Images of Hope

These images were the most significant for me last year as a documentary photographer, although they may not necessarily be my best shots. They are part of a documentary project I started, which is on its final stages. I am looking forward to another year of many challenges in visual storytelling, exhibitions, lectures and advocacy work.

From Rodallie S. Mosende : Hope among the homeless on Paterno Street

"Rodallie S. Mosende" from Rodallie S. Mosende : Hope among the homeless on Paterno Street (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Rodallie S. Mosende, homeless since birth on Paterno Street in Quiapo, Manila and now a college student, thanks to a benefactor who saw my work on Facebook and gave her a four-year college scholarship. Several individuals are also giving her a monthly allowance. Mosende still goes home to the same street where she grew up because renting a room or an apartment is out of reach for her family of three. Her story became viral on GMA News online and was top story of the day in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her story was exhibited in three locations in 2012.


Young mother and child

Young mother and child (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Young mother and child at Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital where on average 100 babies are born daily. As my contribution to the debate on the then-pending Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippine Congress, I made a photo essay entitled “Making Babies.” I joined supporters of the RH Bill in celebrating its becoming law of the land after 14 years of concerted effort on the part of the Catholic Church to deny our people the right to choose how to manage their lives.


Marine Batallion Landing Team 9 

Marine Batallion Landing Team 9 (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Marine Batallion Landing Team 9 – Philippine Marines based in Jolo, Sulu will help build classrooms in Barangay Tulay and Patikul next year through the efforts of Angelo Valencia and his Alphabet Warriors.


Traffic!!!! on EDSA 

Traffic!!!! on EDSA (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Traffic!!!! on EDSA – From an ongoing work using an iPhone while riding taxis in Metro-Manila


Human Wrong

Human Wrong (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Human Wrong – A work-in-progress originally commissioned by Justice Roberto Abad of the Philippine Supreme Court (pro-bono) to document living conditions in various Metro-Manila detention centers to aid the Court’s effort to accelerate cases and change rules that cause delays and extended stays in detention centers. After being exhibited at the lobby of the Philippine Supreme court and selected college of laws, the work has acquired a life of its own. Most recently, it was part of my exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, a solo exhibition at the UP Diliman College of Law and Ateneo Human Rights Center in Makati and it will be at Boston College in February 2013. The body of work won Third Place for the international competition of


Jewels of Rio Tuba

Jewels of Rio Tuba (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Jewels of Rio Tuba – The coffee table book includes my commissioned work documenting the workers and operation of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation in Palawan. My experience convinced me that there is a room for responsible mining that could boost the resources for development and help uplift many of our citizens out of poverty. We should continue to go after irresponsible mining operators and illegal mining protected by corrupt politicians and police.


Vendors of Quiapo

Vendors of Quiapo (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Vendors of Quiapo – The World Bank estimates that more 40 percent of the Philippine economy is underground and the street vendors, sari-sari (variety) stores, etc. are not minor participants in the current economic boom. Since usury is not illegal in the Philippines, many rely on the 5/6-loan scheme. For every 1,000 pesos ($24), a vendor pays the “Bombay,” mostly Punjabi’s from India, 30 pesos ($0.75) a day for 40 days. A majority of the vendors in Quiapo rely on this loan scheme for capital to purchase merchandise they can sell.


From DARK MEMORIES of torture, disappearances, incarceration, and death under MARCOS – A collection of portraits of some of the 1,081 former political detainee-claimants who received $1,000 each last year as restitution. 

"Sixto Carlos Jr." from DARK MEMORIES of torture, disappearances, incarceration, and death under MARCOS – A collection of portraits of some of the 1,081 former political detainee-claimants who received $1,000 each last year as restitution.  (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Sixto Carlos Jr., former political prisoner, co-founder of Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan-SDK (League of Democratic Youth), imprisoned by the the Marcos dictatorship in 1979 to1983, current member of Akbayan! Citizens Action Party.


Repatriated OFWs from Syria

Repatriated OFWs from Syria (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Repatriated OFWs from Syria. Hundreds of Filipino workers are being repatriated from the war-torn country by the Philippine government. Many of them arrived without proper legal documents because they left the Philippines through “back- door” exits. They were all debriefed by the Department of Justice as part of the ongoing efforts to reduce, if not eliminate, human trafficking.


San Francisco Project

An ongoing photo documentary project about San Francisco, using an iPhone. Inspired by Eugene Smith, who documented the City of Pittsburg more than 50 years ago using a Leica. My fascination with the iPhone, which is very 21st century, as a tool in making pictures inspired me to pursue a similar project. San Francisco has changed so much from the city I knew 40 years ago. It now has a very diverse population and is vibrant with technological activity. The city is known for its liberal politics, innovative ideas, food, fashion, gadgets, music and many more.

At the Golden Gate Bridge (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

San Francisco Project: "Not just Chinese - Chinese from People's Republic of China" - Twin Peaks, San Francisco, California (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

San Francisco Project: "Mural Grab" 18th Street, San Francisco, California (Photo by Rick Rocamora)

Rick Rocamora

Rick Rocamora

Rick Rocamora is an award-winning documentary photographer based in Oakland, California whose work has been published by The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and other domestic and international publications. He is the author of Filipino WWII Soldiers: America’s Second-Class Veterans. His work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums and is part of the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.