Creative Patapatai

Coni Flores

Coni Flores loves Whakarewarewa Forest and believes happiness is a state of mind. Discover more about this dynamic local photographer below…

Your occupation, job title, artistic discipline (or very brief description of what you do)

I am a photographer. My passion is landscape photography, and I also do commercial photography and I run photography workshops in the Bay of Plenty, which has become my main focus over the last few months.

What cities/towns have you lived in (or spent more than a few months in) beginning with the place of your birth? 

I was born in Santiago, Chile. I left home at the age of 23, and lived in the Gold Coast in Australia for one year, and then Melbourne for 3 years, and Christchurch for one and a half years. We also spent 3 months hiking in Nepal in 2018 carrying out a photography project that I developed called Paper and Ink. Everywhere we went, we took photo portraits of people and their families and printed them out for them.

What’s your favourite Bay of Plenty landscape, park, building, location, suburb, or side street? Why?

I love the Whakarewarewa Forest (Redwood Forest) in Rotorua. I think it is a magical place where you can find peace and rest your mind.

What’s an average day in your life at present?   

My life is very dynamic, which I love. Some days I just work from home, mainly building my business (which takes lots of time). But I go out often, sometimes to take photographs, some other times to do private photography lessons or practical sessions outside. Then, on most of the weekends I deliver workshops. I have met amazing people there.

What music was present and still memorable from your youth/adolescence? 

Well, I think that good music is timeless. My dad loves music, so we grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Kiss, AC/DC, Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi and many other artists and bands you still hear on the radio everyday.

If you went away from the Bay of Plenty for a long time and then came back, what are the first three things you would do or visit?  

The Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, Lake Tarawera in Rotorua and Mt Maunganui.

What are you planning for 2021 that nobody knows about yet?

I wanted to run a Paper and Ink photography project overseas, like the one I did in Nepal, and invite more photographers to come with me. It has to be postponed for a few years now, I think.

Who are your favourite or most admired figures from history?

Siddartha Gautama (ancient history). Nelson Mandela (recent history). Jacinda Ardern (she is making history now).

In one sentence, can you define art? 

Expression of the inner world.

What is missing or lacking from your Bay of Plenty community or environment? 

We need more cultural events and activities that bring people together.

Where would you like to live, but have yet to? 

China! I went there by myself for 6 weeks and I loved the people, the food, and the culture.

What word of advice would you offer an aspiring creative person? 

Creating is good for the heart and the soul. Keep doing it, because when we do things from a place of love the outcome is always good. Putting your energy into things and people we love is the best investment one can do.

What’s the biggest problem about life in New Zealand? How you would solve it? 

I don’t really think we have big problems here. We are really lucky to live in New Zealand and to be able to live a normal life while the rest of the world is in crisis. I believe that every country is facing challenging times, and every national economy is suffering at the moment. There are many inevitable things that will come along with a world pandemic like we are living in, but I do believe that this is the best country to be at the moment—and I am really grateful for being here.

What is your dream of happiness?  

I think happiness is a state of mind. It is not related to things, people or situations. I try to enjoy every single day of my life, to be thankful for being healthy and alive, to treasure the joyful moments, and try to learn lessons from the hard times. That’s life. We have almost no control over what’s going to happen to us, so we cannot condition our wellbeing and happiness to depend on external things. Instead we can work on our inner world by trying to accept things we cannot change and playing our part in things we can change.


More about Coni

Visit Coni’s Creative Directory profile for more info

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