Besides the two owners Zoe Mezas and Pekula Starke, other people have contributed to the projects of Talking Prints. They have become a community that supports our way of being and vision which is all about helping and empowering each other. We call this our Tribe of support”.
In this blog we highlight the people who we collaborate with.
Name : Gervaldo Francisco Sloot
Residence : Suriname
3 qualities about myself:
1 I am very creative in many ways although I sometimes have little dips in motivation to start on a project. So it takes a minute for me to get the ball rolling but once its rolling I love it.
2 I often switch between being introverted and extroverted depending on who I am around, which is also a reason I really wanted to start shooting portraits of people because it would be a way to kind of force myself to be more sociable on command if you will. So far it seems to be working great, sometimes I sweat a little cuz im nervous when meeting someone new but I really love those shoots where I meet someone new and the pictures look great.
3 I love swimming against the tide, whether its with music or photography, if I see that most of the people in my area are focusing on one type of genre or one way of doing things I like to think of a different way of looking at it. Maybe from a different angle or even just try to make it my own instead of following the trend. I don’t know if it always works out well but it does tend to give me a little bit more of a style that I can call my own and I enjoy that very much.
What does your daily life look like:
With the lockdown it mostly involves me waking up with the sun in my face (this is on purpose because I hate being woken up by a loud alarm. So, I leave my window open and the sun slowly wakes me up instead, as well as getting me some sunshine since we all stay inside a little more nowadays heheh). Once I’m awake I check my calendar to see if I have any school/college work to do, if I don’t, I enjoy watching some video essays on YouTube while rolling around in bed. Once I am fully awake, I take a shower and I try to have toast with cheese/peanut butter and lemon tea every morning. If I have any photography jobs I have to edit I usually try to work on them between 12pm and 3pm or again later on between 9pm and 11pm if I was distracted earlier in the day. On my editing process, I usually work in photoshop and I rarely ever save my files. I try to edit everything once through, save it, and look back at it after a few hours or even a few days later. If I do not like it I will edit the entire thing again from the start. Whether it helps or not I feel like this gives me a clean slate to edit a picture I like better instead of working from a saved file with a picture I don’t like as much and falling back into the same editing process. If I don’t have any school work I often try to paint or watch a movie. I’ve been trying to force myself to read at least 1 hour everyday but if I’m honest I have failed haha. Maybe I shall cut the time down a little bit and try again. Most everything else in my day is subject to change but no matter what I try to go for a walk in the garden after feeding my dogs everyday around 5.30/6pm to get some sunshine, fresh air as well as enjoy the golden hour turning into the sundown. There’s a certain meditative quality to just standing there and taking in the beauty of it all.
If we take a look at the story behind Talking Prints. What speaks to you the most?
In all honesty when I first reached out to work with talking prints I had no idea that they had such a rich and wonderful story behind them, I was just a fan of their tote bags and an even bigger fan of their headwraps haha. But as I met Pekula the first time she told me the story and I have been lucky enough to accompany both Pekula as well as Zoe to some of the tribes where some of the products are made. As wonderful as the story is about getting these women jobs and paid well is, what speaks to me the most is probably seeing them sit together with all of the women and speak/discuss how they will come to agreements, how they will make sure everybody is happy. Because it really shows me that they care about the women who work on the products and I adore that quality in people.
Which item of the Talking Prints collection you like the most and why?
Without a doubt this will have to be the headwraps lol. If we’re talking about myself, I have dreads and the bigger headwrap has always been a great accessory to my fashion style as well as just a very practical way of keeping my crazy hair in line. The Rasta headwrap will most likely replace my current favorite headwraps because of how big it is and I can already see it hanging off of my head almost like a mix of a headwrap and a scarf and I love it. But the product I like the most overall will most likely be the half faux leather tote bags, I could not rock them but seeing them on any of my female friends always looks amazing, the contrast between the deep blacks and the colours is just wonderful to my eye especially considering how I love playing with colours in my images as well.
If you think of improvement and growth for Talking Prints, what would be your suggestions?
I’m not quite sure what to say here, I’m a big fan of their products and I can only see them improving gradually and constantly. Its really inspiring to see and makes me want to grow with them as well.
How do see yourself growing in and outside of Talking Prints
I am not sure where I heard it or who said it but a quote that is always in the back of my mind when working with costumers who are a business, in this case mostly product photography, is something along the lines of; if you want them to pay you more you must first help them get more revenue.
Hahah and I suppose that’s how I see myself growing inside of talking prints when it comes to my photography, I want to keep working with them and growing along side them as long as they
1. Enjoy having me and working with me
2. Hopefully gain them more and more revenue as a cause of better and better content/photography.
When it comes to growing outside of Talking Prints
I have made and continue to make most of my revenue from doing product shoots and shooting for companies/ organizations. Although I also enjoy doing different types of photography, so I’m hoping to expand a little more into more artistic photography, working with artists I really enjoy in the local scene, maybe even a little street photography but that ones just a guilty pleasure. A lot of friends I have and people I know online are very artistic and talented so I’m hoping to help them out with some photoshoots as well even if that won’t make me much money.
Share a fun experience you had with Talking Print
My favorite experience is the Galibi trip when they shot the Makoki bag short story, it was terrifying to be on a little boat with so much camera gear I was so anxious but it was well worth it. On the last day I could barely sleep, I’m not sure why but I decided to just get up since I can’t sleep anyway and I walked around Galibi at 4/5am till the sun came up and took what I still consider to be my favorite picture of just the tree’s and a single inhabitant of Galibi.