Paulo Medeiros is a most interesting and passionate photographer. He uses the light in a masterful way, natural light as well as studio light. His conceptual portraits are strong and fascinating. Discover more about the man behind his wonderful work. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview.
I always liked photography. I remember as a kid going to bookstores and peruse photography magazines. I was fascinated by the beauty of the images. But I grew up and life took me on other paths. I rediscovered photography around 2005, somewhat by chance and due to the insistence of two friends - José Carreiro and Roberto Dutra. Then I started the Club Zoom which was a blog dedicated to photography where people shared knowledge and experiences. I can say that it was my school. Later the blog was transformed into AFAA (Azores Amateurs Photographers Association) and I´m still a member.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
It is very difficult to describe the experiences that influenced me. I think all life experiences end up influencing the way in which we communicate photographically. To paraphrase Ansel Adams:
“We don't make a photograph just with a camera, we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.”
I also think that my background in mathematics has a lot of influence on my photos, the beauty of mathematical reasoning and geometry indirectly end up affecting my compositions.
What first attracted you to photography?
With the emergence of digital, advances in internet and, consequently, the development of social networks, it is virtually impossible for anyone to remain indifferent to photography. I started with a compact camera doing macros and landscapes while I was learning the technique. Gradually I realized that photography is much more than technique… its all about feelings, emotions. I remember seeing 1x.com in 2006 and having been fascinated with the photos and having told my friend - one day I will be able to put a picture there… I can say honestly that 1x.com influenced me a lot.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Like any other photographer, my photographic vision grew across various stages. It made me see the world, and the space around me in a different way. For me photography is emotion, it is light, it is art. A photograph may be technically perfect but if don’t transmit any kind of feeling to the observer, it is worthless.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Yes, I like to imagine the photos so before I do the session I study the spot and imagine the best compositions. Because I live on an island weather conditions change frequently, so sometimes I have surprises in light conditions.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I have a Cannon 6D with two lenses: 24 -105 mm f/4 and 50 mm f/1,8.
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Adobe Photoshop CC 2014. As I am not a pro in Photoshop I try to make the original image as perfectly as possible with the lights in the right place so I have to do a minimum of editing. In most of the photos I just do the conversion to gray scale and a bit of adjustment in levels.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I use only natural light outside and often inside. When I do not use natural light, I use a small studio that I have with two soft boxes that allow me to achieve a better control of light.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
Initially Ansel Adams that fascinated me with the power of black and white and the drama that it transmits to the images. Now I cannot say that there is one specific photographer who is my idol, there are many photographers that I admire, of different types and different styles, that it would be impossible to name them all. I see their work, enjoy and learn from each of them.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
This photo is very special to me. It was not prepared; it was made in the moment. It is special becausethese hands belong to my aunt who is not amongst us anymore, and the hand in the photo belongs to my young child. I was showing her the pictures of my child. With the photo I want to transmit the feeling of getting old and always trying to grab the youth that is fleeting.
Finally I would like to invite all the lovers of landscape to come to Azores. I can guarantee that you will not regret it. For more details you can contact me.