Juanita Magdasal, a 79—year old woman who sells ukay-ukay, was shocked when she was presented Germany’s View magazine (September 2010 issue) that carried a whole photo spread of her checking the eggs she was about to buy at the local market.
That one curious moment in July 2010 at the public market was taken by homegrown photographer Hersley-Ven Casero who finally handed to Magdasal a copy of the magazine, after searching for her for the last eight months.
Magdasal looked at the huge photo plastered on two pages, did not recognize herself, looked up at Casero with a confused look, then looked at the photo again. Then the scream of delight. “It was just an ordinary morning at the market when I was checking if the eggs I was buying were indeed fresh,” Magdasal excitedly recounted in the vernacular.
Magdasal’s daughter and grandchildren were just as astonished as they flipped the pages and found the very familiar loving face. The grandchildren grabbed the magazine and ran to a corner of their house to study the photo more closely, hardly believing it was really their lola’s face jumping out at them from an imported glossy magazine.
Magdasal’s photo first showed up in Week in Pictures of the Los Angeles Times titled “Egg Lady”. Casero had submitted the photo to the LA Times upon the prodding of his mentor Dumaguete-born Luis Sinco, an award-winning photojournalist of the LA Times in California, USA.
A few days after the LA Times publication, Casero learned that Germany’s View magazine was also attracted to it, and published it in their September issue last year. Early this year, Casero’s same photo of Magdasal was also featured in a national publication of Denmark.
The latest acknowledgement of the photograph is on www.somethingwelike.com/inspirational/hersley-ven-casero where Casero is one of the featured selected artists worldwide. The website endorses artists from different platforms and genres.
The meeting between photographer and subject did not only bring joy to Magdasal whose photo has been viewed worldwide; it has also brought a sense of fulfillment to Casero.
He described Magdasal as a “very natural” woman and very approachable. He said he feels very lucky for finding such subject with a very warm and pleasant personality.
For now, Casero is planning to document Magdasal’s life and her thriving ukay-ukay business that is popular in Dumaguete.
Both Casero and Magdasal said they agree that life really is full of surprises. “Who would have thought that by simply doing routinary activities as looking at eggs facing the sunlight can get a lot of attention not only in the Philippines but also from other countries?,” Casero mused.