Cecy Jup is a highly talented photographer with a remarkable sensitivity and endless creativity. The exquisite mood and aesthetics of her work take the viewer to her very own and dreamlike world. She seizes the beauty of simple things and always grabs the possibility to convey emotions and feelings.
Let's discover more about this fine artist and the personality behind her work.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, Cecy.
First of all I want to thank you, dear Yvette, for choosing me for this interview, I’m very honoured. My name is Cecília but my friends call me Cecy. I'm 49 years old, and I was born in southern Portugal, in a province called Alentejo, which has a unique beauty with its vast plains with solitary cork oaks. About 25 years ago I moved to Aveiro, a beautiful, colourful city in the north of Portugal. I graduated in Portuguese and English languages but my passion has always been arts. I love paintings, especially impressionist painters. I'm a quiet, and somehow, introverted person. I enjoy music, I'm always listening to it while working on my photos. It deeply inspires and influences me. I also love poetry, quiet places and to be alone. I value small and simple things. I never took professional courses on photography, my short knowledge in that matter is mostly due to watching lots and lots of images in photography sites, and by reading some articles. I don’t consider myself a photographer, I’m just someone who loves photography, someone who is driven by curiosity.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography? Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
I think that the place where I was born and lived my childhood somehow shaped my personality in a way that makes me look at the world around me in a particular way. Silence, slowness, calm, solitude, are part of me and I think that, to a certain extent, they come to light in what I do. As far as experiences are concerned, when I was about 8 years old, my godmother offered me a small camera, a Kodak 76X Instamatic Camera (which I still keep). Film was expensive so I just used it occasionally. But I remember my first attempt to do something different: I made a series of 4 photos from the same location, one for each season of the year. I went to the same spot in spring, summer, autumn and winter to capture the changes in the landscape. About 17 years ago, when I embarked on the adventure of oil painting, I discovered that photography could help me to capture some details for me to use in my canvas. I began to photograph some particular items, and to focus my attention on light and shadow because I needed this for painting. I gradually started photographing more and more, and suddenly the passion for photography surpassed the passion for painting.
What does attract you most in photography?
What attracts me most in photography is the possibility it gives to create or recreate images; capture unique moments; seize the beauty of simple things; the possibility of conveying emotions and feelings through images. And in addiction, the process of working the photos in the computer is something very relaxing and pleasant. I really love doing that.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I find it difficult for me to focus in just one style, I like to photograph different themes, and I do it mainly in B&W but I also do colour works. It depends on my mood. I like to diversify and especially to embrace the challenge of doing new and different things.
And I don't like to shoot people (I don't feel comfortable with that), but sometimes I end up doing it, and when it happens I often wait for them to walk away and shoot them from the back, or I try to capture them in a way that allows me to hide their faces somehow, or keep them out of focus. To feel more comfortable I usually use my daughter or my son as models, or some friends and family, and sometimes even myself.
Why are you so drawn by B&W Mood Photography?
Actually I do not know for sure. My taste for B&W Mood Photography happened gradually but I think it is somehow connected with my taste for impressionism.
I deeply appreciate foggy days, mystery, vagueness and veiled subjects. I have a strong preference for images that leave room for imagination and free interpretation rather than real and very accurate ones. Perfect is boring.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Definitely the mood and story. I usually don’t worry about technical aspects. The image must please me, that's what really matters. My purpose is to capture and convey emotion and feelings. That's what moves me and makes me happy.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Occasionally I have something in mind, simply because I heard a song that inspired me, or because I read a poem and an image emerged in my mind. In those cases everything is carefully organized. I choose the locations, the model, and prepare all aspects. But usually nothing is prepared, everything comes spontaneously.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I use a Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR, and a Canon EOS 30D
Lenses: 50mm; 18-55mm, 75-300mm and 18-200mm
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Photoshop CS5.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I upload my photos to Photoshop and I attempt to find the best mood, exploring and trying (sometimes trying and failing) to find an atmosphere that pleases me. I create layers and make some adjustments to light and shadows in the best way I can, since my Photoshop skills are very limited.
I often add textures, it’s something I really appreciate.
Usually, after editing my images I tend to keep them out of sight and forget them for a few days or even a few weeks, in a sort of "cooling down" process. This allows me be able to look at them unemotionally, and see if they work or not.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in B&W Mood Photography and how do you get started?I’m a beginner, I am not in a position to be able to advise anything to anyone. The only thing I can say is shoot with your heart and simply do what pleases you the most.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I guess the one I admire the most is Francesca Woodman. I absolutely enjoy her blurred figures.
I’m also deeply touched upon several photographers here in 1x who inspire me with their remarkable works.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I have no expectations and no goals. I just want to keep on having fun and to improve my skills to fulfil myself.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1x gives me the opportunity of having contact with quality in photography. I learned a lot by watching the work of so many excellent photographers. For a long time I didn’t feel confident enough to send my photos to curators. My feeling was that my images were not worthy of such a distinction as that of being accepted and published. One day I decided to take a chance and what a pleasant surprise it is to see some of my work published.
1x gives me motivation and the will to improve my skills. I’m very honoured to be part of this community.