One of the fondest memories I have of my youth was being a plus one to my father’s meetings. He’d bring me along so I can learn about the family business. Not that I ever learned anything. Much. What little I learned was more on how people dealt with people – how people connected and communicated with each other.

Business isn’t my forte, being the artist in the family. It never was, really. I understood what I needed to understand. Not what the family needed me to understand. But what makes those business meetings memorable to me was every time one of the people my dad meets with hands me their business card.

It seems odd to hand an eleven year old a business card. Then again, if the children will someday be handed the reigns of the family business, I suppose it’s good strategy in the event that the business deal would prove fruitful down the line.

I remember touching each and every business card that was handed to me, running my fingers across the embossed names and details. I loved how the creases of my thumb would seem to be one with the rough 3.5×2 piece of hard paper. I remember smelling the paperstock, and how earthy it seemed.

I used to collect those cards. I didn’t know why. I wasn’t as invested in the business as I should. I wasn’t interested in contacting these people. The collection became evidence of random interactions and petty conversations with strangers that, most likely, I’ll never see again. I was thinking of those business cards early last year for a story I was gonna write. It reminded me of good times and I wanted to look for them, but almost two decades of life has a way of disappearing things.

Anyhow, during those years, I’d often think how cool and “grown-up” I’d be if I had a business card. I’d wonder what I’d be after college, what would be below my name on my own business card. I was eleven or twelve and I had no idea what the fuck I wanted to be. I had no clue where I’d end up a decade into the future. I just wanted to play with my Game Boy. But every so often I’d revisit those cards and smile at the prospect of having my own someday, regardless of what title I had.


Fast forward two decades later and I finally have my own. Eleven year old me finally gets to say “I’m a grown up!”


John Mari A. Marcelo



It’s funny, “Photographer” wasn’t the first thing I had in mind for the title in the early years. Writing has always been my true love and “Writer” (in whatever form – Journalist, Novelist, etc,) was, I believe, what I aimed for. And as college came, all sorts of titles came to mind. All these titles that supported my interest. “Record Producer.” “Label Executive.” “Architect.” I know, I know, that last one is a bit of a stretch given my reputation as a constant underachiever.

Photography came to my life a short time after. Even then, it was merely a hobby, with just a teeny bit of thought that it could be a career. And then I enjoyed it, and the idea that “Photographer” would be the title above my name on a business card seemed appealing. I started buying music magazines on a monthly basis. I started buying Preview magazine to study the photos of Xander Angeles and Mark Nicdao. I started to love what I was doing, even though my impatience and petulance took the driver’s seat and didn’t let me study how to shoot in Manual mode.

And then my passions died, as I’ve mentioned countless times. I lost the drive to write and take photos. I stopped going to gigs. I stopped collecting Spin and Preview magazines. I stopped appreciating art. I stopped living.


Six years after I lost what drove me, ten years after I shot my first band (Up dharma Down,) it happened.


Better late than never, right?


*the layout of the card and the Infinity Blues Photography logo was done by Bren Pasamba.


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