player — he's also an avid pinholer! The Viennese multitasker started shooting pinhole when he got an ONDU camera for his 30th birthday and has now begun to rediscover his beautiful city through a pinhole photography project. Get to know more about his project and new-found passion for pinhole photography!

  • LomoAmigos Yougofirst Shoot With The LomoKino In Their New Snowboard Movie

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-10-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigos Yougofirst Shoot With The LomoKino In Their New Snowboard Movie

    Are you ready for an adrenaline rush? A little while ago, we teamed up with the snowboard and film-making collective Yougofirst and gave them a LomoKino and some film rolls to play with. After a season of crazy riding, jumps and tricks, they have finished their latest movie HETEROTOPIA which features footage shot with our 35mm movie-maker. We had the chance to catch up with Vid and Matic from the collective about the new movie and their experiences shooting analogue on the slopes. It's also our pleasure to showcase the movie here!

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Wide 300 & 10x Fuji Instax Wide Film

    Fuji Instax Wide 300 & 10x Fuji Instax Wide Film

    With this bundle you are ready to shoot with the Fuji Instax Wide 300 and dig in to the instax world – on top you save 20% on Fuji Wide film!

  • A Conversation with the CEO of Ondu Pinhole Cameras, Elvis Halilović

    written by jacobs on 2015-01-19 in #lifestyle
    A Conversation with the CEO of Ondu Pinhole Cameras, Elvis Halilović

    It was our great pleasure to chat with the CEO of Ondu Pinhole Cameras, Elvis Halilović, about his interest in pinhole photography as well as the formation of his company that produces handcrafted pinhole cameras. We found his answers fascinating and we think you will too. Thanks Elvis for being so generous in sharing your story and cameras with us!

  • The Analogue Quiz: What B&W Film are you?

    written by andie_sollmer on 2014-10-20 in #news
    The Analogue Quiz: What B&W Film are you?

    Did you ever think about the myth that we actually dream in Black & White? No colors, maybe no truth behind it anyways. But we know for a fact that you can create the most dreamy photographs with an analogue camera. And for that you need the right film. Scroll down and find out which B&W film is the film of your dreams!

  • July Events at the Lomography Embassy Store Singapore

    written by lomographysg on 2014-07-07 in #events
    July Events at the Lomography Embassy Store Singapore

    Embrace Analogue to the fullest! This month we bring to you an Instant Photography Walk, DIY Silk Screen / Printing Camera Pouches Making workshop and Travel Film Photography Sharing!

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • March of Film Now Accepting Submissions for 2015

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-10 in #world #news
    March of Film Now Accepting Submissions for 2015

    Shake off the winter blues by loading up your favorite film camera and participating in the annual film photography project, March of Film!

  • The Photography of Picasso on Exhibit in NYC

    written by chooolss on 2014-11-10 in #news
    The Photography of Picasso on Exhibit in NYC

    Celebrated artist Pablo Picasso had his brush with photography when he was still alive, both in front of the camera and behind it. Find out the details of an ongoing exhibit featuring his photographic work after the jump.

  • Top Photo Uploaders of 2014

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-12-27 in #news
    Top Photo Uploaders of 2014

    We'd like to thank everyone for continuously capturing precious moments on photographs and sharing them with all of us. Each of your photographs and albums brought happiness and inspiration to everyone in the community. These lomographers take the spotlight for their ceaseless passion for photography and for their generosity in sharing every step of their analogue adventure. Meet our top photo uploaders of 2014.