One of the things I love doing as a creative photographer is producing personal projects that get me to stretch and expand my artistry so I can bring that whimsy to the assignments that magazines and businesses hire me to do for them. 

Just like the editorial work I do, I lean into storytelling where I can direct a scene to unfold in front of the stage I’ve set up, controlling lights, placement of people, and scenarios so I can capture genuine emotion out of people I direct. 

One of my ongoing projects is TAYO NA: an editorial magazine spotlighting nearly 30 Austin Filipino artists and makers. 

With my art director, Travis San Pedro, and graphic designer, Lisa Crawford, we were able to tell the story of Austinites who were invited to a Kamaya holiday dinner. On their way to pick up gifts for the gathering, they run into fellow Filipinos whom they knew and didn’t realize were fellow guests at the gathering. We see how they interact with each other, treating each other like family through the photographs I directed and took at various Filipino-owned Austin shops. The build-up of the story leads to seeing the guests gather at Kapatad where they continue to be in the spirit of being kapamilya, passing food and sharing a dinner through a kamayan feast.

Through this project, I was able to photograph Filipino foods you’d normally find at the spread. This included showcasing the staple of my childhood: a scored mango flipped inside out. 

I loved this image so much that I turned it into a die cut sticker and printed it with Sticker Mule. I’ve never made stickers before and it was a surprisingly easy process. Sticker Mule even gave me easy-to-understand proofs before committing and that made me feel incredibly confident ordering through them. And now I have an amazing sticker that promotes my work and reminds me to keep going as my team and I prepare for the second book of TAYO NA to be published in October 2024.

If you’d like to learn more about TAYO NA and how you can be a part of celebrating Austin Filipino Artists and Makers, click the following link: https://austinfilipino.com/

And if you’d like a sticker reach out to Joi@JoiConti.com ;)

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