10 Days Of Seeing: Petra Gana

10 Days Of Seeing: Petra Gana

Photograph by Renzo Navarro, Courtesy of Petra Gana

Petra Gana’s images celebrate the beauty of life.

Vogue Philippines invited 10 artists to showcase what “celebration” means to them through their chosen medium. For photographer Petra Gana, celebration is about gratitude.

Petra Gana’s sharp and artful images paint saturated, wistful scenarios, allowing audiences to fully immerse in a sensation or moment. Though her distinct style has earned her clients like Carl Jan Cruz, the creative says she still struggles with being labeled a photographer.

When she’s not experimenting with her newfound love of photography, Gana works as a Partner and Design Strategist at And A Half, an independent design studio focused on finding more ways to “do more with design.” Their clients include the likes of Cebu Pacific, Le Sucre Lab, Sunnies Studios, A Mano, Balay Dako, and many more.

Despite growing up in a family engaged in more traditional occupations, Gana always found herself more in tune with creative pursuits. She ended up becoming And A Half’s first project manager, helping the new company find balance. In her seven-year (and counting) run with And A Half, Gana found herself becoming one of its managing partners, and is now able to pursue her own creative projects, like photography.

Though the budding creative says she’s still in the process of finding out what’s next and where her practice takes her, she has already cultivated her own unique vision. “I’d say it’s intimate and a bit romantic,” Gana says. “I really lean toward warm light and soft imagery.”

She looks at paintings a lot, especially when it comes to soft lighting and composition. Inspired by form and texture, Gana says she’s drawn to the way shapes and objects start to look new and oddly beautiful when zoomed in or angled differently. In that way, the creative allows her audience to see mundane objects with a fresh gaze, turning the ordinary into art. “I want to be able to show my perspective honestly and authentically,” she says.

Gana tells us about her shoot with internationally acclaimed designer Carl Jan Cruz, which she says has been a recent favorite. “They gave me liberty with that and I was able to shoot ideas (inspired by my favorites) that I had in my head for a long time,” she says. For their collaboration, Gana shot a series of self-portraits and stills with the designer’s pieces. She turned Cruz’s well-loved classics into visionary compositions, melding the borders of fashion and art.

Her next goal is to find the time and headspace to experiment with her photography more. She hopes to be able to shoot with dancers and drapery, keen on capturing textiles in motion. Gana names her photography idols, all young Filipino talents; Cenon at Mav, Koji Arboleda, Renzo Navarro, and even fellow 10 Days of Seeing photographer, Colin Dancel. “The Philippines is brimming with talent!” she says.

“For me, celebration is gratitude. It’s about celebrating life and the small miracles we witness everyday.” — Petra Gana

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