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An Interview with the Street Photographer Carlos Coelho from Portugal

RK : Say something about you.

Carlos : I was born and raised in Portugal.

Since I can remember that I have an appreciation for arts, starting with drawing and painting.

The dream of leaving my country to travel the world always was present even before I discover my passion for arts.

That dream was the trigger to buy my first camera in September 2016, and starting to see photography how I see it today.

In March 2017 I was leaving my loved country behind with an backpack on my shoulders and camera in my hands.

RK : What are your favorite genres of Photography?

Carlos : My favorite genres of photography are Street Photography and Documentary, because beside the stories that you can tell, "allows" you to explore portraits or landscapes for example.

RK : What was the first camera that you had used?

Carlos : The first camera that I ever used was an old film camera from my parents that unfortunately I can't remember the name or brand, because I was an kid.

RK : What camera & equipment do you use now?

Carlos : The equipment that I use is practically the same since the beginning. One Canon 700D with 50mm f/1.4.

RK : What does ‘street photography’ mean to you?

Carlos : Street Photography is the most practical and self-compatible way that I find to express myself and to record the age in which I live and the places where I pass by, in the way I see them.

RK : What first drew you to street photography—and how did you discover it?

Carlos : It was the simple fact that I wanted to express myself and record what I saw in the world. I think the first time I realized what Street Photography was like, I discovered the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau.

RK : How does Black and White vs Color play into your work? Do you find them to be totally separate beasts—or complementary?

Carlos : Personally I think they are two distinct ways of taking photos and seeing what surrounds us.

Although I began to photograph in color, slowly and as I studied more about photography and its history, naturally my passion for black and white photography increased until I decided to photograph only in that way.

Nothing invalidates that in a few time I will start again to photograph in color, but for now I love doing what I'm doing and how I'm doing it.

RK : What makes the good picture stand out from the average?

Carlos : I believe that is the one capable of firing any emotional trigger. Simple as that.

RK : Whose work has influenced you most?

Carlos : Without any doubt was the work of Sebastião Salgado.

That's when I realized that it was possible to create something absolutely magical with a camera.

RK : Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

Carlos : “Ying & Yang” – This photo made me believe that I could create something more special, than just take a few photos.

RK : What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Carlos : I think nothing specific. I like the way things have unfolded and continues to happen.

RK : If you were told that you could only keep one camera and lens combination, what would it be?

Carlos : Maybe I would choose anything smaller, like an mirrorless with an 50mm lenses. A Leica M?!

RK : In general, it is increasingly common to use smartphones to take photos. And there are also those who consider their smartphones very seriously as photographic gear. What do you think about it? Do you use (or have you tried to use) a smartphone for your photos?

Carlos : I started to take photos with my smart phone just a few months ago, I still exploring that way of creating work. Is quite different from what I use to work it in terms of focal length.

RK : In recent years, Street Photography has boomed, what do you think it’s due to? And what evolution has there been?

Carlos : I think Street Photography has become more popular in recent years because access to photography equipment has become cheaper and accessible and that most people live in media with more people.

RK : In a street picture, do you think the contrasts of light are important to tell a story or are just an aesthetic fact?

Carlos : Light is always the most important in a photograph. It will influence the aesthetic of the photo as well as the feeling that the photographer wants to put in the work.

RK : What is one question nobody has ever asked you—that you wish they asked you?

Carlos : "Would you like to do an exhibition in our gallery?"

RK : Do you have any tips for photographers to help them grow artistically?

Carlos : I'm just an amateur photographer who still has a lot to learn, but I believe that I feel confident to say that the most important thing is to make the photos that we want to do,

to try to learn as much as we can and to photograph a lot.

RK : Have you ever been to India and anything you know about Indian Art & Culture?

Carlos : Unfortunately I have not yet had the opportunity to visit India, but I am sure it is a country I would love to meet.

I know it's a huge country, with "sub-cultures", tasty food, magnificent places and lovely people.

I hope I can make my first visit very soon.

RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to make a bridge between National and International Art & Culture By featuring some National & International personalities who already have made their own path in their respective fields and we think your story and tips might help the newcomers to build their career. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your Indian followers.

Carlos : It is always to praise initiatives like Retro Kolkata as they aim to preserve and spread their own culture and artists, as well as the exchange of works and ideas to create art.

I feel flattered by the invitation to this interview and hope in some way to inspire someone to follow their dreams whether they are personal or professional.


Follow Carlos Coelho on Instagram

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