Four years ago Filipino photographer Geloy Concepcion was new to living in San Francisco and feeling directionless and lonely. On a whim he asked his followers on Instagram - “What are the things you wanted to say but never did?"
Hundreds of confessions flooded in and Geloy combined them with photographs he had been planning to dispose of. He had to read through the intimate thoughts, fears, and hopes of nameless people. By combining the confessions with the images, he struck a chord.
He also collected images via a Google form, seeking photos – preferably shot on 35mm film – that, to their owners, represented memories they've always wanted to let go of.
Unable to work at first, Geloy pursued this project while looking after his newborn daughter. His inspiration was street art from his native Manila, hence 'vandalizing' the images. He also cites Robert Frank and Jim Goldberg as inspiration.
Even if parenthood and US immigration process held him back briefly, Geloy is a photographer, so we asked him what equipment he uses. He told us: "My first camera was a Nikon D90, now I have a FujiFilm GFX 50R mostly for digital work, and for my daily life and film work I have a Leica m6 with a 28mm lens, that’s my go-to camera."
Clearly, the book has a film-like feel, though the scratch-like text doesn't stand up to close scrutiny in that regard. We asked what proportion of Geloy's work is on film or digital. He told us: "I usually use digital when working for publications, weddings, corporate works, etc. And I use film for my personal works (sic), daily life. So it’s half and half I guess."
The book is being published by Harper Celebrate, and Geloy and his publishers have loftier goals for their project. The book they say, can help people process their own identity, both through writing and journaling as well as seeing and reading the very real feelings of others.
The book also gives an insight into the experience an immigrant in the US experiences in the US, though he has now been living in the San Francisco Bay area since 2017, had his work included in the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and, of course, got a book published. It's shipping June 6th, but you can pre-order it now. When we've read it, will it make our list of best photography books?