In May 2019, while giving a lecture about photography at the Leica store in Manila, Monty Papa shared a slideshow of thought-provoking images. They were shot on the busy streets of Hong Kong and captured the pulsating city life sans the color.
A stockbroker by profession, Papa has always had a passion for images but never really pursued it. Three years ago, however, thirty years after giving up photography as a teenage hobby, he found himself captivated by the bustling streets of Hong Kong and decided to dip his toes in photography again. It turned out to be a brilliant decision.
Papa has returned with another collection of just-as-gritty images for his first-ever solo exhibit. This time, they put the spotlight on the solitary moments experienced by a lone wanderer. The series, titled, "Majesty in Solitude" was revealed last October 10, 2019, at Leica Store Greenbelt 5. Below is the description written by his brother-in-law, Ramon Eugenio, that captures the essence of Papa's work:
"Monty Papa is a Manila-based stockbroker by profession, with a keen interest in long-distance running, and street photography. Papa has run several marathons, and in these runs, his eye catches bursts of cacophonous scenes unfolding before him. He is fortunate to see it from a unique perspective, a blur nonetheless. His mind wanders and is filled with possible images. They pique his interest. In the middle of a run, his mind races too, and his perspective, formed. And yet, he cannot stop.
When he does decide to stop, he is forever running to catch the light. It doesn’t matter if that light is best at 12 midnight or high noon. It’s a journey. Papa will take as much time as needed, as opposed to the shortest time a race demands.
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'I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.' - Trent Parke
A moment is as long as it takes. Knowing when, is a gift. “Majesty in Solitude” are some of Monty Papa’s images as a wanderer. They depict minimalist, abstract, geometric, high contrast scenes of urban life depicting solitary individuals navigating a frame whilst lost in a moment of solitude.
Here, he offers 20 images taken at all hours from the metropolitan cities of Tokyo and Hong Kong, two of his favorite cities to run in. "My images attempt to capture the feeling of isolation as solitary figures make their way [through] these metropolitan cities. Using a minimalist approach of light, shadow, and pattern, I endeavor to provide the viewer with a sense of calm or quiet contemplation."
In the end, we feel like we have run the race with him."