This Street Photographer Makes the City Her Very Own Studio

She casts her friends as models.


( Cities in any part of the world have one or two similarities. Time seems to speed up, cars are often bumper to bumper, and residents are found grappling with the demands of living in this busy world. But what makes one city different from another is the variety of people living in it. Look at the grandmother selling candies on a street corner, a little boy playing by the poso, and the group of men shooting hoops in a neighborhood court and you learn more about the heart of the place you're in. This "raw beauty" is what drove 20-year-old street photographer Aly Mananquil to go behind the camera.




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"Once you go out there, you’ll always see something new happening. It’s like a different scene each time I go out and a whole new experience to explore. It’s eye-opening, meeting different kinds of people every day and hearing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned to appreciate life," the Multimedia Arts student from College of St. Benilde in Manila tells


Browse her Instagram (@alleyttle) feed and you'll understand. On one frame, she has a black-and-white image of kids goofing around; in another, a model garbed in streetwear poses right in front of Manila's oldest buildings. This self-taught photographer uses the Metro as a "huge backdrop" for her photo shoots.





"It was in mid-2015 as a midnight exploration around the city," she explains about how she ended up mixing street photography with fashion. "I’ve seen a lot of people from Instagram showing their city and I wanted to see and show the unseen side of Manila and the culture revolving [around] it. I met two of my homegirls, Maj Veloso and Nika Higashionna, founders of The Third World which focuses [on] streetwear, [and] I’ve learned a lot from them."


She would cast her friends as models and even bounce off ideas with them. "In doing a collaborative work, it is important to communicate and make each other comfortable. A photograph is a reflection of all our vision combined," she says about her process.






When not showing off amazing streetwear, she clicks away while out in the streets. "My subject can be anyone, I embrace diversity with my photography but I have a recent favorite set that I took while I was walking around Quiapo and it was these kids playing sipa. I think as Filipinos, we grew up with the childhood games we used to play on the streets. The moment I saw that, it brought back memories: The streets will always be streets and some things will always stay the same," she gushes about a beautiful tale she found just by letting her feet and camera take her to streets unknown.



"Despite all the chaos that is revolving around Manila, its imperfections make it beautiful. [...] This is where I live in and grew up with as a creative, I just love witnessing some growth through my eyes, I just embrace it more and more each day," she tells us with much enthusiasm.


Just by looking at her photographs—all taken with a youthful eye—we're pretty sure that her optimism is starting to rub off on us.


See more photographs by Aly Mananquil through @alleyttle on Instagram.


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