by Evans Yonson
Barcelona – Five years ago, I went back to teach in my alma mater, Xavier University, in Cagayan de Oro City. I was given a full-time teaching load with photography taking the bulk of my weekly time. It was to be a start of an exciting comeback of my teaching career. I started teaching in the same university in 1997. I was rather a late bloomer in the field as most of my batchmates were already senior faculty members at that time. But what can I do? I was busy fulfilling someone else’s dreams for me.
My photography students then were total strangers to me but I was no longer new to department. So to make my comeback a bit of a blast, I introduced the idea of having a name to the annual photography exhibit that the Development Communication conducts yearly. A brand name that everyone will identify with photography, Xavier University, and the Development Communication Department. I thought of Lansad (to launch, in Cebuano). The exhibit would be the launching ground of these students to the real world through photography. Famous for my stand against post-processing photographs, I made sure that students appreciate and use photography in its truest and purest sense. And since we wanted to have morally accountable students, we made sure that each photograph was truly responsive to our community’s needs. So, for its first theme we had, Launching A New Breed of Responsible Photographers. For the past four years, we have produced close to four hundred photographers already.
This year, we have another batch of 70 students who have tirelessly went to untrodden places, where no one could ever think of going. We travelled farther to be with a local community only to realize that a week after our visit their town was attacked by rebel forces. We met people in public markets, in the bay area, and in sports games. We met locals in their humble abodes. We partied like it was our last.
This year, despite my short stay in the university, I can truly say that Lansad 2011 is truly the exhibit of the year. No other university in Mindanao can claim that their photography exhibit has been viewed by more than 50,000 people. And we’re the first floating student photography exhibit in the country. Without a doubt, Lansad is going and growing in leaps and bonds.
Lansad 2011 will open to the public on 26 September until 30 September, 9AM to 5PM at the Xavier University’s AVR1 Lobby.