Interview with David del Pilar Potes


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My first question is about your arrangements. How do you choose an arrangement of photos? Is there a narrative to each gallery? Do you have a narrative in mind for “Jammin with Ash”?

Each gallery on my site has photos shot from either different times and/or places. Each gallery does have a theme; it depends how each group of images I’ve selected moves me.

The photos shown together help the dynamic in each group. Each photo I think helps the other photo. I’ve tried to maintain a rhythm in each gallery, a visual rhythm, trying to convey visual poetry almost.

I love how you mix seascapes with urban settings with portrait. Different subject matter but it all fuses together so well. Can you expand on this dynamic and the unity your arrangements create?

All the different images create a dynamic that somehow makes each subject cohesive. It is intended, but it’s not like I go out and try to find trees or oceans and food and friends. I happen to have my camera with me and document my life around me. I’m trying to provoke emotion through the selections and if you have responded to them I am stoked that you can feel it…

These photos seem to me works of art. Almost every one of them, I would say is “art”. Are these pictures you take off the cuff? Or do you patiently wait for the right moment?

As a photographer timing is essential to the shot. Most of my photography is off the cuff, but sometimes I do wait for the moment, especially shooting people. I appreciate you considering my work art! I approach my photography as my art.

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What is your “method”? Do you take hundreds of photos and one or two come out to look so beautiful?

You know, I am shooting constantly. Each finished roll I throw in a bag until it reaches to around 20-30 rolls then I send out to process them. So the 20-30 rolls, each with around 36 images each, is sometimes shot in a period of 3-6 months.

My method is the editing process. With each roll there are so many images. Some rolls I have maybe one photo I like, some 2-3, and so forth, editing down the batches of rolls and creating a “gallery” for them. If I could I would publish each “gallery” as a book; that is sorta how I intended them to be.

Can you talk about process? I know nothing about photography. Do you work in a dark room?

I shoot all b&w film in which I process the rolls. From there I would print in a dark room and/or scan the negatives.

Do you also take pictures in color but choose not to display color photos on your site? Why do you like black and white?

I do shoot color but I haven’t delved too deeply in it just yet. I plan to, I’m just not ready for it, art-wise. I actually have a big bag of color rolls I haven’t processed. I have around 100 rolls or so that I’ve shot the past 3-4 years or so. That’s gonna be fun when I tackle that… with b&w I do love the emotion it provokes, the grain you can feel, the simpleness of it, the contrasts…

In your bio you describe yourself by saying, “However, with his background in self-publishing, he strives to move within multiple genres of the medium. ” Can you explain a little more what you are doing in terms of “moving within multiple genres of the medium”?

The past couple years I’ve integrated my career into my photography. For work I shoot commercial photography. I have different portfolios that I’m still figuring out how to integrate on my site. I have a difficult time separating the two, right now its oil & water, trying to combine them both.

It shouldn’t be so hard, but initially I want to present myself as an artist. So the past years I’ve been trying to integrate my work as an artist by collaborating with other artists, creating different zines, apparel, trying to get my fingers in different projects. And as a commercial photographer, I’m trying to get different gigs shooting product and fashion. The whole art & commerce has a balance I’m trying to find.

Last but not least, why photography? Why did you choose to express yourself and create art primarily through this medium? And if you practice other creative arts, tell me what they are?

You know I never aspired to become a “photographer”. I’ve been shooting for the past 15-16 years now and finally committed as a “photographer” about 2 years ago. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I stopped writing in my early 20s because I felt I needed to live a life to even write about one. I’m a poet at heart and my images I create allow me to have some release creatively.


More of David del Pilar Potes’s photography can be found at his website.

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