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‘I’m sure this fisher had success the next day’: Philip Am Guay’s best phone picture

<span>Photograph: Philip Am Guay</span>
Photograph: Philip Am Guay

Philip Am Guay’s family home in Manjuyod in the Philippines is just a few metres from the beach where, one day in 2017, he found fisher Manong Ebrin checking his bunsod (fish corral) for a catch.

“Manong is a Filipino term, how we address an older man or a brother,” Guay explains. “I was an operations supervisor at a shopping mall in Cebu City during that time, staying in a boarding house. I would only go home to see my parents about five times a year, and the journey would take eight hours. When I did go, I would head straight to the beach.”

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Down on the shore, the photographer would also find himself drawn to capturing the sunset, or silhouettes, with his phone. “It is a given that a digital camera is technically superior to a smartphone,” he says. “But in my experience, it’s the limitations of a phone that push my creativity in producing a more compelling shot.”

On that particular day, having donned his goggles to check for fish in his trap, Manong Ebrin had re-emerged from the water empty-handed. “I’m sure he had success the next day,” Guay says.

Though the fisherman has since died, he adds, he hopes that “others will see this photograph and appreciate hardworking people like him who, despite old age, will still work to put food on the family table”.