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An expert lens shoots empowerment

Joan Pabona has been a migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong for more than four years. She hails from Sudipen in La Union province, the Philippines, and recently won second place in the National Geographic Wheelock Youth Photo Competition 2017.
This is one more feather in her cap of awards she has received in the field of photography.
Her most recent prize-winning entry was in the category of People and Happenings in Hong Kong in a competition that ran under the theme, Hong Kong Reminiscence: Place, People and Happenings.
With her unique eye and exceptional photographic skill, she snapped a black and white shot from the eighth floor of the building where she works.
Her entry entitled, Sacrifice, featuring a construction worker arranging a safety net, truly proves that this capture carries a depth of meaning, clearly expressing what the title depicts, as well as dramatising it with elements of light exposure and texture to demonstrate her skill.
Pabona truly made a difference. As the only woman and only non-Cantonese speaker taking out a major prize among the 3,518 entries, her photograph caught the attention of judges and at the presentation ceremony on January 31, she received a cash award and 12 free issues of the National Geographic Magazine.
The citation is just one more to add to her numerous awards in various international events from Lensational/Parasite Pop-Up Exhibition 2016, International Photography Awards Pandaigdigang Parangal 2016 and 2017, Women’s Celebration Photo Exhibit, International Pinhole Camera and Prestigious World Street Photography to name a few.
Pabona’s forte, street photography, and her favourite theme using a minimalist juxtapostion enhanced technique learned at photography workshops, combined with her own research and self-study, has contributed a lot towards her achievements.
Her two DSLR cameras acquired through her personal savings, have become her means of conveying a story which she cannot put into words, but clearly depicts in her captures. 
Pabona emphasises, “With a good lens at hand, the skill and the heart matter.”
She is continuously improving her craft for she believes that learning opportunities are avenues for growth.
She has also ventured into video-editing for which she attended a workshop at the University of Hong Kong, organised by Voices of Women, and again excelled in her work, with one of her featured videos appearing at the Beyond Myself Exhibition at the University of The Philippines in Diliman on February 15.
Currently, aside from being a top-notch member of a string of notable photography groups, Pabona also belongs to the Fun and Bold Photographers, a group made up of close friends bound by the same interests.
She looks forward to meeting with what she regards as her family in Hong Kong during holidays, spending her time with the like-minded Jadeay Manalac, Mylene Cabuelo, Evangeline Challoy, Arra Aranas, Marilou Dupla, Stephanie Erica Aserios and Roselle Azucena.
Their motto of uplifting each other and building a support system helps them all to shine in their chosen fields and is also a unifying factor in serving good causes; particularly the care of cancer patients in the Philippines.
Manalac, who also belongs to the Fun and Bold Photographers, shared his admiration for Pabona saying that she is one of the best photographers, as she really has an eye for capturing shots that stand out from the rest, a photographer with a heart and wit as is reflected in her work.
Many doors are opening up for Pabona because of her notable accomplishments in photography, proving that a Filipino woman can make a difference in any field. We say, “Congratulations and God bless you more in your next ventures!”
Vicks Reyes Munar