Thursday, September 22, 2016

On why I became a photographer...

I am not sure. It was an accident. 

When I was 15 years old, rummaging my grandfather’s library I found a Lumix camera from the 50’s, with a variable collection of lenses, crystal lenses, a Super 8 camera and a more modern Sony video camera, from the 80’s. Nobody in my family ever told me about my grandpa’s hobby, probably because nobody understood its value. I never got to meet him, but on the films he had there, whenever I hold them against the light, I could just see beautiful frames. For instance he had some pictures from a very famous place in my hometown, a chain of waterfalls of brownish stones. I was there thousand times, but the frames in my grandfather’s films seemed unreal, as I didn’t know that place. He captured not only water, but the trees around, and the birds, I will never forget how significant the frames of the birds against the overexposed sky were to me. 

Much later in my life I started studying film and consequently my parents got me a DSLR. With the years using it, just recently I found a passion on this artefact that freezes time and capture moments. Just now I understand why my grandpa loved it. It’s quite unique the lonesome feeling that a camera gives you. The solitude has a purpose, the solitude articulates and materialised itself. you can be surrounded by people, yet if you have one eye closed, and one open on the frame window, you are truly alone, seeing the world through a tiny dark room… seeing it all from your own unique perspective. Sometimes it’s just a matter of walking somewhere, looking up, and be seduced by how two buildings build symmetry, so with the camera you capture those lines that can exist only in the place you step and within the frame you measure. With a camera, life becomes a universe itself, you exist on a specific place, and from your point of view each picture you capture it’s as you were capturing a star on the firmament, from start to start there is just empty space, as there is from frame to frame, on your immediate firmament. Sometimes it’s just a matter of immortalising a sunset or sunrise, which will only exist few hours a day. With photography ‘existence’ earns a meaning, you are constantly capturing what exists, in that precise moment, in that precise place. It won’t be repeated, ever again, however you captured it. I spend an amazing amount of time capturing the sky, I have seen thousand clouds, they will never repeat themselves, they will vanish within hours… but they can be in a frame and they can exist forever.

I guess for my grandpa photography had the value of being something entirely for himself. He was a business man, a merchant, he used to spend most of his time travelling around the country, away from home, and photography it’s something that accompanies you, in so many ways, the world it’s constantly talking to you, not just people, the sky, the birds, an old woman, a child, a trash can… photography it’s the art of appreciation, and a camera the tool to capture the moments you feel privileged. It becomes the healthiest addiction, you day to day decisions on how you want to understand the environment that surrounded you, and if you put a thought on your frame, it becomes your day to day metaphor’s printer, and you’ll never forget that thought.

I say it was an accident, because when I got a camera I never though of its power, not only for who is audience, but for oneself, because whenever you capture something in front of the camera, you’re also capturing who’s behind, who you were when you took that picture. Therefore, since I saw the pictures of my grandpa, I could know who he was, while my family always portrayed  him as the most strict person on earth… on his pictures, he was a disarmed free man. I am glad I have a camera, it’s one of the greatest things of my life. I was always an observant of details around me, and the camera gives me the perfect excuse to capture them.