Miren Pastor

“Being a good photographer was never really my goal. I discovered the photo book as a form of expression that enabled me to go out and explore when I was at art school. My art is a way of life and a quest to get to know myself better. This is evidenced by my life’s work, Bidean. I have twice self-published a photo book and organised an exhibition under this title. Bidean is Basque for ‘on the way’.

The project is about change, in particular coming of age. I tell the narrative by following and photographing my younger brother Ander and – in parallel – photographing nature. I do not aim for a pre-determined result; I follow my intuition, take my time and immerse myself in the process. The third Bidean that I’m working on at present will be about what it’s like to leave the bubble of freedom of your childhood. A dive into choppy water. Which is why the sea forms the backdrop."

 

Resilience & Perseverance

“I can only follow my intuition if I have income. And so I combine my own projects with paid work for the Blank Paper school of photography in Madrid, of which I am an alumna. This means that I work almost every day, including weekends, and on weekdays I often work more than 12 hours. My social life suffers as a result. That is not a good thing, but when you’re really passionate about something, you don’t care. Fortunately my boyfriend Víctor shares my love of photography. Like me, he is a photographer and the founder of the La Troupe collective, which I also work for.

“To make room for my own work I have to ‘buy’ time. I want to do everything under my own management, and so for my first Bidean in 2014 I worked with a bank credit. Nowadays I manage to scrape together the money I need. It is wonderful to be free to take pictures and not have to worry about money. And so I was also really happy with the commission (to take photographs for the ING Collection) I got after winning the Unseen Talent Award public award. The award generated a lot of publicity for me and expanded my international network. That has led to contacts with collectors and proposals for exhibitions.

 

Inspiration

“Looking at other artists’ work opens your eyes. The American photographer Christian Patterson, who I’ve worked with, is a major source of inspiration. He made his name with the photo book Redheaded Peckerhood, about a pair of teenage serial killers in the desolate American Midwest of the 1950s. His work is a unique mix of archive pictures and his own photographs – with different contexts. I also draw inspiration from film directors like David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch and painters such as Magritte and Hopper, because of their ability to challenge society in a poetic way. My head is filled with a bombardment of images and so it is good for me to focus on a very clearly defined project.

 

Top will

“My sights are not set on reaching the top of the photography world. I simply want to create as much freedom as possible for the journeys that are the creation of my books. I am prepared to sacrifice a lot for that."