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Meet Hernan, a Ward Village regular, who's been frequenting the area for decades.

Mar 20, 2017

#WeAreWard: Behind the Lens of Hernan Co

Photos by @hernandoco

For decades, Hernan Co has been a regular at Ward Village.

As a child, he holds fond memories of spending time in the area with his family and friends. Now, as a young adult and engineer with a passion for photography, Hernan continues to spend time in the Village, reminiscing about the past of this land and excited about its future. Through his street photography, Hernan has been able to capture the spirit of Ward Village by taking photos of the off-moments that forge the character of this special place. Give him a follow on Instagram at @hernandoco to see the world through his lens and share your favorite Ward Village photos through #WeAreWard.

Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Sure thing. I was born in the Philippines, but I came to Hawaii when I was about 3 years old, so I basically grew up here in Hawaii and currently live in Pearl City. I'm 27 years old and work as a licensed civil engineer at a consulting firm in downtown. In addition to photography, I'm also into cars, coffee, whiskey, and music.

Your photography is really impressive and you seem to have a great perspective behind the lens. What led you to pick up a camera and start shooting?

Thank you! I've always had an interest in photography, but it never really became a hobby until I found my mom's old film camera a couple of years back and decided to give it a try. Since then I've been addicted to it and I shoot both digital and film. Though, most of my photos in Ward Village are actually shot on film. Fortunately, there's still a place on the island to develop film like Rainbow Photo Video on Keeamoku and Treehouse Hawaii.

You seem really active in Ward Village based off your Insta account. What is it about the village that you like?

When I heard the news that parts of Ward Warehouse will be deconstructed, I decided to take random photos of the area. As a civil engineer, one of the first things we do when developing a certain area is to look for historical records/drawings. I love finding old photos of places and seeing how things have changed. I found this the perfect opportunity to capture this transformation.

There's a new creative scene taking over Honolulu, by way of POW WOW! and a host of other young entrepreneurs, chefs, and start-ups taking root in Ward and Honolulu as a whole. There really seems to be an energy in the air among young professionals. Is that something you would agree with and if so, what are your thoughts on this movement?

I totally agree with this movement. It just brings a new life to the area. The creativity, I feel, encourages young professionals like me and even other generations to openly express our artistic side whether it be through photography, food, or wall art. This cultural shift in Honolulu provides us with a creative outlet that I feel has been dormant for too long. Hawaii is beautiful and known for its beaches and greenery, but now we're showing the beauty of our urban district.

Do you have a favorite Ward Village destination?

There are a few places that are really special for me in the Ward Village area. Here's a handful that come to mind and why I think they're special.

Orange Julius: I remember as a child taking the bus with my mom to go here just to have a cup of the original Orange Julius. Nothing special in particular but it's just one of those simple memories that is just pure happiness to me.

Island Guitars: I love music/audio. I bought my first and only guitar here. I saved up my allowance and I bought a guitar because I wanted to enter in my middle school's talent show. I took second!

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