In 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, left 6,000 people dead and over 6 million others displaced in the Philippines. It devastated many marginalized communities, particularly those living on the water’s edge. Every year, as typhoons get stronger, water levels rise, summers get hotter, and farmlands dry out, more and more people face these issues. SIGNOS is about the lives of the people displaced by extreme weather occurrences, further complicated by humanitarian issues such as inadequate relocation assistance, livelihood security and human trafficking. It illustrates the new norm.
Through his work, Villafranca tries to grasp a way out of the binary between victimage and survival, adversity and normalcy.
Veejay Villafranca was born in Manila, the Philippines. Starting out in journalism as a staff photographer for the national news magazine Philippines Graphic, he later become a freelancer in 2006, working with international news wire agencies. Veejay is now a full-time documentary photographer, tackling issues such as changing Filipino cultural and religious practices, the transformation of Filipino gang members, and climate displacement and other environmental issues. Based in Manila and working across Asia, he contributes to international publications and produce visual reports on social issues for NGOs. His work has been shown in both solo and group exhibitions in Asia and Europe. In 2008, he was awarded the Ian Parry Scholarship and a residency at Visa Pour l’Image for his project on the lives of former gang members in Manila, and in 2013 attended the prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass program of the World Press Photo Foundation.
Veejay Villafranca’s work is currently on display until 27 May 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the DISPLACEMENT exhibition developed in collaboration with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).