Photographer Pedro Guynot de Boismenu was born in Uruguay in 1966, and renamed Pierre by the French consulate. He came to Canada in 2004, relocating to Halifax in September, 2013, where he continues to explore the world through a lens.
When and why did you become interested in the visual arts?
I was always attracted to arts, since very young, but it took me a long time to find a way that I can truly feel I could express myself. As teenager I had a short period playing drums; years later completed a degree on recording arts and tried playing guitar, bass and the Stick (stick.com). Except for drumming I was never 100% happy and it wasn’t until I picked up photography that it finally felt right. An art piece is the result of a person’s idea or vision transferred into some sort of media. An artist is a person that has the desire to express those ideas to the world. There are many vehicles to make this possible, music instruments, brushes and paint, pen and paper, etc. But what all of them have in common is that they allow the artist to transfer that idea/vision into the world. What I couldn’t do with guitar and bass I could with drums and photography. This is an emotional sometimes illogical process but when found, and worked on, it will produce great satisfaction.
Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Yes, definitively. I can’t deny the different degrees of narcissism every artist has, but in my case the first rule is that I have to feel satisfied doing it. I have to feel connected with what I produce, otherwise it becomes a hollow piece of work. Unless the photo I take is the result of an inner work I won’t find satisfaction and generally won’t produce good results.
What are the challenges of the vocation?
If you’re in it to make some money then I would say be prepared for a long hard work. If you’re in it primarily to find satisfaction then as a result of that you’ll be most like able to find some financial benefit. Art before money. But you won’t be able to have financial return if you sit on your photos. We need to take steps to promote it. And this is the main challenge I have, the business side of photography. This is a different trade and I, like many others, do not possess it. The good news is that there are much more opportunities today thanks to Internet publications and social media. I’ve been somewhat active in G+ and 500px but honestly it hasn’t translated in a single sell. I’m now working into putting some of my pictures in print and then approach some of the excellent galleries we have in Halifax to expose them.
What are the rewards?
Learning is what drives and inspire me. I’m in a constant state of work in progress, and I always find satisfaction when I learn or discover something new.
Is your creative process more 'inspirational' or 'perspirational'?
A bit of both. Today is much easier to be inspired by others work. The sheer amount of sources of inspiration, how to’s, and web sites is mind boggling. It is easy to try emulate what others do and in the process lose all creativity. Doing this becomes just a technical exercise. It works when you want to learn a new technique but I wouldn’t consider it original. Then is the other side of being inspired by others, the one that takes your brain into new territories acting as a trigger for new ideas. This is what I always look for.
What makes a good photograph?
Though question to answer! I think you will have better chances of becoming a good one if you put time and passion. Learn techniques & rules, then brake them when necessary. Take pictures every day; think about what you’ll shot, plan it and then go take photos. Read, learn from others, take art and paint class. In essence work on whatever fuel your inspiration.
Do you have a favourite photo of your own?
By nature I’m very critical of my work and I’m never 100% happy with it. But I do have a few I’m proud off. Some were not as popular in my web sites but they all have something special for me.
How have the internet and new technologies changed what you do?
I never worked on film (My old Agfamatic 110 film camera does not qualify) so I cannot say anything about the old times. However I do recognize the value and the quality of film. But digital technology brought photography to a wider number of people. Today you can take excellent photos with cameras under $500. 30 years ago that was just not possible for the majority of us. You don’t even need a camera; some smart-phones are able to produce great shots. After all, is not about the gear (for the most part) but about the photographer ideas and skills. Doing it well it provides excellent opportunity to promote your work, collaborate with others and as a source of learning. On the negative side there’s the disregard for copyrights by an increased number of people and companies. I recommend everyone with serious intention of making money from photos to read all social and photo sharing use agreements. I’m currently using several sites to show my work. I started with Google+ since almost its beginning. It’s a very dynamic, creative and collaborative community. The honest feedback from others in G+, knowledge shared freely, and being able to see what great photographers were doing helped me to improve in the beginning. I have my own blog that I use to share photos and some technical articles and then I have my portfolio and store in 500px. I find 500px is great to showcase your work and they are expanding their licensing and store options.
What are your thoughts on the state of Atlantic Canada's visual arts scene today?
I arrived in Halifax in September 2013 and I’ve been really busy settling with family and new job. But I managed to connect with a photographer group and visited some galleries in downtown. My initial impression is that Halifax has a considerably large art scene for the size of the city. I love this city!
What's next on your own creative agenda?
I want to print a batch of 10~20 photos in different sizes and expose them in galleries. I feel there’s something paper gives to the photo that you’ll never have on computer monitors. This brings a new and challenging project for me, I will have to learn the art of shooting and or editing with print in mind. Be conscious of color gamut and space, monitor and print calibration, etc. Maybe I should start with B&W only! Since I’m new in NS I will be shooting places, people and things as I travel through the province. Maybe I can make a NS theme exposition and a book.