Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Carlos Cancela Pinto

Lisbon, Portugal

You write that you only shoot pictures if it feels right to do so. Can you describe an example where it felt wrong?

Photography is a lonely activity. It is an activity where the photographer goes out into the world with his or her camera. All the technical and aesthetical decisions are made in a split of second. You have to make a connection with the surrounding, the light and with your mind. When I have all this perfectly connected and push the shutter, I sometimes feel “Wow, this is it”. But sometimes these ingredients are not there and when I push the shutter I think that is going to be a boring photo.

What do you dislike about digital photography?

When shooting digital, some things get lost compared to shooting analogue. There is an interesting essence embedded in analogue photographs that digitally shot pictures don’t have. I think that it is not easy to explain, but easy to see. A proof would be the Instagram-like imitations, which try to give a digital photograph something more, so that it is not only a “flat” image.
I am very enthusiastic about experimenting and trying out new things with film. Among other things, I shoot with expired film, do multiple expositions on one or different cameras, and take photos with films of various sizes like 35mm, 120, slide. The results are often unexpected and spectacular. Or sometimes I simply wasted a roll.

What did you enjoy most about the "Shoreline zine" project?

It was my first publication! My first zine, and it was a collaboration with my friend Fábio Silva. We did everything together. It was a complicated process, because I am living in Lisbon and Fábio I located in Porto. So we decided many things over phone and internet.
We shot the photos, separately, without talking or influenced each other, and it was not planned to have black and white photos (Fábio) and colour photos (me). In the end we figured out that our outcomes were very interesting and different. Also the format (A4) is not very common in zines, so it was fun when we saw the dummy version of it. We thought “Wow, it was not supposed to be that big!”.

Did you choose to portray the Southern coast? Why?

I live (due to professional reasons) in Lisbon and I shoot on the weekends. The southern coast is near, and different from where I lived for 24 years, which was in the rocky north (Porto). The Cresmina dunes, in Cascais are amazing. I fell in love the first time I visited them. I can´t get enough photos of that place, it seems like another country or even another planet! Guincho and the entire coast between Lisbon and Cascais consist of different limestone with different colours, which are very appealing to me.

Where does your attachment to nature stem from?

When I was young, my parents went camping with me and my sister during our vacations. We also did that on weekends! So nature is a “natural habitat” for me. Plus, I was a scout and we camped in many places in Portugal and abroad. Some were very remote and unknown places, to which I attach amazing experiences and memories.

It's a bit like choosing between one's children, but which project has been your favourite one so far?

I did not work on that many projects yet, and many collective projects that I had in mind were left half-done... But the “Shoreline” zine was my favourite one. I made it with a close friend, we were inexperienced and it was demanding and rewarding at same time.

What kind of art exhibitions are you interested in visiting yourself?

Classic and ancient art (renascence, medieval, Roman, Greek…), and also ethnic art catches my eye. I love art of the late 19th century. I also visit contemporary museums, and I enjoy seeing fresh new perspectives. But there I sometimes get the sense that something is missing...
I also enjoy looking at photography, but am not too fond of “world press photos” – most of these images are very depressing to me as I feel like they sometimes are an exploitation of the suffering of others.
Personally, I think that art should be experienced as a spiritual moment, something that opens our minds to something bigger, more beautiful and better.

Are you planning new projects currently?

Yes, a collective zine, with different European artists. It will be very interesting to see the result: I can’t tell much yet, but has a different approach to zines. We will have something to show at the end of this year, and it will be a pleasure to send you a copy as well!
Another, slowly progressing project is zine I am putting together with my own new photos. I will publish it perhaps this year or in the begging of the next. Visit my site for further news!, I will post about the publications there.

If you'd get to choose between portraying a city or a family in a photography series, which one would you choose? Why?

Tough question! Perhaps a city. I am not very comfortable in taking photos of people, so I picture it difficult to portray a whole family.

Theatre or cinema?

I like both, but cinema is my favourite.

Something you'd like to improve for everyday life?

Many things! Starting with our bathrooms, we waste so much good water! I thought by now we will have a more efficient method of cleaning ourselves.  Where is the high tech in bathrooms? Also, I argue that all countries should have at least 20% of their territory covered with forests, or at least local trees. Cities should be greener. Do we need an island of junk in the middle of the sea? We have to stop multiplying the world population every 10 years. And we must think seriously about our future as human beings: with machines doing our jobs, what are we going to do? How, and where are we going to live? We should engage in these discussions.

Connected to nature. Take a look at his work!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


My sincere apologies for this ridiculously long absence!

The site is returning, now.

Hope you’ll stick around now and then,

It’s good to be back.