25th July 2018
Q: Why do you shoot in analog?
I never really had any experience with digital before besides taking photos with my iPhone. I bought my first camera when I was eighteen or nineteen, it had a fisheye lens on it and I just had so much fun with it. Before that the only contact I had with film was through my parents, who had a small analog compact camera. I guess the real interest for photography only started about three or four years ago. That’s when I started investing on good cameras and then I kind of started keeping more and more negatives. So, to sum it all up I guess I’ve always been interested in analog, it makes me happy, makes everything look so fun and interesting while digital photography doesn’t give me the same happiness whenever I’m shooting.
Q: Why is it important that you shoot in analog compared to digital?
The one thing I love about film are the colours. For me that’s the one thing you can’t really emulate in digital, you can get really really close but if you are a film photographer you can always tell the difference. Colours in film are so visually pleasant most of the time and I just love that feeling of not really knowing what’s coming out of a negative whenever you are shooting.
Q: Why and when did you first start shooting in analog?
I think that my first real interest around film and analog cameras was when I started looking at photos on magazines or blogs online when I was fifteen or sixteen, either about skating, clothing or travelling. The whole vibe of a photo on film is totally unique and I guess I was kind of hooked on it. As I said previously, I just started buying some cameras and shooting whatever I felt like.
Q: What’s your opinion on the analog hype?
I guess if there’s a “hype” around it, I don’t really mind... I just hope that whoever is shooting on film really understands the whole process, idea behind it and hopefully is doing it with passion!
Q: Do you feel as if you identify more with landscape photography and capturing industrial locations, rather than editorial or portrait photography?
It’s not that I don’t like to shoot portraits or anything similar, because I do enjoy it sometimes, but I just think that they are both very different in ways. The more I shoot landscapes or urban/industrial environments, the more I like it. The whole process of taking one photo is much slower, I have to really think about the photo and consume the whole atmosphere around me. It’s kind of like a therapy to me. Whenever I’m shooting portraits, time just flies by, everything is so fast that I tend to get a bit lost and out of control, which is something I don’t really like.
Q: Which place would you like to lose yourself in with your camera?
I would love to do a road trip around the US and shoot various locations.
Q: Do you have a preference in the film you use?
I tend to use a lot of Kodak, especially Portra, but that is mostly because I live in sunny Lisbon so that’s like the perfect match. But I also enjoy shooting Fuji whenever the weather is gloomy.
Q: Why do you identify with street style photography including a subject, rather than fashion photography?
I think that’s mainly because I’ve always enjoyed and followed the streetwear scene. I’m a bit of a sucker for streetwear lookbooks, and I’ve always wanted to participate in one, so I guess that’s my way of getting into that type of photography ahah.
Q: How did you begin shooting in 120mm / medium format?
That’s all very recent for me. I guess I just started evolving like everybody else and decided to switch things a bit, invested on a new camera and got into medium format. I tested out an hasselblad one day, from a friend, and I just fell in love with it, few days later I bought a Mamiya and now I’m hooked!
Q: What motivates you to go out and take photographs?
Taking photos is a hobby for me, I always say I do this for fun because I really do. So what motivates me is just the joy of it. Whenever I feel like taking photos I usually have something on my mind, a location or an idea of a subject and then I just have to go out and make that happen.
Q: What do you do when you have the equivalent of ‘writers block’ but in terms of photography?
I don’t know if I get that a lot, simply because I don’t do this at a professional level. I never really had any commissioned work so I never had to experience that feeling. As an amateur sometimes I run out of ideas but there is no real pressure there, since I can just take photos whenever I feel like, so what I usually do is just wait for something to come up, maybe a trip or something similar, that’s going to motivate me to pick up my camera and photograph new places.
Q: Which artist or photographer inspires your imagery?
My top three are: Alec Soth, Jason Lee and Stephen Shore.
Q: How does living in Portugal influence you and your photography?
Portugal is a beautiful country, with a lot of cool places to explore. The weather also helps a lot because it doesn’t rain much. I guess the sun light is what influences me the most, then Lisbon, which is the city I live in, I can be shooting near a beach in the morning and then a huge factory in the afternoon. The city is not that big so you get a lot of interesting places near each other.
Q: What would be one piece of advice for those who are starting film photography?
I suck at this... but whenever some of my friends ask me about cameras or types of film I just say: keep shooting and keep testing things. I know it sounds cliché but it worked with me. It’s an on going process as you are always learning new things and don’t worry about being a “pro”.
You can find more of João's work here