The tailspin of routinely traveling through heat, smog, and the crush on the street for hours on end is to be a part of the terrible pilgrimage and hustle that takes place every day here. Whether you live in the gated communities of Forbes Park or the hives of tin shanties in Tondo, inescapable traffic is the great equalizer and panopticon that dictates daily life.
Working with a fisheye lens that naturally creates a circular, black border, I was required to be extremely close in proximity to any subjects that I photographed with the resulting visual effect being knowingly exaggerated, elliptical, and caught between a moment of recognition / empathy and abjection / alienation.
Through repetition and circular imagery, this series acts as a rosary in the ecstatic and frantic search for a way out of purgatory.
While also describing a traffic term and a certain look, the title ‘BOTTLENECK’ is meant to sound derogatory like the term Zipperhead or Dogeater, dated but disparaging terms for Asians and Filipinos in America. In addition to reporting the news, I wanted to create a hyperbolic series that questions its own enterprise of representing the developing world/the Philippines.
- The Guardian
"Go Inside Manila’s Traffic Nightmare"
- The Bronx Documentary Center