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Artist Spotlight - Derek Peco

By Angelyn Labadan

1. First, give us a short introduction!

Hello! My name is Derek Peco and I’m a Filipino-American photographer from the island of Guam currently based in Japan.

2. Describe briefly the work that you do.

I photograph a mix of things like architecture, daily-life, a friend, or stranger’s portraits mainly on 35mm film format.

3. How did you get introduced to your craft?

One day, one of my friends had brought a bunch of her film cameras with unfinished film inside and we spent the rest of the day taking pictures until there was no more film left. I became fascinated by the entire experience﹣from exposing each frame to taking it to the lab and finally seeing the long-awaited images, that I ended up getting myself a film camera. And over the years, I’ve been collecting cameras from automatic to manual models and have been experimenting with film photography since then.

4. What themes do you pursue?

I guess a recurring thing I unintentionally do is photograph ordinary things that are around me and try to capture it at an interesting angle.

5. How do you work/what is your process like?

I don’t follow a structural process of some sort other than keeping a couple of things in mind like lighting, composition, aperture, etc.

Oh, and I also make sure to always leave the house with a camera.

6. Do you have any long-standing influences?

In the last few years, photographers like Petra Collins, Yuji Watanabe, and many more I’ve found on social media inspire me to create more refined, dream-like portraitures, and editorial photoshoot projects.

7. How do you want your work to affect your audience?

Even though most times I don’t plan to create with a deep or intentional meaning behind it, I do hope that when my audience looks at my work they can see something in it that feels nostalgic or relatable or even sparks some sort of inspiration.

8. Can you describe your idea of artistic success?

When the artist can create something that evokes a feeling from the audience, even if it’s just a single person ﹣ that is my idea of artistic success.

9. What are your plans for the future?

I’m currently looking for work in the creative industry, particularly related to fashion photography, to gain more skills and experiences. If you know anyone, hit me up! But in the meantime, keep shooting and experimenting as much as I can!

10. Let’s talk about one of your most recent and favorite projects: 我的台湾之旅

A while ago I made my first photobook titled 我的台湾之旅 (My Trip to Taiwan) as a final project for a computer imaging class I took. It is a collection of photos that I can look back at and feel warm and nostalgic about the memories created on the trip.

I’m glad I created this because it elevated my work to a new level by making it a tangible experience. In a digitalized era, I think it’s important to keep physical copies of memories because you’ll never know how much you value them until you revisit them, holding the memory in your hands years later. And creating this into a photobook inspired me to continue to turn past and future projects into photo books to maintain the same effect.

Be sure to check out more of Derek's work and via:

Instagram | Website


Thank you Derek for taking the time to talk with us!

Artist Spotlight is a series hoping to promote local creatives from TUJ and beyond. We aim to cover a diverse range of artist from variety of fields, so please follow us to find out about aspiring artists and more!

Contact us to if you want your work to be featured or know an artist who’s a good fit to our mission and you think deserves more attention!

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