LoveYourself, a volunteer advocacy organization proudly presents “ How Do I Love Thee II ”- a fund raising photo-exhibit featuring the maiden works of self-taught photographer Kraus Estanislao.
The theme of “ How Do I Love Thee II ” focuses on the ideals of Love Yourself by propagating ideas and practices that encourage loving one’s self — to DARE to be oneself, to CARE for oneself, and to SHARE oneself as a way to multiplying joy.
Volunteers of LoveYourself live by the mission of embracing and nurturing self-worth, inspiring others, and creating ripples of positive change in the community. They work together to create a model community of MSM and friends who empower and affirm the self-worth of youth and MSM in the Philippines through various services, including free HIV testing and counseling. Through the unwavering courage and dedication of its volunteers, the organization was recognized nationally as one of the finalists to the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations in 2013.
” The theme that I chose for this exhibit is the beauty of the male human body in different forms, perspective and treatment. My photographs shall explore all its flawed but fascinating glory as magnified to clarity so that the audience will see through the marked difference between a nude man and a naked man. Both naked and nude maybe similar to one’s thought, but nude photography has eroticism as its minor priority or should we say the last thing on one’s spectator’s mind. A nude photo is a celebration of the male human body with the power to captivate audiences, instead of a vulgar spectacle that screams for attention. ” says Estanislao.
Part of the proceeds of the “ How Do I Love Thee II ” exhibit will help sustain the advocacy programs of LoveYourself Anglo.
A former production crew for a cruise ship theater company, Estanislao started to pursue photography professionally when South African photographer and fellow crewmate James Leppan saw his work and encouraged him to join a crew photo competition. Inspired by iconic photographers like Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchiler, and Howard Schatz, Kraus honed his skills in portraiture and established his own studio in Timog, Quezon City.
Estanislao fondly remembers his first nude photo shoot in 2006, which he shot in Coron, Palawan. His initial nude subjects were mainly friends and followers from his multiply.com days and he has the habit of first meeting his subjects to learn about their inhibitions, draw sketches to help visualize the shoot, and figure out the lighting and poses.
“I work around my subjects’ restrictions and explain to them thoroughly what needs to be done and how it is going to be done. If all else fails, then photo shoot doesn’t push through at all.”
Estanislao says convincing his male Filipino subjects can become difficult due to culturally acquired inhibitions, but says that with enough encouragement, the subjects can break through societal expectations and personal insecurities.
“Nude photography has never been a popular concept here in this conservative country of ours. It’s sensitive and an acquired taste. Usually, the fear of being scrutinized of their flaws, their private parts seen, their reputation to family and friends cloud their minds,” says Estanislao.
“I have to ease them to these fears, motivate them to breath and let go of their inhibitions, direct them as precise as I can, and show the outcome on every shot I took, making them part of the process, making them more comfortable and at ease.”