You studied photography, so it seems you decided to work as a photographer at an early age. What influenced you to make that decision?
Yes, I thought about becoming a photographer at a very early age. This was because of several reasons. But the main reason was that I simply wanted to be able to combine my huge passion for photography with a ‘proper’ job that I could actually have in the future. This made me decide to study photography.
Had you been active as a photographer before starting to study it?
Yes, I was very active and used to shoot pictures a lot. However, I still did not have a clear-cut direction of what I wanted to do. Most of the time I was photographing my friends and everything we'd be doing at that time.
In how far would you say has your work changed since then?
It has changed a lot! It started with photographing my friends, and then there was a period when I wanted to be the next James Nachtwey… Of course I did not really know what I was thinking. Now I try to orientate myself and find ‘my own space’ in photography.
What made you become more interested in conceptual photography?
For some time now I’ve been thinking differently about photography. By engaging in conceptual photography I mainly try to show a little more of what I feel rather than what I actually see. Therefore, I have worked less on documentary and more on personal projects. I guess that this is what I need right now. This is not to say that I have given up on other kinds of photography, I do have one or two ideas for other projects.
In the set here, we can see pictures from your projects "Can You Predict Spring?" and "The Cubans". How did these projects come into being?
The two projects have two similarities: One is that they were both born out of curiosity. The other is that they were both shot during vacations with my wife. But I guess the similarities end here. Cuba had always been a destination that I wanted to visit because of all that it represents now and for what the country has represented in recent history. I wanted to see what the daily life looked like on an island, which practically is isolated from its neighbours. In this sense I had ‘a plan’ of what I wanted to do and see there. In the end, I loved it there and would love to go back there soon. The vacation in Tunisia, on the other hand, was different. I had not put together a ‘plan’ for the trip, I had booked a holiday tour that would take me everywhere without any worries. I just wanted to rest. It’s interesting that, at the end of the day, the things that I saw and the ‘reality’ I was confronted with urged me to shoot pictures. Therefore, it really was a very different experience.
What do you like most about documentary photography?
What I like most undoubtedly in documentary photography is being able to work on specific topics. For instance I can address topics that worry me. A good example for this is the project “Shelter”: Because one thing that really bothers me is the abandonment of animals. Thus I decided to work on this series. It addresses the topic from my point of view. This is actually how I usually work, by the way.
How can one stay 'invisible' when photographing people on, say, the street?
It's complicated, and in my opinion, it will become increasingly difficult. I confess that I sometimes have a hard time being unnoticed. I have to buy a smaller camera; I think that will help doing street photography.
Most of your conceptual projects as shot in black and white. Is there a specific reason for this?
I love black and white. From an early age on I preferred to shoot in black and white. Personally, I think that my projects gain intensity, and some amount of ‘drama’ and some ‘mystery’, if you will. I would not be able to achieve this result by shooting in colour. Therefore, I think that, for now, most of my next projects will be in black and white.
What kind of work do you mostly do as a freelance photographer? How does it differ from your personal projects?
As a freelancer I really do any kind of photographic work. In Portugal, there is little work for photographers: we have to take what we get. Of course, I will not agree to everything, or take work offers that I don’t like, just for the money. But until now, I've done work for various companies, advertising, baptisms etc. In the end, I still do prefer my personal projects.
Is there any project you're working on right now and would like to share?
I continue to work on "Awake", which is a project that I have planned out thoroughly and for which I still need a lot of time. There’s a lot of work to be done in order to finish it. Also, I recently wrapped up a project called "River". It will be soon on my website, in case you would like to take a look!