Unlike many of our Teaching Artists, Faustinus Deraet’s relationship with art did not start at a young age. In fact, it started at the unlikeliest life juncture: while Faustinus was working as a sales executive at IBM.
“I realized that I spent I don’t know how many years of my life without loving what I was doing and with photography, I have this kind of passion for,” says Deraet, who was born in Belgium and grew up in Mexico.
His interest in photography was tripped when a visiting friend mentioned wanting to study the medium.
“I said, you know, that sounds kind of cool. But why photography and then I remembered that a picture is worth 1000 words. I realized it’s not true. It’s worth many thousand feelings.”
Starting out, Faustinus used film, cameras, including a Holga, which, along with his point and shoot, he calls toys – perhaps an indication of the joy he gets from shooting.
As film became too expensive a medium to maintain and to travel overseas with, he moved over to a digital format, but tried to maintain the lesson that film taught him about the value of a single shot.
“Now it’s only about making a click,” he says. “Everybody’s just like click, click, click, click, click, click, click.”
At least for me, I shoot for the nice feeling of capturing something and expressing myself and learning a lot about myself.”
He teaches his students that photography can be the same vessel of self-expression for them as it is for him. Like he does in his own practice, he encourages them to worry less about getting the “right photo.”
“It’s amazing the things that you can see without realizing that you’re shooting,” he says. He tells parents that they can look at their children’s images and understand things about them that they’re unable to articulate at their young age.
This power of photography to express submerged feeling is why he called his most recent exhibit featuring street photography “Chilango* Subconscious.” It is now on view at the Dougherty Arts Center through June 9.