By Lara Grace Sureta-Reyes
(Original article published in Manila Bulletin on 2010;
updated by Jhing Montes on March 2021)
Sometime in 1986, a group of photo-enthusiasts gathered at Fuji YKL in Hidalgo, Quiapo where they shared informal discussions and valuable inputs regarding photography. It was the group’s distinctive love and passion for photography that drew them close together and made them come up with an idea to establish a camera club. Ka Tony Raval and Ka Lito Beltran, two of the club’s pioneers, as well as the others initially named the group “Palpak Camera Club” for most of the shots they took then were rejects. But through the intervention of one of the board of directors of FPPF (Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation), Mr. Joe Sarmiento, suggested that the name be changed as it might have a negative connotation later on when the group becomes a success in the craft, the name was changed to ‘Alpha Camera Club’.
ALPHA stands for Association of Lovers of Photography and Arts. This hub became the group’s nestling ground which helped each member nurture deep interests in photography.
Alpha started their adventures early on. Much of the events Alpha was so in love with were photojournalistic in nature. This explained how lucky and blessed the group was when they covered the EDSA Revolution – the peak of our democratic liberation. Travel shoots, of course, were still a vital part of their booming craft.
Alpha at one time thrived significantly when its members reached a maximum of ninety in the mid-eighties. During the late eighties, its members waned into a smaller group. Nevertheless, the club stood firm, keeping the love of photography unceasing. In 1987, Alpha was already a member of the Association of Philippine Camera Clubs, an arm of the FPPF, and to date, Alpha is actively affiliated with FPPF.
Alpha Camera Club’s labor of love was fruitfully rewarded in the years 1995, 1996 and 1997 taking home the Photoworld Cup Championship title – a three-peat recognition in Photoworld. In 2008, climbing its way up eleven years later, Alpha Camera Club was awarded as the First Runner Up in Photoworld Cup. And in 2009, Alpha made it to the top by achieving the Camera Club of the Year Award. This holds true to the club’s motto: Teamwork makes the dream work. Moreover, five of the Alpha’s members were recognized as the Top 10 Photographers of the Year.
Four years later in 2000, ALPHA Camera Club successfully mounted its first photo exhibit entitled ‘Exhibit One’ at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
In 2004, its second major exhibit entitled ‘Nostalgia: Laguna, Images of the Past, Captured at the Present,’ displayed a series of monochrome photographs at The Alcove, Filipinas Heritage Library.
To commemorate its 20th Anniversary in 2006, the club mounted its third major exhibit, ‘Celebrating Twenty’, which showcased their absolute best of travel photographs.
‘Biyaheng Norte’ and ‘Images of Independence’ followed in 2008 and 2009, respectively, at the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation chamber in Fort Santiago.
In 2010, the club’s sixth exhibit showcased women for Mother’s Day celebration.
On its 25th Anniversary, the club mounted “Heritage 2011” at the Filipinas Heritage Library.
A collaboration with UPLB Alumni Association featuring an environmental theme, “Pagbabago ng Panahon at Kapaligiran”, was the club’s eighth exhibit.
In celebration of its 32nd anniversary in 2018, the club mounted it ninth exhibit entitled “Mono Black: A Photo Exhibit Celebrating Artistry in Photography.” A collaboration with body paint artist Jason Luna Tanjuakio, the photographs depicted expressions of the human form and our Philippine ancestry.