Dennese Victoria Caloocan City, Philippines
Born in 1991 in the Philippines, Dennese Victoria’s images revolve around the themes of truth, memory and personal history. She studied Journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and in 2011 started her internship at Storyline, a weekly TV documentary where she then worked and filmed with the team and their other projects until 2014. At present she is part of the Southeast Asian Photography Masterclass organized by the Obscura Festival of Photography in Malaysia in partnership with the Goethe-Institut and the Ostkreuz Photography Agency in Berlin.
Dennese Victoria was chosen by photographer Rony Zakaria
Laatikkomo’s interview with Dennese Victoria January 20th, 2017.
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
DV: We used to move a lot but, I’ve been living, for more than a decade now, in Caloocan. I usually add North because the city’s divided into two and also because I always need to explain that it’s the far Caloocan – the one where it takes you at least two hours to actually reach the capital because of how bad the traffic situation is. My home is still my main work and it sort of is still my point of reference in understanding and relating to everything else, but another place I return to, at least in my mind, is Panay Avenue in Quezon City. That’s where I learned everything. Though I don’t really go there anymore, unfortunately I’m kind of trapped.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
DV: I must have been 10 or 11 years old. We were on a field trip for school and I remember I had this point and shoot camera with me. I don’t remember the pictures but I remember getting into trouble with my mother for wasting film on scenery and “pictures without people”.
L: Several of your more recent projects were made in collaboration or in association with other artists. Is this a direction you are looking at developing further in your work?
DV: It’s actually just one. I began the work for Myth in 2015 in collaboration with Jippy Pascua, who is also a friend. We didn’t make the pictures together so the collaboration was more about weaving everything else – the paper, the printing, the placement, etc.
Working with someone else teaches you a lot about yourself and your limitations so yes, I would like to try it again someday. At the same time though I also miss the slower pace of working alone. It takes you longer to come up with anything, but at that pace I feel like I get to absorb everything better.
L: The most recent project posted on your website is an installation which stretches photography into spacial art. What other type or types of art influence your photography?
DV: Poetry and music influence me a lot; some paintings and novels as well. Although recently I think it’s just anything that makes one feel very deeply about things. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I really enjoy listening to people talk. I think my photographs tend to be secretly loaded with everything I’ve taken in.
L: I recently read photographer Sally Mann’s autobiography where she talks about photography falsifying memory rather than preserving it: because a memory is always influenced by the moment in which it is revived. What do you think about the relationship between memory and truth as told through photography?
DV: In this context I think photography tries its best but unfortunately it still can only carry so little. It is, in the end, only still a fragment; a copy. I keep saying how in the beginning I thought it would help me remember and in a way, keep everything, but these days I tend to be unsure of what I have been able to take. Or, if I have taken the wrong things. This is the same question I followed in creating Myth and encountering it felt very disappointing. Now and again I ask myself if it’s worth it. Then again you have the filmmaker Jonas Mekas talking about images and saying, ”Who cares about memories! Every second of what you see is real, right there in front of your eyes.” It’s conflicting and maybe it will never be solved.
L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?
DV: memory, images, illusion, stories, expectations, names
Thank you so much Dennese!