I was drawn to photography at the age of 10 just for the fun of it and I’ve been doing street photography in an uncommitted way since 1998, while traveling or in my hometown, Lisbon. But it was only when I became a father in 2013 that I took street photography more seriously and started doing it on a regular basis. Street photography was a great way to relax from work and get away from the diapers. When my wife and me had our first son I was working from home and taking care of the baby full time. I started hitting the streets just for the sake of sanity. At home I was all for one…in the streets I was none for all. I guess some people go to the gym, for a run, or a drink…I choose street photography.
I think street photography is really important because it provides a record of today’s way of life. Nonetheless, street photography has a lot of sides to it, either through candid shots or street portraiture. Personally, I tend to prefer the former, but what really makes my day is noticing one or two elements that I wasn’t initially aware and that give strength and soul to an image that I took.
Lisbon is a beautiful city with an amazing light year-round. Between the business area, the touristy downtown and the old and traditional neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto there is always something happening. When I go out to shoot I don’t follow a specific narrative. I walk around town, I talk to people, I stop for a coffee, a snack, the occasional cigarette and I document life on the streets of Lisbon. I search for funny and contradictory moments, characters and one-frame stories.
Ninety percent of my street work is done on film. My go-to cameras are a Leica M6 with a 35mm Summicron f2 and a Leica Minilux loaded with either Ilford HP5 or Portra 400. I like the look, the feel and the process of film. It is how I started in photography and by keeping film alive in my work I feel a constant connection with my history. If I’m hired to shoot an event I’ll shoot digital just because there is less room for mistake and the results come cheaper and faster. But when ever I’m working on a personal project or out on the streets shooting I use film.
By the end of the day, street photography is about experiencing and interacting with the world that surrounds us. It is about putting oneself were the action is taking place. It is looking beyond the obvious. I’m an introvert by nature and street photography has helped me to overcome some of my fears of shooting on the streets, it has made me more aware of my surroundings and it has made me appreciate life in a more lively way by forcing me to take part in whatever street scene that is happening around me.