While some companies leave, everyday new initiatives and valuable business projects are born in Venezuela, very particularly among those below their thirties. The entrepreneurship vocation of Venezuelan youth has places this South American country in the 10th position (out of 54 economic systems) analysed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). Although the quotation ”from the deepest crisis come the best opportunities” might be seen as a cliché, it would seem that this is the rule for Venezuela, given the different alternatives the country offers when it comes to starting a business, in great contrast with the complex situation it goes through.
Anabella Padula, social communicator and passionate photographer, is one of the many Venezuelans who choose to trust in domestic entrepreneurship. In November 2012 she decided to start a company that allowed her clients to capture their best moments through her lens. Her dream was finally materialised in January 2013, when she founded, with partner María Fernanda Navarro, a company named Bonshot.
These two young Venezuelan ladies decided to defy the adverse circumstances and manipulate them in their favour and, one year and a half later, they lead a company that offers spotless, very creative and artistically powerful pictures that take the niches that are not left behind by regular photography and depicts reality through a new perspective, Bonshot’s perspective.
Anabella Padula has exclusively spoken to Panamerican World to tell us about her experience as a Venezuelan photography entrepreneur.
PW: Why Venezuela?
AP: Here I have opportunities and all the work I want to have. Everyday I get up to the good news that there’s a new client and that’s why I bet on my country, Venezuela is showing me that my company can grow here. This is our country and this is where I come from, I will always belong here, I will always be a Venezuelan talent.
PW: If you had to make a visual composition about Venezuela, what places would you take as reference?
AP: To me Cerro del Ávila (a hill) is crucial, at least in terms of Caracas only, but it has always been a great source of inspiration. It’s a place that gives me energy and it has been, of course, an important reference in my life. It can do it all: sunrises and sunsets are ideal to photography from the Cerro, and walking through it and discovering the city from that particular point gives you a marvellous perspective to reproduce through a lens.
I have just arrived from Switzerland, a country with fantastic landscapes, but I don’t change our Cerro del Ávila for anything on the world, to me it’ll always be the best.
PW. What colour is Venezuela through your lens?
AP: To me, Venezuela has a kind of blue filter, that sometimes turns orange. Those are our country’s colours for my lens. Sunsets by the sea have always inspired me, Venezuelan beaches are very different from those around the globe. The deep blue sea in Los Roques and the orange of sunsets are the most perfect colours for me to represent the country.
PW: In three phrases only, what does it take to carry on a successful entrepreneurship in Venezuela bearing in mind the complex economic situation?
AP: Starting a business will never be an easy task. It takes a lot of persistence and an honest wish to achieve a goal.
It is necessary to understand that sacrifice is part of becoming an entrepreneur. You must sacrifice time or some liberties, but in the long run, these are just small things in comparison to the pleasure of dealing with a business of your own.
Starting a business means that you must love what you see materialised. Hard work is a must in order to grow up.
PW: How was Bonshot born? Was it about making a profitable business from a passion?
AP: I must tell you that my first picture was in the course of Roberto Mata (a well known Venezuelan photographer) in a trip to the state of Guárico, I took a picture of a kid there. I just couldn’t believe that that picture had been taken by me, that I could capture that moment, and it was then when I realised that this is what I liked most. That was the starting point for my photography. Back then I used to make a lot of photography for documentaries and portraits to people in the streets.
The company came out as my will to grow in this area. I worked independently for three years, and I made all kinds of pictures, I did it all. María Fernanda Navarro, who is my partner today, worked with me and I used to recommend her every time I couldn’t make it for an event. By this panorama I knew that I needed to partner with Mafe (short for María Fernanda) and we created Bonshot in January 2013.
PW: Do you see in Venezuela a good market for your kind of photography?
AP: There will always be opportunities in Photography. This is a market that can be expanded to all areas, people will always want to capture their most significant moments and there will always be someone willing to sell.
Venezuela is a very consumer society and as long as you have your client, you can sell them the need to be in social network, for example, there will always be a market to exploit and chances to take.
I think that in Venezuela , despite its circumstances and crises, people always want to have fun or find a distraction, and that means job to me, it gives me a chance.
PW: What advantages or difficulties does the Venezuelan entrepreneur meet?
AP: With a low initial budget, the main dilemma were, of course, prises. Every entrepreneur faces the question ”what’s the value of my service?”, and one year and a half, we have found that value.
It’s necessary to understand that every entrepreneurship comes from a great passion, from something that you really enjoy doing, and as long as you’re passionate everything’s going to work well.
Everything implies sacrifice, and some see this as a disadvantage, but to me is an advantage, because I’ll then see the results.
The good thing about this business is that you get to do something different every day. Our job is based on capturing moments and when you give your final work to your clients and they answer back with a smile on their faces, that makes you want to go on. You learn new things everyday and that is also a great advantage.
PW: What’s Bonshot’s the distinguishing feature? Is it the key to your success?
AP: Bonshot sells you a ”clean” picture, with a fantastic production, it’s not just getting somewhere and start taking pictures; we look for the perfect place, the perfect light, and the perfect composition. That’s the key to our success. Bonshot has a photographic filter that indicates that a picture is ours, it identify us and that’s fundamental in this area. We want artistic pictures. You have to know where to place a person to get good results.
Our personal treatment is also a distinguishing feature. We do everything that’s in our hands to make the client trust us and they usually come back asking for more pictures.
PW. Tell us about your experience with the brands you’ve worked for.
AP: In the commercial area, we’ve worked with great brands that are very important for our country, such as EPK, we have even made advertising campaigns for it (including Disney) and from that experience we were selected to work in Switzerland.
We’ve also worked with the Venezuelan design brand Tarbay. We’ve taken all the pictures for their catalogues, focusing on the products of their last four campaigns. We’ve worked with the network photographies of Rapsodia that, despite being an Argentinian brand, we manage contents here in Venezuela.
All the graphic coordination of the magazine Estética y Salud is by Bonshot – we’re talking about 14 editions. We support the campaigns for Yanbal in Venezuela, a Peruvian company, and Kellogg, one of our greatest clients, we do all their pictures for social networks.