GONZALO BENARD.

AN INTERVIEW.

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How did you start taking pictures?

Was 13yo when I got my first camera and with the first film I won the first prize of a photo contest inter schools and with the money I took a photography summer course. But for a few years I kept drawing, writing and painting more than shooting. Photography was only a second plan to express myself. However, with 14yo I had my first exhibition in an important art gallery, with collages made with my own photos, representing kind of hybrids over yellow maths’ papers.

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Where do you get inspiration from?

Usually on people’s nonsense, sometimes in music, like jazz. It’s most of the times a subconscious process I guess. I do play a lot in my work with human nonsense, playing with gender, religion, etc I don’t understand society’s labels either, so I try to make the mix of them to create new unlabeled stuff. Also from people’s feelings that I don’t understand, like loneliness as I never felt it, so I started shooting the B Shot by a Stranger to observe/spy on the loners moods, putting myself in their place, not being there.

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Do your dreams or nightmares have anything in common with your work?

Indeed, most of my self portraits are taken in the morning when my consciousness is not awaken still, so no filters, this means that the whole thing comes from the subconscious, most of it from dreams. Dreams happen when we are worried and keep the worries in the back of the mind, so I let them go out, expressing still in that numb state of mind before morning coffee. Usually I have very bad mood mornings before coffee…

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Why did you choose to work with black and white?

Colours can to be very distracting, and once I work more with concepts and feelings I prefer not to get anything that can distract from the main issue. For colour we already have the world itself. Also if you want to represent moods it’s easier for you to focus on it if there’s no colours. Colours can mix up everything and destroy the message of the concept. If you don’t like the main colour, it will be difficult for you to go deeper and beyond to reach the photograph’s concept.

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Are there any artists that you admire? 

For sure, most of them were the breakers, the creators who broke the rules in their works. In painting I love Hieronymus Bosch or Francis Bacon for example. In photography I admire a lot. Some of them are Joel-Peter Witkin, Roger Ballen, Francesca Woodman, Erwin Olaf, Jan Saudek, Pieter Hugo, or Michael Wolf, just to name a few.

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Has your photography changed you in any way?

I was much more into painting and drawing when I went through a motorbike accident and a coma, so for some time I had to stop painting as I was painting large scale, and photography came as therapy and a way of expression, that’s the main reason why I started doing self portraits few years ago. Also, with my painting background, photography came to re-educate my eyes, on how one sees reality. Photography is the now, the moment captured. In painting you can represent the past, not in photography. So it made me more aware and more living the present, or the now moment.

http://www.gbenard.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gonzalo-Benard-Photography/190412092034

Interview by Emma Elina Keira Jones.

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