LEIA MAMINTA SMITH
Leia Maminta Smith grew up in the Philippines. She moved to the US in pursuit of science and completed her PhD in Tumor Cell Biology from Northwestern University. She trained in molecular biology at Washington University and at the National Cancer Institute. She worked in academic and biotech organizations. To explore her love of photography, she immersed herself in learning more about the history, techniques and business of photography. She enjoys doing family and travel photography. To see more of her works, visit www.leiasmithphotography.com.
I am a freelance photographer based in the Pacific Northwest (mainly Canada). I work closely with the Igorot Cultural Group — B.I.B.A.K. whom I am a member of. Recently, my partner and I commissioned ourselves to record their events and activities in order to preserve and promote our Igorot culture. The results have been these pictures. I came to live in Vancouver Canada when I was 7-8 years old back in 1997. My background is Igorot, coming from the Ibaloi tribe of Benguet. My mother is from Kabayan, the birthplace of the Bendian dance, and my father came from Bokod, both from Benguet. I remember growing up in the Philippines where we would go back to the villages and hear the songs and dancing with the gongs quite vividly. It is with these memories that we try to continue our heritage, to instill our cultural practices and raise the next generation in being a part of that birthright. It has been unfortunate for me, however, to have lost my native languages over the years that I grew up in North America. During my late youth I also continued to shy away from my cultural heritage up to the point of adulthood. Much of this I decided to mend. With the help of my friend Gerold and his wife we took it upon ourselves to go back to our Igorot community to watch and help them grow. It is at that point that I find myself being encouraged by the youth, especially those who lend their time and talents to continue for our community and heritage to grow and prosper, despite living in North America. It inspired me to work on these photos. I am pleased to present and am honored to express OUR heritage and OUR pride. Long live our people, for whom have continued to live hundreds of years.
FRANCES GRACE MORTEL
Frances Grace Mortel is a photographer and filmmaker, born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She studied Film and Audio-Visual Communication at University of the Philippines for a couple of years until she dropped out of college. She started her training in art department as costume assistant and set dresser, practiced as a teaching artist for children while juggling videography and editing jobs from 2008-2012, and became a freelance production designer for film, television, and digital content in 2013-2015. She moved to Spokane WA with her husband and son in 2016, and is currently completing her Digital Media Production and Associate in Arts degrees while working as Marketing Assistant for Spartan Theatre at Spokane Falls Community College. Visit for more details.
LORIE LIMSON COOK
Lorie Limson Cook was born and raised in the Philippines. At 22 years old, she migrated to Tacoma, WA and pursued her career in Architecture. Coming from a family of avid photographers, she enjoys capturing those special moments on camera. She established Litrato By Lorie as a side business and has been a professional photographer since 2008. While she loves her career with Rice Fergus Miller, an architectural firm based in Bremerton, her love for photography will always cause her to whip out that camera and capture those special moments any chance she gets. Her favorite moment to capture: BIG SMILES... especially her daughter’s! And dogs. Visit her website at LitratoByLorie.com.