Beachroad Magazine meet up with Dubai based Belgian, Photographer, Artist and creative Quentin Desmit.
When spending time in Dubai where do you like to eat, socialize and shop? //
Eat… I love fine food, I see chefs as artists and love to eat where my palate will be surprised!
Socialise… I’m happy as long as my closest friends are around me, its not the location, it’s the company.
Shop… well art supply stores!
What are your thoughts on Dubai as a city and its evolution? //
I feel like I am so lucky to live in this wonderful city. The evolution of Dubai is remarkable, they have definitely defined that impossible is in fact possible. Years ago, people probably doubted their extreme vision for the city but they definitely proved anyone who doubted them wrong. The beautiful synergy between old and new Dubai is what inspires me, no matter how modern the city has become, the Emerati traditions and values always stay strong which is what I love the most.
How long have you been in Dubai and how long do you plan to stay? //
I have been in Dubai for almost 5 years now. My length of stay? That’s inevitable, I will stay as long as possible!
What advice would you give a newcomer to fine art photography? //
Stay true to yourself, your talent and your artistic vision. The art community in Dubai is growing therefore is close knit, you can meet amazingly talented people along the way who will also support your talent.
Any future plans / projects you can share with us? //
I am currently creating a few art pieces for a corporate office in Dubai. I love bringing a sense of art to offices in Dubai whilst incorporating their branding into all my artwork.
QUENTIN DESMIT ANSWERS THE BEACHROAD MAGAZINE Q&A //
NAME? // Quentin Desmit
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Restoring and designing a house – it wasn’t the most glamorous job, but gave me great experience!
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Owner of QD Creative. A boutique creative company offering photography and art services to Dubai.
WHO WERE YOUR EARLY PHOTOGRAPHIC INFLUENCES? // My Grandfather, he was a photographer for Kodak back in the 1950’s the amazing portraits he took with a traditional camera were stunning and had so much depth and a wonderful story behind each photograph. I have actually inherited his camera and just had it restored, I cant wait to test it out and see what photographs I can capture with it.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE PHOTOGRAPHY WAS FOR YOU? // I actually fell into it, my pre-discovery evolved during GCSE’s when I developed my own photos in the dark room, there is something about developing your own photos which brings a real sense of accomplishment for your creation . I am an artist by nature and photography is a beautiful form of art ‘in the moment’ – I always dabbled with photography but fell into it professionally when I moved to Dubai, I am self taught which sometimes was a struggle but at the end of the day , I think it is a major benefit as you photograph using your own creative eye not a taught one. A friend of mine had just set up a real estate company and wanted to portray property photography as an art form, which was a first for Dubai. I have always been inspired by unique architecture and as an interior designer by trade, this opportunity merged these two elements together and was perfect for me.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PHOTOGRAPHIC MOMENT YOU HAVE HAD? // I captured an amazing image with a traditional film camera, an image of a carousel in London. I cherish this image because it represents stillness and calm amongst our busy society. That’s what I love about traditional film photography because you truly capture a moment within in moment, it represents a stillness of time, unedited.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // To finish a painting in 24 hours… and wake up viewing my accomplishment
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // To disappoint a client.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // My late father painting…
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My late father. He was an amazing artist and he is the one that inspired me to take up art and photography as a profession.
YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? // That is a tough one! Yve klein, Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, Andy Warhol… the list goes on!
YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY? // Hands down - Richard Young… However, it depends on the exhibit…
IF YOU OWNED A GALLERY WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? // Why would I give that away? I may have one, one day….
IF YOU WERE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // A farmer – it would keep me busy at least!
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED ONE MORE ROLL OF FILM TO SHOOT WHAT WOULD YOU PHOTOGRAPH? // My family
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // Architectural or artistic photography. Which creates layers of meanings and interpretations.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // A wall mural, which was created directly on the wall, so I couldn’t make any mistakes! I produced this in 2 weeks, initial sketches were submitted after 3 days. It was 9m x 5m, the challenge was, I had to create an artistic skyline of Dubai after 2 days of being here - I had never stepped foot it Dubai before! I had to pat myself on the back for that, as I had no clue what the Dubai iconic buildings were apart from Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab at that time and seemed to get it completely right! It was a feat but a huge accomplishment.
PHOTOGRAPHY ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // The balance of men-made vs natural
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO LOCATION? // Al Quoz. I love the rawness and creative soul of the location.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE JOURNEY AND DESTINATION? // An unplanned journey, without a definite final destination. Travelling, without knowing where you will end up is the best thing about travelling. You meet amazing people, see amazing things off the beaten track and this is how you truly indulge in peoples cultures and heritage.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // I have no idea..
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY WHAT WOULD IT BE? // ‘Boy’ – From 1954 by Henri Cartier-Bresson
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY PHOTOGRAPHER ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Henri Cartier-Bresson
YOU CAN SPEND A DAY WITH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING, WHO WOULD IT BE? DAVID BAILEY, ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, STEVE MCCURRY, MARTIN PARR, DON MCCULLIN, ANSEL ADAMS? // Steve Mc Curry
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // It was to a friend. I bought her a Lily plant – she isn’t much of a green finger so not sure how long it will live…
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? // A brooch of a palette, which belonged to my great grandfather. He won it in a fine art competition and has been passed down from generation to generation.– this is extremely special to me and represents the art history in my family.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Always follow your dreams. Do what makes you happy.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT? // Creative thinking! When I have a project, whether it be an art or photography project, I live and breath creative ideas, much more so at night. I always strive to create something unique and I am a perfectionist at heart so constantly think of how I can go above and beyond my clients expectations. I am my worst critic!
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Being a perfectionist. My best is never good enough…
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Probably being one of the rare few who are punctual in Dubai, it does irritate me when people are late!
YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES? // Classics. They don’t make movies how they used to!
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // I have no clue!
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Anything I can let go to – body and mind. Aside from art and photography, my next biggest passion is dancing. People say I create a dance beat whilst editing photos lol! In all seriousness, The 5th Symphony of Beethoven….
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Eeek that’s a tough one! Boring, but probably Final Cut Pro X for my video editing.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // I’m too busy to read!
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // The English translation of the Quran
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I will keep that to myself…
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Anywhere where Mother Nature is at her greatest – I absolutely love natural landscapes in their pure raw beauty.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // I don’t want to offend anyone so will keep that one to myself!
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Painting. The rhythm of brush strokes whilst creating something close to my heart is definitely the most relaxing thing to me.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach
URBAN OR RURAL? // Both…. Depends on my mood
CATS OR DOGS? // Cats
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee, coffee, coffee!
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // A good comedy or great times with friends and family.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Crazy drivers on Sheikh Zayed Road!
YOUR MOTTO / MESSAGE? // Strive for your dreams, if people try to pull you down, don’t let them. You know your talent – never give up on yourself.