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Gerard Garcia is the 2016 Muziklaban Photographer of the year. Halfway into the year, we’re here to find out what his experiences are shooting musicians in a new light and to share with us his thoughts about shooting Muziklaban.

What's your most memorable experience shooting Muziklaban so far?

Tirso Ripoll looking down at me with his face about a few inches away from my lens. I took the shot. It wasn’t razor sharp, but I uploaded it anyway. Razorback was the first band that I took pictures of with my very first camera. I was in Singapore then. I was walking along Esplanade and I heard their song playing. I thought it was a cover band. I was in awe when I realized it was actually Razorback.

What did you feel like when you found out you won Rock Photographer of The Year?

I really did not expect it because there were many really good entries. I thought I was being Punk’d. I thought it was part of the test. Haha. So I went to the “interview” and I kept getting these barrage of really serious questions from judges Kelley, Patrick and Niña, and when Niña announced that I won, I honestly did not believe it at first, until they went up to me, showed me the trophy and shook my hands to congratulate me. It was surreal.

It’s been half a year since but what do you think has changed with your style of photography, if any?

I haven’t really noticed it, but some photographers say that my photos now are more intense. Now that I’ve thought about it, I think I now look for the ferocity and emotion from these rock stars when they perform on stage and try to capture that in pictures. I guess it has something to do with the tips and advice I got from Niña.

Have you had any crazy / memorable experiences so far?

I was kicked in the forehead! It was Greyhoundz’s anniversary gig and the crowd was going crazy when Greyhoundz started playing. I climbed on the steel barricades of the pit and focused on the rowdy crowd as I was looking through the viewfinder of my camera. So, with one eye closed and the other looking through the lens, I did not see this one fan that was crowd surfing and was coming really fast to my direction. I was hit hard in the face, that his shoes’ outsole might have left a mark on my forehead

What is the most challenging aspect of being a music photographer?

The most challenging part of being a music photographer is to capture and relay not just a story, but THE story; to take pictures not just of the person performing, but everything in it: the moment, the emotion, the heat, the sweat. It is the photographer’s mission to freeze time and to make the viewers of his pictures feel how he felt at that same moment the pictures were taken.

Who is your favorite subject at the moment?

I have a lot of favorite subjects right now: Reg Rubio, Louis Isok, Eco Del Rio, EO Marcos, Tirso Ripoll, Johnny Riot , TJ Brillantes and of course Monty Macalino of Mayonnaise. It was Monty who helped me start with music photography. They took me under their wing and I would aways be thankful for that. If not for Mayonnaise, I would not be able to shoot pictures and win this award.

I love shooting Mayonnaise's set because they have that unique ability to really hype up the crowd, whatever type of event they play in.

What advice can you give to other aspiring photographers?

Just continue shooting. Practice and more practice. And when you think you're already good at it, practice some more. The more pictures you take, the better you become at it. Choose a style and work from that. And when you get in to the pit or into a gig, talk to photographers, ask for tips. Learn from their photos, see what you like from them and try to incorporate that with your style. Get your photos out there as well. You have the social media to get the word out about your work and use them to your advantage.

Check out Gee Garcia’s other works at Facebook and Instagram

By Niña Sandejas
Niña Sandejas is an award-winning music photographer whose work has appeared here and abroad. She was included in Preview magazine's 2011 Creative It List and was named in early 2012 as one of 14 Women Who Rock by Rogue magazine . Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @rosarioko.