I’m a Filipino-Italian photographer based in Denmark. I have worked as a journalist in the Philippines for seven years, so much of my work deals with the complexities of the Filipino narrative. I largely explore themes pertaining to tropical aesthetics in relation to the western gaze, intergenerational post-colonial trauma, inequality, and spirituality.

To collaborate or purchase a print: isabella.cantu@gmail.com

Education _______

University of the Arts London, LCC -
Ba (Hons) Photography

CFP Bauer (Milan) - Fotografia

Group _______

Trasatlantica, Photo España - Manila, Philippines, 2016
London College of Communication - UK, 2011

Publications _______

Grace and Grit, CNN Philippines, 2016

The last word must be buried deep          
2012 - 2018

This is a visual record of the seven years I lived and worked as a news correspondent in the Philippines. I didn’t set out to tell a specific story when I took these pictures. I simply documented my time there.

When I pieced all the images together, a complex story became apparent - a snapshot of the turmoil of post-colonial and inter-generational trauma.

For the Filipino people, who live under the oppression of an overtly corrupt political system and the devastating effects of climate change, personal safety is not a given. In this context, religion, TV, celebrity culture, guns, populist political dynamics provide distraction, soothing and a perceived sense of safety.

On a personal level, this work was also an opportunity to understand my ancestry and make sense of my difficult relationship with my mother. In looking for answers I found a lot of acceptance and compassion.

iPray. A week with Arnulfo            

I met Arnulfo on the island of Bohol. He is an incredibly brilliant man with a love for history, especially the colonial history of the Philippines. In his early life, he worked as a lawyer in Manila, but his mental health declined when his wife died, so he decided to return to his native Bohol. Here he worked odd jobs while trying to get better and rekindle a strained relationship with his children, who were teenagers at the time of the project. I immediately loved Arnulfo’s propensity for the absurd, the comical, and the metaphysical. These stills trace a week of filming with him around the island.

The great commission

Between January and May 2011 I spent time with the people of an East London church called The Great Commission. I was interested in understanding faith and its workings in the context of migration and disenfranchisement.

Years before, when I was a teenager, my mother left home for a year to spend time living in the UK by herself, when she returned she was a fervent Christian. This series was the beginning of a long journey exploring my mother’s history in an attempt to understand our relationship.

Our Cycle

Commissioned by IMMI Watch, a privacy-first solution to menstrual tracking. Their digital watch allows users to track their period without an app or smartphone ensuring their data is safe. IMMI is also currently partnering with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to educate and empower young women and girls globally on their menstrual cycles.

The series of photographs explores the seasons of the menstrual cycle through the spectrum of human emotions. Sometimes more obvious, sometimes more subtle.

Everything But The Dog          
Design Objects from 1950 to 1995

Below is a selection of a wider body of work created over 2 years to document and advertise Everything But The Dog’s catalogue.