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F. P. Cembrano

Francisco de Paula Cembrano Jr. was born in the Philippines in 1860. There is no biographical information regarding his family, childhood, or education. As he recounted in an 1894 issue of The Photographic Times, "I began photographing in 1885, but for a long time previously I had had a yearning to take photographs and to possess a camera." He further recalled he wanted to take his love of sketching to the next level and accurately portray the picturesque landscape of his travels exactly as he had first seen it. He admitted when he decided to take up photography, he had nothing in the way of technical education or knowledge. As a result, he made a common amateur photographer mistake and purchased a large and extremely cumbersome 12 x 10 camera. Eager to shed the ‘amateur’ label, Mr. Cembrano took several courses at London’s Polytechnic School of Photography.

After the proper training, Mr. Cembrano's specialties quickly became landscape and architectural photography. He also discovered that he could keep pace with constantly-evolving techniques by networking with other amateur and professional photographers. He joined the Photographic Club, made several important friends and industry contacts, and eventually became an active member of ten societies, including the Photographic Society of Great Britain. As Mr. Cembrano's professional reputation grew, so too did his public exposure. His award-winning architectural photograph, "The Alhambra" was prominently featured in an 1893 issue of The American Amateur Photographer. He bristled at any inference to photography being based more upon universal mechanics than on individual creativity. He explained, "There would be no difficulty in placing half a dozen photographers before a landscape and obtaining six entirely different renderings of the same subject. Surely if photography were mechanical the six prints produced by them should be alike."

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2014-03-22 05:44:05
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