One Click At A Time
Explore Philippines|February - April 2018

Photojournalist Hannah Reyes- Morales, Through Captivating Photos, Sheds Light on Social Issues and Gives a Voice to Those Whose Plights Aren’t Heard.

Alyssa Lapid

I first met Hannah Reyes in 2011. We drove all the way to Pampanga for a fashion shoot for an independent local brand. Imagine a hotel room redecorated to look bohemian with three girls wearing flower crowns and clothes in Aztec prints and flowy fabrics throwing hundreds of paper cranes in the air acting giddy. She captured the manufactured glee beautifully and I was a willing participant in the charade.

The next time I had the privilege of shooting with her we were much more toned down. We were merely strolling around her alma mater, UP Diliman. The photos and poses were stripped down this time—just candid, street-style in the hidden gems of UP. Gems, of course, being completely subjective to her as we also shot in an area that seemed to be a glorified dumpster. I knew even then that her approach to photography was changing and that she had a certain predilection for the discarded.

THE VISUAL STORYTELLER

Much has changed since. The now married ReyesMorales is one of the most resounding names in documentary photography in the Philippines and with each new photograph she is making her mark around the world.

Whether Reyes-Morales is reporting on forced marriages in Cambodia for Al Jazeera America, documenting issues that hit home such as the changing indigenous cultures in the Philippines with a grant from National Geographic, or documenting the lives of displaced Filipina women who ended up in the sex trade after typhoons via a grant from the GroundTruth Project, her north has always been the same: to give a voice to those whose voices have been silenced and drowned out but whose stories deserve an audience. “I was most drawn to travel photography—the kind of work where I could ask questions and elevate the voices of people whose stories I felt were important to tell, or had been overlooked. I am very curious about the narratives people create for themselves amidst adversity. I am not just curious of the fact of hardship, but am curious about how life goes on amidst this hardship. I like to explore resilience,” she shares of what drives her to take photos and what she looks for in her subjects: strength, resilience, and unprecedented optimism.

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