In Conversation with Jack Barrueto

Kat Rajwar



Jack Barrueto is a Sydney Based, photographer and designer. Vertigo caught up with him to chat about his upcoming exhibition at Goodspace Gallery, ‘Talk To Me and You’ll Understand’. The exhibition is “a series photographic and moving image works prefaced by the desire to escape the pressures and stimulus of everyday life”. We chatted about whether smartphone cameras are sufficient for good photography, the distinctions between film and digital photography, and the beauty in the mundane.


Be sure to catch his show on Wednesday 27 March from 6pm. One night only.


Do you want to begin by giving us some insight into what ‘Talk To Me and You’ll Understand’ is about?

I’d hate to try and pin it down too narrowly, but the series is inspired by a personal desire to find sanctuary in the complexity and speed of everyday life.


What kind of camera/ equipment are you shooting with? Digital or film? Do you find you have a preference?

I pretty much exclusively shoot with film. Like most people my age I started off using a digital camera just to get familiar with the medium and then transitioned to film after the fact. A lot of what is said about film is commonly recognised as cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true. For me, the speed that film forces you work at is what drew me to it in the first place and continues to draw me to it still. I was always told that you have to be more intentional with film and that it slows you down, but I never actually knew what that meant until I shot my first roll, and I haven’t gone back.


Do you think that good equipment is necessary for great photography, or can great work be captured on say, an iPhone camera?

I’ve always thought that gear was a highly personal decision because it entirely depends on your workflow. For example; if you prefer to walk when making images, you would most likely go with a camera that is more portable than, lets say, an 8×10 view camera; whereas if you had a car, the desire, and the means to work with large format then perhaps you would go with that. There are instances where better gear can aid your creative process, but in a general sense I don’t think it really matters. I think that success in a photograph resides in a harmony between technique and intuition, with the right balance being achieved through a successful overlapping of the two, much like a venn diagram. When it comes to photography, I’m usually interested in the way that a person experiences the world, and when I’m looking at their work, I want that to be communicated to me. So if that is achieved by the most expensive camera in the world, or the cheapest, it doesn’t matter to me.


From what I’ve seen, your exhibition captures the beauty in ordinary everyday objects and surroundings. Are you providing a commentary on anything here?

I’ve always been drawn to scenes that subvert what is perhaps deemed ‘traditionally’ beautiful ever since I picked up a camera. On some basic level I might be trying to communicate something, there might be some kind of elegance, or beauty I can’t fully explain when I encounter a subject, but the meaning or connections come later in the creative process either through editing or sequencing. When I am photographing, the process feels very intuitive, but also intentional, where I’m looking at the world around me with curiosity and playfulness. If anything that might be what I’m trying to ‘say’ or perhaps inspire, is to have a sense of curiosity and playfulness when looking at the world.


How did photography arrive in your life? Were you exposed to the craft at a young age?

Actually yes, my mum has always photographed my sister and I, our entire lives are documented in dozens of photo albums. I have vivid memories of early childhood where my mum would be walking around with a camera in hand, and I feel that, whether I like it or not, that influence has subconsciously shaped my own photographic habits.


In 2019, why is art more important than ever? How can we make art accessible to everyone?

I feel that art will always be important, no matter what year or century it is. It’s a nice counterbalance to the seriousness and speed of the status quo.


The title ‘Talk To Me and You’ll Understand’ suggests  a conversation. Are you trying to engage in a dialogue with your audience? What would you like them to take away from the exhibition?

I’m not sure. I hope they’ll find meaning in the work, and bring their own experiences to aid in their interpretation of it. I’m not necessarily trying to start a dialogue about any particular subject but rather invite the audience to create their own dialogue, stories or connections about the images and their potential meaning. The title, more or less, is a reference to this sentiment. Since it’s a work in progress I hope that this show will aid in the development of the work and its final form as a book in the near future.