Joseph Uy Jr., the photographer members of the IEPA, International Environment Photographers Association.

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Joseph Uy Jr.

I started photography at the age of nine years old when my father bought my first SLR camera. I am always fascinated with photography as a science and how it can be used for art. I frequently look at other photographers' work and wonder how it was captured. While in college, I found myself working as a salesman for a high end camera store selling cameras to get special discounts in developing picture and contacts in photography. After school, work kept me busy and couldn't find time to take pictures until the introduction of digital SLR cameras.

In the past few years, I would go out together with my friends to shoot landscapes all over the world. Waking up 3am in the morning and walking 5 kilometers with a full backpack of equipment just to wait the sunrise. It is not easy to take pictures of landscapes and on many expeditions, we would come home without any good pictures. But it was those precious moments that we were given a chance to capture the golden images that make us keep on coming back for more.



Why do you want travel more than 15 hours to see the famed Mayoyao Rice Terraces in northern Ifugao Province of the Philippines? Besides the back pains of riding in rough road condition, you also get stiff-white hair from all the dust.

These rice terraces were built 2000 years ago by our Filipino ancestors. The terraces follow the contour of the mountains and span more than hundreds of kilometers. Rice is still planted there up to today. In 1995, it was proclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2001, it was put on the "in Danger" list because the children who are sent to the cities to study in the university do not find it interesting to go back and plant rice in such difficult terrain. Furthermore, the rice terraces, which is being passed down from generation to generation, further gets divided amongst the family members, and is fast becoming too small to be economical to plant rice.

For me, capturing the Philippines Rice Terraces on camera in its grandeur is definitely a must despite the elusive conditions to get there. I do not know how long we can enjoy this ancestral heritage but I hope that the Philippine government will see the importance of preserving it for future generations to enjoy.

IEPA, the International Environment Photographers Association
8554-1 Urushiyama, Nishikan-ku, Niigata, 953-0054 JAPAN

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