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Fernando Alves: Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe

Street photography and moody graphical compositions are the trademark of Fernando Alves. He quotes: “Passion moves me. I always try to capture situations, emotions, and immortalizing moments out of the ordinary. It’s in the eyes, just the eyes, I hear more. The eyes usually do not deny what feels the heart.” 



Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, Fernando.
I was born in 1957, in Lisbon, the city I live in. I am married and father of a young boy. I work in the tourism business, specifically in graphic arts, advertising and marketing, as an independent businessman. Previously I was a partner in a firm in the same business field.

My hobbies are literature, music and my most fascinating one, Photography, in which I invest most of my free time.

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Ever since my earliest youth, I was in love with photography and became fascinated by the capture of ephemeral and unusual moments. That passion grew as I got older and it has remained so for the rest of my life.

About ten years ago I started visiting websites on Photography and that's when I got inspired to shooting in black and white.

Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
I am moved by the pulse of the city life and by people passing on the street - that results in new experiences that influence my way of shooting. Most of the times, instead of my eyes, I use my feelings and let passion do the job. Feeling the moment is always a very rewarding experience.





What first attracted you to photography?
I am attracted by people's experiences, by their facial expressions, by unusual moments and by knowledge.

Describe your overall photographic vision.
I consider myself as a photographer of emotions, and I like passing unnoticed among people and feel free to shoot them.

Why are you so drawn by Street and mood photography?
I likely do some graphic photos due to my professional background, though it's not my favourite type. Sometimes I seize the moment and might use graphic lines that interact with the space on the scene.

As to humour and states of mind, oh I love a good laugh and to joke around. Life has multiple aspects that need to be captured, and street Photography is far beyond begging people on the street. Sometimes streets offer you moments of fun and laugh waiting for you to shoot them...





What is more important to you, the mood, /story behind your images or the technical perfection?
No doubt I choose photo contents. I am happy every time my photos make people feel awake, raising good or bad feelings inside them - the important thing is that an unusual photo has just moved them, that's what really matters.
Technical perfection comes next, it is secondary.

Every street photographer knows that most of the times he has no time to frame a scene. We never know what we will get in the next moment: a motion photo or strong-light or low-light conditions, a close or a longer distance shooting, etc.
The most difficult job is capturing the perfect moment, or the microsecond lasting scene, since everything happens very quickly and we've just got to be prepared for the unexpected.







What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
I rarely contact people I shoot, but whenever it happens, I don't mind the occasion. We can always learn from people we shoot, and that's an effective gain for every photographer.
Having our roots in the places we shoot and knowing those places very well are major factors that provide us with a deeper understanding of our work and our environment.
I observe more than I communicate: my eyes never stop when I walk on the street, as they are the first triggers for the shooting.

Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I never prepared a scene for a shoot. My photos are intrinsically reactive, so they could never be combined or decided in advance. Street captures are unique ephemeral moments. Therefore, shooting is a rapid-trigger action with no kind of preparation most of the times. That's the way I like shooting, and that's the most prominent feature of my photos. I also like the light-shadow effects and try to use them in the same plan of the scene.






What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I use a Canon 7D and an old Canon 400D. As to lenses, I use several types of Sigma: 18-200mm; 10-20mm; 24-70mm; 50mm; 70-300mm.
My bag is a Lowepro.

What software do you use to process your images? 
I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, Nik Software and Topaz. As I prefer pure photos, I don't use much image processing on them - this way I avoid misrepresentations of the scenes.

Can you tell us something more about your workflow?
My professional activity doesn't allow me to shoot as much as I would like to. So I use my spare time for photography, especially on the weekends and every time I am invited to shoot in-group by my friends.

What is your most important advice to a beginner in graphical and mood photography and how do you get started?
My most important advice to a street photography beginner is: " keep your eyes wide open and shoot what your heart tells you to. Shoot a lot and don't care about making mistakes. Use spontaneity while shooting, because if you don't seize the moment in the fraction of a second, you loose it for good."



Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?

I have many favourite photographers, both Portuguese and foreign. I prefer street photographers who shoot in black and white. I would not mention their names because it's a long list and I don't want to take the risk of missing any of them.

Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?
I think we are all inspired by some photographers’ works or at least by some general traits of their photos. I also believe we are all stimulated by the world around us. There's nothing like finding our own way of working, because that's the way we can evolve and lead our senses to higher levels.

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'm a simple guy and my photography goals are kept that way. For me it's not wise to establish high targets we might never achieve. However, if by any kind of magic my photos get any success in the future, that would make me feel so very happy...

I'll keep on doing what I've always done so far, and that is: walking freely throughout my city, with my heart and eyes inside the camera, searching for the unexpected moment.

Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
Several photos have an important meaning for me, since I started shooting.
However, I recall this special one, a shot in a solemn moment - a procession. There was this man with an expression on his face as if he was talking to an angel. I'll never forget that moment. It is not even a high quality photo. I was in the middle of a large crowd and shot it in motion.



Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I will always be inspired by moments that mix with my emotions and my heart, and this is how I understand photography.

Regarding 1X, it is the best photography website to promote my work to the world. I deeply appreciate the quality of its members and the chance of learning from others, not only amateurs but also world-renowned professionals.
I also want to point out the excellent idea of including tutorials in the platform, as they are important tools to improve our knowledge on photography and image edition.

And last, I want to express my greatest appreciation and consideration to all members of 1X team and my very special thanks to my friend, Yvette Depaepe.

My best wishes to all.
Long live Photography!










Excellent report. I loved the stories that each image tells me. Thank you very much for sharing
Very interesting interview Fernando. This is a special way to better know you and your work. Cheers.
Amigo Fernando, embora com atraso, vi agora esta publicação e não quis deixar de te dar os merecidos e sinceros parabéns. Um grande abraço!
Muito obrigado, amigo Luis. É sempre um prazer ler as tuas palavras. Grande abraço.
amigo Fernando, quero dar-te parabéns pela entrevista e pelo teu trabalho, que obviamente "provoca" a importância sobre ti e a tua(s) fotografia(s). não é para qualquer um, sabes o que quero dizer. lembro-me de anoa atrás em que isto seria impossivel. por isso, os meus parabéns sinceros. grande abraço
Muito obrigado pela visita e pelo teu comentário, Carlos. É um grande prazer ler as tuas palavras. Abraço forte.
Magníficas a entrevista e a galeria de um autor que prezo e admiro; muitos parabéns, Fernando! Um abraço!
Muito obrigado pela visita e comentário, Jorge. Um abraço forte.
Trabalho excelente com o objectivo claro de retratar o real no seu lado mais humano. Parabéns e obrigado pela oportunidade que me é dada
Muito obrigado pela visita e comentário, Jorge. Um grande abraço.
Wonderful work and interview Fernando, congratulations my friend! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week :-)))
Thank you very much, dear Edith. Greetings and have a wonderful week too :))
Many congratulations Fernando for this wonderful interview and for your portfolio!All my good wishes,dear friend!
Thank you very much, dear Julien. Greetings and all the best, my friend.
Muitos parabéns Fernando, gostei imenso de "ler-te" :) Great interview!
Muito agradecido, Cecy. Bjinhos e tudo de bom. :)
Parabéns Fernando pela excelente entrevista e trabalho "street" Abraço
Muito obrigado, Olavo. Grande abraço.
Photos can crystalize our connection to real life. What photos show is a mixture of what you decide to be and the way the world impacts in your soul. In this sense, you are a seeker of the perfect moment when everything is there, including yourself. A good photographer is an artist when he meets the highest dimension of life in its most dramatic, beautiful or arid aspects. Ugliness is the other side of the beauty, the drama is revealed in what transparency hides. A good photographer lives in between plasticity and reality when he shoots the perfect moment. I've seen perfect moments through your camera. My sincere congratulations, Fernando. A kiss, MJoão.
Many thanks for the kind words, MJoão. Warm greetings and a kiss.
Congratulations Fernando, you are one of the excellent street photographers here on 1X. Your work is a combination of careful observation, spontaneity and aesthetic framing.
Thank you very much, Luc. Greetings and all the best.
excelente entrevista. muitos parabéns, Fernando.
Muito obrigado, Paulo. Grande abraço.
Dear Fernando, I am so glad to see you and read your thoughts in this article. I like your work and way of thinking. You have an special eye and sense for always good composition and to catch a decisive moment. You, with your works, gave your stamp on 1x. In every your photo made on the street there are inner expression not just in faces and movement of people, but in urban landscape, also. We in Serbia call that kind of photography LIFE PHOTO. The name is borrowed from the famous magazine LIFE. All the best and congratulations.
Thank you very much, dear Dragan. I really enjoyed reading your words. My greetings and all the best.
Dear Fernando, it was a real pleasure to read again and to publish your fine interview. Love your work and your vision on photography. Thank you so much for your fine collaboration, my friend. Cheers, Yvette
It is a great honor for me to read your kind words of support, dear Yvette. Once again thank you very much for the the interview, my friend. Warm greetings and all the best.
Such a wonderful portfolio. Thank you for sharing Mr Alves' work.
Thank you very much, Thomas. Greetings.