Grace Peguese, founder of GPEG Photography, had her start as an architectural and street photographer, but quickly expanded into portrait, food, and product photography. While GPEG Photography was founded around five years ago - Peguese has had an interest in photography for as long as she can remember. In this interview, she goes in depth about the story and inspiration behind her photo submitted to the Black Women Photographers x Flickr x SmugMug 2021 Grant.
1. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been into photography?
Hi! My name is Grace and I am the founder of GPEG Photography. I started GPEG about five years ago, though I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I began as an architectural and street photographer, but quickly expanded into portrait, food, and product photography while at university.
2. In one sentence, please describe what you captured in this shot.
My grandmother sitting at her kitchen table writing notes while her great grandchild runs away from getting his hair done. ☺
3. Why did you select this photo to share?
I submitted this photo to the SmugMug, Flickr, and Black Women Photographers 2021 Grant – the theme of this year’s grant was “The Intimacy of Change” and I thought this was the best photo in my repertoire that highlighted my interpretation of change. As I wrote in my submission, this photo is one of my most intimate, and most treasured, candid shots. It shows my grandmother at her dining room table, writing her numbers as she’s done my whole life, and her great-grandson, running around the house. To me, it is the perfect representation of how things have changed so much but have still remained the same.
4. What style of photography would you describe this as and do you typically take photographs in this style?
This photograph feels like a serendipitous candid – as a street photographer first and foremost, I believe this kind of happy accident fits my overall style.
5. When and where was this photo taken?
I took this photo on Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house in Detroit.
6. Was anyone with you when you took this photo?
Besides my beautiful subjects, my father and aunt were also in the living room while I took this photo from the dining room.
7. What equipment (hardware and software) did you use?
Fujifilm X100V, edited in Lightroom CC.
8. What drew you to take this photo?
There are a few reasons why I was drawn to this image – aesthetically, I loved the way the light from the window illuminated my grandmother’s hair. Personally, I really wanted to memorialize the mundane with this photo, especially as we collectively found ourselves in the midst of “uncertain times”. My grandmother was also 90 years old in this photo (she recently celebrated her 92nd birthday!), so I felt even more motivated to take as many pictures of and with her as possible.
9. How many attempts did it take to get this shot? How long did it take you to get one that you were satisfied with?
This was a one and done! There was no time to dedicate to composing the shot, just a quick take so that I could capture my baby cousin before he entirely ran out of the frame (and before my grandmother noticed I was taking a picture). I really wanted this shot to be as candid as possible – a snapshot of what I was seeing so I could return to I as I became a bit isolated again due to the pandemic. I didn’t necessarily want to pose or lose the spontaneity of the shot so it was critical that I got it right on the first attempt.
10. Did you edit (or do any post-processing/production on) this photo?
Yes, very minimal tweaks to increase contrast, and of course transform it from color to black and white. I used one of my favorite B&W presets packs by Greg Noire to start, and then added my own little edits to match my style.
11. What encouraged you to share this photo online and with others?
I shared this photo initially as my submission for the Black Women Photographers x Flickr grant mentioned above. This was the first time I had ever shared this photo with anyone outside of my immediate family, so I was quite pensive about releasing it. Luckily the BWP community is so kind and welcoming that my worries were soon washed away. I was fortunate enough to become a finalist for the grant and even as more people outside of the BWP community were able to view the image, I was continually met with kind words. I’m so very grateful to everyone who has shared their opinions about my image!
12. Did you learn anything in the process of taking, editing, or sharing this photo?
I’m still a little shocked at the reception of this picture. I’ve always loved this shot but as it seemed so deeply personal, I couldn’t imagine it evoking any emotions for anybody outside of my own family really.
13. Do you remember what you had for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) the day you took this photo?
I had Christmas dinner early! In fact I think I ate Christmas dinner for every meal between Christmas Eve and December 26th ☺.
14. What would you like people to take away from this photo?
The ordinary can be such an unexpectedly fruitful place to ground your art.
15. Is there any feedback that you’d like to get on this shot?
Yes! I am open to any constructive criticism on how I could’ve made this shot better.
16. How can anyone reading this support your work?