23rd January 2019
Q. Hi, Joao! We’re very excited to find out about your opinions and visions, but first could you introduce yourself?
João Tamura, born in Lisbon in the start of the 90s. I divide my time between music and photography.
Q:When did you first start shooting in analog?
I began shooting in analog in 2011 and since that date, consequently and progressively, I photographed less with digital.
Q:Do you feel more passionate about shooting in analog compared to digital?
Yes, a lot more. My passion for digital rapidly faded - today I no longer touch my digital camera. Everything I photograph is in analog.
Q: You’ve traveled a fair bit, but where would you like to lose yourself in with your camera?
Cuba and the peninsula of Korea - for profoundly different reasons, of course. They’re the places that lately, at a distance, have fascinated me the most.
Q: Your work is very ‘cinematic’ - working with a lot of shadows and lighting, why does this fascinate you and how did you come about to experiment with this genre?
It comes from my passion for cinema. My father has always worked in cinema and therefore I have always lived surrounded by the seventh art - which has influenced the photography I do, of course. The passion and obsession for light is also intrinsic and natural to me - it is something that influences an entire photograph and is one of its most important elements.
Q: The colors in each photograph you take are compelling. Do you have a preference in the film you use?
Not necessarily. I photograph with any type of film and I like, actually, to experiment with the biggest diversity of films possible.
Q: How do you educate yourself to evolve within photography?
To, firstly, observe the photography and the cinema of the creators that I really admire - and of which I take much inspiration.
Q: You make music and you write. How do you think this ties in with your photography? Does one element inspire the other?
Yes, a lot - both elements intersect several times. There are several occasions when I photograph and I think: this image could be a poem. Or I’ll write in a way so visual, that I imagine a photograph. Moreover, I believe that the music I make also has a very visual factor - and I believe that this is influenced by my passion for photography.
Q: How do you choose your subjects?
I do not have any rules that I follow. If something attracts my gaze - be it a face, a building, a body, a landscape or simply the presence of a light - I know I will want to photograph that element.
Q: Have you ever had a bad experience with analog?
Yes of course. Shooting entire rolls that have nothing when developed, for example. But it's part of the whole process, I think. It is the old maxim of "trial and error" that is so closely linked to photography.
Q: If you had to define your photography, what style or adjective would describe it best?
I'd say it's somehow an "intimate" form of photography. This, because the photographs I take, are a part of me, from my core, that I yield in every shot.
Q: Is there anywhere you have traveled to that has left you speechless and if so, why?
There were several places that left me speechless, but if I had to elect only one, it would be Hong Kong. There, more than perplexed, I felt totally overwhelmed by the city. I had never felt so tiny in the face of a place where everything is so different, unique and intense.
Q: What is the aim of your work? Is there anything you wish to communicate?
What I do, is born naturally and therefore often without objective or a defined purpose. I communicate through what I do, the things that exist in me and for which I can find no other way of expression.
Q: What captures your attention the most when you’re out taking photographs?
The most diverse elements: from beautiful to bizarre. I want to photograph the "unique", the "particular", the things that for me are beautiful and that I intend to eternize. I do not mean, however, to assert that the "common" has no value or is worthy of disregard - even the most banal and common of objects, when observed or photographed in a determined way, can be unique, special or beautiful.
Q: Whose work has influenced your imagery the most?
Many artists and works, especially visual ones, have greatly influenced the way I look at the world around me and what I photograph and the way in which I do so. Wong-Kar-Wai, Hayao Myiazaki, Jeff Nichols, or the photographs by Sebastião Salgado, Ren-Hang, William Eggleston or Greg Girard shaped my imagination and, consequently, what I create.
Q: What piece of advice would you have given yourself when you first started analog photography?
To abuse trial and error: try as hard as you can, without fear of making mistakes, because that's the only true way to evolve with film.
You can find more of João's work here.