LIGHTS, CAMERA, I DO. – Nine Lives by Mikko Mahinay

 Ladies and Gentlemen, Cagayan de Oro’s closest thing to tinseltown on-screen and off-screen romance is bound to get hitched. And Mahinay never ever agrees to do a pre-nup; but for these two, I just had to.

This isn’t a paid post that needs urgent publication. Or was this even a paid project we were all commissioned to do. Over the course of our careers, Max, Daniel, Keith (whose mad hair & make-up skills I have relied on for years and on several other projects) and I have come to full terms over the mechanism in which things do we consider to do free of charge; and perhaps, in this common ground of influence and understanding of how it operates is what keeps our relationship knit tight. We didn’t do this for exposure- given all four of us have already acquired enough and actual legit experience (and actual sales impact) to even reconsider that. We didn’t do this to look cool, because that mentality never ever pays the bills. We didn’t do this pre-nuptual project together to further build our portfolios either, because we already have an existing and extensive one already on hand. We did this out of gratitude for one another- the kind that is authentic and built over years and years of actual working relationship and a personal, off the record moments together over coffee. Keith and I simply gave Daniel and Maxine, two of Cagayan de Oro’s known personalities, a gift before they officially tie the knot. When Keith informed of his intention to give this gift to these two lovebirds, my immediate and most reflexively response was “let’s do something non-conventional for a pre-nuptual shoot.” And it’s in this complete privilege of artistic license that excites any artist and undeniably, provide the most impressive of results. (Especially since I do not shoot weddings and/or pre-nups)

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If there is one thing I frequently tell clients, colleagues and even novices; is that art, in all forms and mediums, need to be a progressive- the output needs to grow, change and provide a fresh new outlook just as the creative individual grows as well. As I once, and always, said “just how many times can you photograph a subject in the same manner that it’s no way different from how it was previously done?” The audience needs to see the shift in visual gratification versus simply appreciating good lighting, framing and the same consistent aesthetic handshake. And it’s in these shifts that has caused J. Biebs to break records during his transition in terms of lyrical and musical artistry during the production and eventual release of Purpose. It’s in the transfiguration from what is polished and safe to the palette to what is an uncommon, although resonating the soul of the artist involved, that has caused Alessandro Michele to cause groundbreaking results over at Gucci. It’s when we fail to become safe, is also when we actually become genuine artists than just another fluke in the industry.

In this sense, contrary to the conventional and actual pre-nuptual shoots consisting the somewhat repetitive elements (mostly, the couple hugging beneath a tree, or in some grassland, or by the shoreline; the groom, looking rather dowdy and overshadowed by his more styled bride in tresses that can’t even move from excessive hairspray) we ultimately decided to do this shoot like an editorial- the mockery of golden, lala-land couples in the millennial landscape. Maxine, being one of the most familiar and notable faces in Cagayan de Oro City landing billboard after another, has always been one of the most professional and natural beauties I have ever met that has a major contribution to her success over the years. Daniel, on the other hand, went to the same high school as I did but was a batch older and has always been the de facto and subliminal alpha male & has his fair share of local showbiz back in the hey day and runs his own business now. Both in collective have the same profile we commonly read as we plummet through random Wikipedia rabbit holes late night and silver screen romance that masses would double tap on every single post.

Let me close this post with this: every person is unique. Every artist is unique. Your romantic story is unique.



Photography & Styling / Mikko Mahinay

Starring / Maxine Monasterio & Daniel Mejia

Hair & Make-up / Keith Bryan Asok (With assistance from Fritzy)

Maxine’s Wardrobe provided by Ciao Bella

Chiongbian Residence, Cagayan de Oro City

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