Montreal: Guzzo Desforges

photo by Guzzo Desforges, intro by Emily Gan

photo by Guzzo Desforges, intro by Emily Gan

For years, I only knew his name. Guzzo. The ‘u’ in his name is short - like the ‘u’ in puzzle. Mutual friends mentioned him in passing, assuming I knew him too. They would say something like, “I’m going to Guzzo’s birthday party!” And I would wonder, “who is this Guzzo? This enigma?” It turns out he’s that guy everyone wants on their team. Loved by all who know him, he really really cares. He’s also really really good at what he does. I’m lucky to call him a friend.

What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?

To be perfectly honest, I’ve got a fairly empty plate at the moment. I had a really busy summer that I’m just coming down from now. I’m trying to refine an idea for a portrait project. But there isn’t much to say about it just yet. My main project at the moment is more business than creative. It’s not very interesting.

What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?

I work full time as a freelance commercial photographer with a weekly stint as a photography teacher at a school for young adults with learning disabilities.

Working as a photographer means that there is always something new on the horizon. Even when I get hired by a returning client, the job is never the same. We’ll be shooting a different product. Or different people will be on set. Or the power in the building will go out and we won’t be able to do the shoot. Photography is also a lot of problem solving. There’s always a puzzle to figure out. It can be how to connect with the person you’re shooting or what light modifier will make the product look its best.

The teaching job is my weekly moment of zen. I work with a really great group of people. They’re all so kind and interesting. I kind of fell ass backwards into the job 6 years ago. It has allowed me to share what I do with a very special audience.

Keeping a schedule is my biggest challenge. I embrace routine yet I find myself in a domain where routine is not the norm. I try to fake it. But I get easily distracted.

In teaching, the challenge is finding different ways to explain the same thing. Not everyone learns the same way. And it won’t always be obvious what my students will respond to. There’s a lot of figuring things out on the fly.

What’s important to you?

Laughing. Good friends. Good food. Staying healthy. Always trying to improve how I do what I do. Helping others.

What do you like most/least about Montreal?

It’s where I keep my stuff. I also really like that there are still parts of Montreal that are worth exploring that I have yet to really discover. Montreal is a great collection of neighbourhoods that each have something to offer. Also, there’s an app to map out the different 3rd wave coffee shops in the city. I’m not coffee obsessed, but I really enjoy a good latte. And there is no shortage of good places to get coffee in Montreal.

My least favourite part of Montreal is starting to change. There was an immense shortage of taco restaurants for a long time. But the cries of the people have been heard and they’re starting to pop up throughout the city.

There are a lot of closed storefronts throughout the island. It’s kind of depressing. Montreal’s downtown is starting to look like “downtown anywhere”, but with more strip clubs. There are a few mega commercial developments that are basically their own suburb and it’s taking away from the unique flavour of the city.

What is your impression of Saskatchewan?

This is going to sound terrible in this context, but I haven’t really spent much time developing an impression of Saskatchewan. When I entered Saskatchewan into a Google search, the first thing that came up was the Roughriders. I’m not a football fan. So I dismissed that. The next two items were “time” and “time zone”. That’s leads me to believe that there are a number of people living outside Saskatchewan who are making appointments in Saskatchewan and are worried about showing up an hour early or late. I have a dream of driving across the country. Skipping Saskatchewan would require a lengthy detour if I want to keep it in Canada. So, though I don’t have much to say about the province now, I hope to one day get to know it well enough to say more than it’s a 2 hour time difference from Montreal.

KC: (From Proust Questionnaire): What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Selfishness. So many of the world’s problems are rooted in selfishness. From tiny things like gridlock to immense problems like environmental issues. It would be easy for us to make the whole world a better place if we tried thinking of others a little more.