One of the first official photographers of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Nath Gutierrez dutifully captured the CCP during its so-called “crystal years”. From its opening in 1969 to 1974, he documented the Center’s landmark building, its founding directors and artists, and their unprecedented program of performances, exhibitions, and other artistic activities. Among the milestones he captured are the pioneering productions by CCP’s founding Theater Director, National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, National Artist for Music Jose Maceda’s iconic 100 Cassettes, the experimental installations of founding Museum Director Roberto Chabet and Ray Albano, and numerous performances by celebrated local and international dancers, actors and musicians. Highly adept at shooting in low-light conditions without the use of a flash, he was well-suited for documenting the Center’s theatrical performances and museum exhibitions.


Born in Tondo, Manila in 1936, Nath was a student of civil engineering at FEATI University in Manila in the 1950s, when his grand uncle, Toribio Teodoro, owner of the pharmacy, Botica de Santa Cruz, which distributed Agfa Photo in the Philippines, persuaded him to shift to photography. He received a scholarship grant from Carl Duisberg Centren in 1961, enabling him to study at the Staatliche Höhere Fachhochschule für Photographie, a highly regarded state-sponsored technical school specializing in photography in Cologne, Germany. The concept of photographic training at the school, which was considered unique at that time in Europe, set the “Cologne Photo School” apart from other training institutions, attracting many students from across the continent, the Americas, and Asia. There he met his German wife, Annamie Freiburg Gawellek, who was also a student of photography. After their studies, they settled in the Philippines and Nath managed the photo laboratory of his grand uncle’s pharmacy. He also received further training from Agfa to master darkroom processing.

Nath and Annamie worked together on many projects documenting the local art scene. After Nath’s sudden death due to heart failure in 1974, Annamie was offered his position at the CCP, which she accepted and continued until the late 70s.


Nath became a close friend and collaborator of many artists who also worked at the CCP in the 70s, including Chabet, Albano, Yolanda Perez, and Johnny Manahan. Alongside his official duties, he also pursued fine art photography and exhibited his works at the CCP and other galleries in Manila. He was included in the Philippine Pavilion curated by Arturo Luz and Chabet for the World Expo 1970 in Osaka, Japan as well as the ASEAN Mobile Exhibition of Art and Photography in 1974. His work, Lumpen Verkaufer (1970), which received a prize from the Art Association of the Philippines, is part of the permanent collection of the Ateneo Art Gallery. He has shot many portraits of artists, some of which were recently featured in the exhibition, The 70’s: Objects, Photographs & Documents, curated by Ringo Bunoan for the inauguration of the Ateneo Art Gallery’s new home at the Arete in 2018. (Ringo Bunoan)





Bunoan, Ringo. The 70s: Objects, Photographs & Documents. Quezon City: Ateneo Art Gallery, 2018.


_________________. Interview with the artist’s daughter, Annatha Lilo Gutierrez, Mandaluyong City, 2022.


De la Torre, Visitacion. Cultural Center of the Philippines: Crystal Years. Pasay City: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1984.