We are excited to announce that photographer Gonzalo Benard will be judging the Looking Up Photo Contest at ViewBug.

Gonzalo shared with us some thoughts and answered a couple of questions giving us great value and inspiring all of us to go out and take more photos.

Hi Gonzalo, when did you start taking photos?

At very young age, I remember with 13yo, carrying my father’s gear, I asked him a camera for me, so he gave me a job (painting the walls of the patio) to be paid with a camera. The first roll that I developed had a photo that I send to a contest and I won the 1st prize with it. With the prize money I took a summer course of photography.

Is a photographer born with the creativity and photographic eye or do you learn during the years?

You do learn with experience, the more you shoot the more you educate your eyes. But once again I was lucky to have a father who was curator of the National Ancient Art Museum, so I spent lots of time there, including taking naps in front of Hieronymous Bosch paintings, and this is the best way to learn: with the great masters of painting. You can learn a lot about composition, light, etc. I then followed fine arts and history of arts and have been an artist/creator all my life, so photography for me has been a mean of expression. On my blog 2HeadS (gbenard.wordpress.com) where I write about photography, I often do references to great masters in painting to give examples and some inspiration tips.

 

Have you ever been at risk when taking a photo? Tell us the story:

What would be life without taking risks? I recall in Africa where I decided to jump the fences of an airport do take a shot of an air force jet from bellow as I always loved air force planes… but I was so focused on the best angle that I didn’t realise that it was ready to fly… In Tibet I broke my leg on a cliff, in one of those fantastic bridges made with bamboo to be able to shoot the cliff from above. Needless to say that I did the whole bridge afterwards lay down over it like a white leech without breathing. The camera lies at the bottom of the cliff now.
But maybe the most terrifying experience was when I took a 2 seats glass bubble helicopter to fly across Himalayas, 2 hours with a crazy young pilot who decided to test it… and me. I will never forget his eyes’ gaze as of a crazy-happy-hallucinated-high-on-LSD. He was just having a natural blast though, really enjoying the “toy”. All ended up well, but I guess I needed couple weeks to feel my blood again. In fact, what I remember the most in this trip, is his face expressions and the feeling of the glass bubble touching/scratching all the rocks and tops of the mountains.

 

What photographers inspire you?

Mostly those who did break the rules in creative photography, from Man Ray to Roger Ballen, Joel-Peter Witkin, Hans Bellmer, Erwin Olaf, Gilbert & George. But also the ones whose work has been always more sociological as a “voyeur” (observer), like Sebastiao Salgado, Mario Cravo Neto (staged/conceptual), Cristina García Rodero or Alberto Garcia-Alix.

 

A big thank you to Gonzalo for sharing his thoughts with us!