Photographer of the Week: Atty. Ma. Teresa “Tess” Trinidad

By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

Her family’s regular outings to Luneta Park sparked Atty. Ma. Teresa “Tess” Trinidad’s interest in photography. As a seven-year-old in the ‘70s, she watched the park photographers wandering around the sprawling tourist attraction, taking photos of the sightseers.

Teresa Trinidad 11 Hot Air Balloon Festival Lubao Pampanga - Immersion and Introspection
Hot Air Balloon Festival, Lubao, Pampanga (Teresa Trinidad)

“I was keen on watching how people react to the camera.  Some wore their biggest smile being just too happy to be photographed. Some were bashful or self-conscious, or mortified. Some hammed it up for the camera.” These scenes formed an ambition in her, she says, to be a park photographer when she grows up, “not in any other park, only in Luneta Park,” she says and smiles fondly at the memory.

Teresa Trinidad 08 Festival Binondo Chinese New Year - Immersion and Introspection
Chinese New Year, Binondo
Teresa Trinidad 06 Festival Binondo Chinese New Year - Immersion and Introspection
Chinese New Year Revelers (Teresa Trinidad)

Of course, at that age, she didn’t have the means to buy a camera, so that dream had to be shelved. “In my teens, I would borrow the family instamatic camera, take photos here and there but none of them were good in my opinion.”

Decades later, she decided to give it another go, this time, armed with an entry-level Canon DSLR. The avid learner bought photography books, watched video tutorials, and browsed photography magazines. She also attended a workshop by Paco Guerrero on Photographic Essay, followed by many other learning events with the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation (FPPF) and her membership with the Framed Shots Camera Club.   

The park photographers of her childhood long gone, she now enjoys taking photos of festivals, which she finds exciting.

Teresa Trinidad 04 Dinagyang Festival - Immersion and Introspection
Teresa Trinidad 03 Dinagyang Festival - Immersion and Introspection

“I get to travel and witness colorful and spectacular events. It requires a great deal of stamina, a lot of skill as a photographer, and a ton of patience because you have to be up very early and do a lot of waiting.  It also entails being quick because you don’t want to miss out on anything!” she explains. “I am my happiest when I take photos.  I hope my eagerness comes through in my photographs.”

Fortunately, another photography dream came true recently, as she was able to travel to India two years ago and take photos of the Taj Mahal.

Teresa Trinidad 22 Travel Teresa Trinidad 23 Taj Mahal Agra - Immersion and Introspection
Teresa Trinidad 23 Travel Taj Mahal Agra - Immersion and Introspection
Taj Mahal (Teresa Trinidad)

When Tess is not busy with her legal practice where she takes on intellectual property, corporate law, commercial law, taxation, and family law as a partner at the Mutia & Trinidad Law Offices, she nurtures her creative side by joining photography competitions and exhibits.

Teresa Trinidad 09 Festival Cutod Holy Week - Immersion and Introspection
Cutod Holy Week
Teresa Trinidad 25 Travel Magellan s Cross Cebu - Immersion and Introspection
Magellan’s Cross, Cebu

Her vision is to immerse her audience in the scenery and the moment.  “My aspiration every time I take a picture is to take the viewers to the location where I was at and make them what I felt when I photographed the subject, as if they walked into the photo. In my opinion, the best thing about being a photographer is to be able to see the environment around you uniquely and tell a story creatively.”

Teresa Trinidad 15 Street Aeta Community San Fernando Pampanga - Immersion and Introspection
Aeta Community, San Fernando, Pampanga
Teresa Trinidad 24 Travel Train Station Agra - Immersion and Introspection
Train Station, Agra, India

For her, photography is something you immerse in. “Your subject, may it be nature or with people or a situation, in the process you note details you never gave much importance to before. It allows space for introspection making you see things differently and communicate profoundly through your work.”

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