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Santy Calalay – Photographer

Santy Calalay is a photographer from Manila. He describes himself as a geek & a punk. But these days he is mostly a photographer also known as theboywhoshotwolves.

His background is in writing, poetry and fiction. He has produced TV shows and movies, “these days I concentrate on capturing stories in a single frame”.

What’s your background? Where are you from?

I’m from Manila, Philippines. My background is really in writing, poetry and fiction. I used to produce TV shows and movies but I concentrate these days on capturing stories in a single frame.

What or who is inspiring you right now?

I’m always thinking, “What would Maggie Cheung do?”

How did you come to work in your creative industry?

A friend of mine was visiting and he wanted to try modeling in Manila. I arranged some shoots for him and brought my camera along as I love to shoot behind-the-scenes photos. The photographers said I seemed to have an eye for it and told me to give photography a try. Haven’t stopped clicking since.

Paint a picture of where you live/describe it

A black box with a humidifier for clean air. And a window.

How have you developed your career? What are you doing now?

Very DIY. You quickly find out in this industry, in life in general, that the only person you can rely on at the end of the day is yourself so might as well know how to do everything. But when you can’t, ask. I’m always surprised to know who wants to work with me.

Tell us about your creative process

Plan everything leading up to the day then be ready to throw everything away for the beautiful accidents.

What do you want to say with your work?

I have no illusions, I lost them on my travels.

How would you define your style?

Fashion comes and goes but a nice body will never go out of style. 

Who has been the most inspirational person for you?

It’s never been one person, but the Holy Trinity of Bjork, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey shaped A LOT of my attitude towards what is possible in art. Also, Courtney Love is my spirit animal.

What is your favourite era of design?

Whichever era Wong-kar Wai movies are set in.

How do look after yourself mentally and physically?

Treat yourself to dinner and a movie at least once a week!

Is there anything in your career that you regret not doing?/regret doing?

Blooming late in everything. Everything I did before the age of 27 seems hilarious now.

Describe your “typical” daily routine?

If I’m not shooting, I’m editing. If I’m not editing, I’m researching.

What project of yours has inspired you the most?

I like to believe they were all inspired.

What’s your favourite film?

Requiem for a Dream, Cabaret and Chungking Express.

Do you have a favourite quote that you try to live by?

“Life is unfair, kill yourself or get over it.” – Black Box Recorder

What makes you nervous?

That I actually know what I’m doing.

Who is the nicest person you have worked with?

Me. Everybody else says I’m intimidating.

Do you dream?

In black and white and silent pictures.

If you were a perfume what would you smell like?

Your favourite ice cream.

What’s on your playlist right now?

The RuPaul’s Drag Race “Lip-synch for Your Life” playlist is always on when I edit.

Can you describe what you are doing now, with your life and work?

I resolve to continue being beautifully flawed and brilliant to the end.

Santy’s instagram @theboywhoshotwolves

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