Wednesday, 05 June 2013 05:58

Behind the Curtain's Shadows

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    Niña Sandejas

    Apartment 1B, Ground Floor One Rockwell East Tower, Rockwell Drive, Makati

    May 1- July 31, 2013.

    For a year and a half, music photojournalist Niña Sandejas extensively followed bands like Queso, Greyhoundz, Wilabaliw, Slapshock, Razorback and Kjwan, whose continued success is further enhanced by something people don’t normally get to see – fan support and loyalty. “Intense fan reactions cannot relegate this scene into being called the “underground”, as it is far too massive to go unnoticed,” Sandejas adds, Yet they cannot be regarded as mainstream, if the definition of ‘mainstream’ means constant corporate support and attention from traditional media which this ‘other side of rock’ hadn’t needed otherwise.

    The exhibit called Behind the Curtain’s Shadows, consists of 45 photographs displayed on large LED screens in Apartment 1B in Rockwell. Sandejas, aimed to capture the musicians and the their fans to create a visual story of loyalty through the love for music.

    The title of the exhibit is a reference to the Greyhoundz song “Stage.” The idea of using the line came up when Sandejas was shooting a gig and heard the song, “Aim your spotlights at me as I walk up your stage,” the lyric went. And, “behind my curtain’s shadows I’ll hide my fears, behind my shadow’s curtain’s I’ll hide my tears.” Sandejas further explains, “Then it dawned on me that as much as huge spotlights contributes to what we know of Pinoy Rock, it seems to have missed this particular sea of fans who create just as much of the scene's energy as the bands do."

    Sandejas has worked with more known, mainstream or “relatable” bands in the past and by experience she knows that who is more popular defines Pinoy rock, “What people normally see is what defines their perception of what rock is, but it’s not as one-sided as that.” Sandejas has seen the “other side of rock” which she showcases in this exhibit. She claims that it is just as popular if not more powerful based on the images she has captured and concludes that it lacks the attention it deserves. “We all belong in an ecosystem. Every facet of the music industry needs to be acknowledged as part of the Filipino culture, in order to unite the local music scene, no matter how varied the genres may seem.” Sandejas chose to document this massive subculture of rock to show that a lot of Filipinos overlook this very large and important cultural aspect, not just with music, but also with the fans that have started subgroups that rally for their own personal causes.

    This current project doesn’t end here,” Sandejas says of her exhibit, “My photography is a lifetime project, one that showcases my life through documenting musicians careers… I haven’t really gotten the answers I’ve had with regards to this particular rock scene; It’s only been a year and a half. I have to dig deeper into history or follow closely the lives of their most loyal fans as much as I’ve followed the lives of the musicians involved.”

    Sandejas who is celebrating her 10th year in the music industry, is an award-winning photographer who has toured with many Filipino bands both locally and internationally. She has documented concerts all over Asia, working in Hong Kong and festivals like Singfest, Laneway Festival and Big Night Out in Singapore, MTV World Stage in Malaysia, and Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. She has taken photographs of big named artists such as John Mayer, MUSE, Kanye West, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Jack White, Elvis Costello, The Stone Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among many others.

    Based in Manila, when Sandejas is not flying to other countries, she makes sure she focuses her eye on the local music scene as a sign of her support for where she started, “My love for music and photography started with our local bands. If your desire comes from something close to you, it helps you be brave to go places and take good photographs. I’ve done what I’ve done because I know in my heart I always have something to come back to. I’m also thankful our local musicians give me opportunities to take better photographs of them, documenting them makes me feel like I’m living a rock and roll life as well.”

    More about Niña Sandejas at

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