Martin San Diego's first camera was a small point-and-shoot that his mother had asked a friend to buy from the US. He took that camera to school—it was 2007, and he was then only a high school sophomore—every day. He finally replaced it with a DSLR in 2010 (in March of that year, he remembers), when he was a college freshman at the De La Salle University.
San Diego loved photography, but he wasn't on track to be a photographer then—he was studying Computer Science at the time, majoring in Network Engineering. But he applied to join the La Salllian as a photographer for the student paper, and got in.
Outside the walls of DLSU, however, the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had thrown the country in turmoil. "Negativity was all over the news but people seem to care very little. I wanted other people to see what's around the streets—the bad things—and to open their eyes through photos to reality," San Diego said in an early blog interview.
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Today, Martin is a freelance documentary photographer, working mostly as a stringer for news outlets. "Raw," is how he describes his photography—to this day, he has hardly taken any formal training—but his photos manage to comfortably straddle gritty reality and art.
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