Mark Aguirre, a fourth-year art and art history student, doesn’t only strive for excellence inside the classroom, but outside of it as well. With a graduation exhibition coming up and a constant social media presence lingering around, Aguirre is keen on capturing the best form of photography.
Aguirre is specializing in photography—a program that has helped kick-start his interest in the subject even further.
“I’m in the art and art history program, which is a joint program between UTM and Sheridan,” he explains to me, “You pick a stream—drawing, photography, sculpture—and my stream in particular is photography, so we learn a bunch of things about digital [photography] and film. My particular speciality, or what I focus on, is film.”
I wanted to further understand the kind of work he and his peers are focused on bouncing off each other. I assume that like him, many of his classmates are grateful to be surrounded by people who are preoccupied with the same medium. After all, prominent intellects like Picasso and Matisse formed friendships that fuelled each other’s artistic ideas. Art circles, it seems, have been important throughout history.
However, Aguirre tells me that although he and his peers may not directly collaborate together, they do work alongside one another. “When you’re surrounded by other creatives, it motivates you to create.”
Aguirre also says that when he gets to take photos of his friends, they’re the ones who inspire him to create what he comes up with.
“I try to evoke an array of human moments and emotions and I get a lot of inspiration from my friends who I take photos of. I usually try to blend reality and imagination,” Aguirre says.
I ask him if any of this matters with the right type of camera. Is there a wrong kind of camera or can a photographer pick up anything and run with it?
“I use an array of cameras,” he explains. “Sometimes they’re more experimental, but one of my main cameras is an R7 67.”
I don’t recognize the name right away, but he reassures me when he says, “If you remember the Windows desktop paper with the hills? That one is filmed with that camera.”
“The iPhone has been getting progressively more advanced. I don’t know, maybe one day it can replace a DSLR—in terms of even in the fashion industry, I use a point-and-shoot occasionally for my photos and so have other fashion photographers.”
Cameras are as good as the people who use them. When he describes the ideal camera, Aguirre gives props to photographers like American fashion photographer Terry Richardson. Mostly known for his Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford shoots.
Aguirre states, “He’s a really well-known photographer […] and he uses a particular point-and-shoot—the Yashika T4. The prices of the camera went up ever since it became public knowledge that he uses it.”
Although Aguirre may speak highly of one photographer, he says that his attention is not usually captured by any certain artist. It is a collaborative effort in terms of what to see, what to watch, and how to incorporate it artistically. “I’m not really particularly inspired by other photographers per se, but more so like film and cinema, and I channel that into my photography because I’m just inspired by moments and capturing photos that are more cinematic.”
In order to get the right kind of exposure, I know that social media must be an important tool for Aguirre. When I ask if he promotes himself this way, he tells me that he does have an Instagram page and uses it to help support his art.
“I feel like photography now in terms of getting exposure and jobs nowadays has become more integrated with social media in a way,” he says.
“Your Instagram,” he says, “is kind of like your resume now.”