Photojournalist Jose Enrique Soriano mounts his first exhibit in four years with Visage: Portraits of Filipinos Facing Climate Change on August 3, 2 p.m., at the Senate Hallway of the Philippine Senate. The elusive photographer was sought out by climate policy think tank Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) to capture images of people directly affected by climate change.
 For a period of eight months, Soriano visited key areas in Surigao and Southern Leyte to interact with communities whose livelihood and ways of life are threatened by severe flooding, drought and changing rainfall patterns that are altering crop seasons. 
“Climate change is not just about extreme typhoons or slow onset impacts such as rising sea levels and increasing temperatures,” said iCSC Executive Director Red Constantino. “Climate change is about people. It’s about vulnerable Filipinos living on the frontline of a worsening crisis,” Constantino said. 
“Getting Jose Enrique Soriano to document the human face of climate change is central to the exhibit. Few can match the visual rigor that Soriano commands, which is fundamental to creating portraits that speak to the viewer,” Constantino said. 
The iCSC is staging the exhibit with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the lead author of the People’s Survival Fund bill, which seeks to establish long-term climate adaptation financing for local government units and communities. Sen. Loren Legarda is a co-organizer of the event.
 The Visage images were taken with Hasselblad medium format cameras using Fujifilm NPH400 color film. These Chromogenic prints were scanned and custom-printed at the YKL Colorlab. 
Soriano is mostly known for his portraiture and documentary work. His last exhibit, Tabaco, was mounted in 2007 in SilverLens Gallery. It was the result of nearly five years of travelling to and fro the Ilocos region to document the dying craft of hand-rolled tobacco and the women involved in it. Before that, he exhibited Episodes, which documented the lives of the mentally-ill in the National Center for Mental Health, a body of work that took him nearly a decade to complete. In between, he mounted Five Photographers, the result of a curatorial grant from SilverLens to put together works of five of the most influential photojournalists in the ’50s and ‘60s—Mario Co, Joe Gabor, Silverio Enriquez, Ed Santiago, and Romy Vitug. 
Soriano’s photographs have appeared in Life magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Ms., Self, Observer (London), Daily Express (London), Sunday Times (London), Elle (Singapore), Cleo (Singapore), 8 Days (Singapore), Her World (Singapore), and various newspapers and magazines in the Philippines where he worked before leaving for Singapore in 1994, and where he worked for the Singapore Straits Times for 10 years. His next tour was in 2008 in the UAE, where he was photo editor of Khaleej Times. He returned to Manila in 2010.
 ”Disaster images tend to translate climate change into shock-and-awe cliché, which ultimately creates more distance between the viewer and the photograph. Soriano, however, steers clear of noise and bling and pulls his audience towards an authenticity unique to his craft,” Constantino said. 
Visage: Portraits of Filipinos Facing Climate Change will run from August 3 to August 12. Opening reception will be on August 3 at 2:00 PM at the entrance to the Senate Plenary Hall on the second floor of the Senate, GSIS Building, Financial Center, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. 
For inquiries about the Visage photos, please write to  


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s