by Jacqui Busick
Photography by Jacqui Busick
Brian Pu Ruiz, a sophomore business major at Wentworth Institute of Technology, has only lived in the Boston area since he was 16. Before that, he grew up in Guatemala, where his entire family is from. Recently, by way of the widely followed @igboston Instagram account, he and his camera have had a shot at Insta-fame. The Buzz sat down with Ruiz to talk all things photography, college, Instagram and Boston.
The Buzz: Any plans with your business degree?
Ruiz: What I want to do is to start my own company and brand myself, basically. Since I was little I loved to sew and make stuff out of fabric with my hands. So one day I decided to make bracelets and I started to contact people and watched tutorials on how people became business owners and that’s when I decided to start my own product line.
The Buzz: How did you get into photography?
Ruiz: When I started making my bracelets, and also handbags, I was like, ‘Okay, now that I have the products, how am I going to promote [them]?’ I started taking pictures with my phone and it wasn’t good enough. And then I started borrowing people’s cameras and started playing around with them. And I found photography to be like an escape for me.
The Buzz: What device do you use the most to take your photos?
Ruiz: I do mostly DSLR. When I don’t have my camera, I use my iPhone. But I rarely post iPhone pictures. [My camera] is a Nikon D3300.
The Buzz: How did you become part of the @igboston community?
Ruiz: With @igboston you need to become a member. There’s a whole application process. And that was kind of discouraging, because I was like, ‘Oh, so it’s an exclusive club’ and I didn’t quite like that. And so I just kept building off my pictures of Boston because I loved exploring it and capturing it. That’s when I started using hashtags because I wanted other people to enjoy what I took. So I didn’t see [using hashtags] as desperate; I saw it as a way to communicate with people. Then I applied for my membership and got my challenge, my challenge was accepted and I became a member after that.
The Buzz: What was your challenge?
Ruiz: My challenge was to take a picture that would incorporate TD Garden somehow. And I was playing around with my camera with long exposure shots, so I always brought my tripod everywhere. I kept taking long exposure shots of trains coming in and out of the station. I started with one at Northeastern and then one of the Red Line and then I didn’t have the Orange. So then, the Orange line gets off right beneath the TD Garden, and I decided to take [a photo] of it and I was like, ‘Woah.’ And with editing it looked better and @igboston liked it!
The Buzz: What, in your opinion, is the purpose of @igboston?
Ruiz: I always look at what they post and sometimes I think it’s unworthy of posting, but then I figured out that it can’t be the same shot over and over again. It has to be something different, something that people aren’t expecting, something that people haven’t seen before. And I feel like their purpose is to spread more awareness of how beautiful Boston is.
The Buzz: How does it work?
Ruiz: So, if @igboston likes a picture that I post on my personal account, it will get featured on their page. Only members get their pictures posted there, but the on other account, @igersboston, all you have to do is hashtag “igersboston” and anyone can get featured there.
The Buzz: What is your goal, or something you are working towards, with your photography?
Ruiz: Right now I’m trying to make more creative content. I posted one picture with my hand and the little heart and Boston ivy; that’s incorporating Boston but it’s also showing my creative side. It got a lot of great feedback. I’m trying to be myself instead of what other people think I should be. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it. But there are people out there who will support it and will connect somehow with the picture, and that’s what I want the most. I’ve met so many photographers here and one of them said, ‘If I post a picture and it doesn’t get featured, I take it down, or I feel terrible about myself.’ And I’m like, ‘You shouldn’t feel like that; it’s your creativity. Do you.’ And when you work so hard to get featured, what you do becomes a job, and nobody wants to do something that’s required––you want to have fun with it. People who have more fun with it grow faster. And that’s what I feel like I’m doing now.
Follow Brian on his journey at @thepreppyhispanic