Duration: Five years in my current practice.
Location: I’m based in Brazil, staying mainly between Brasília and São Paulo.
Education: BA in communications and advertising, Instituto de Educação Superior de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil; MFA in visual art, Faculdade de Tecnologia Senac-DF, Brasília, Brazil; some post-graduate education in studio and advertising photography, School of Visual Arts, New York, New York.
Career path: I had been working as a creative art director and photographer since 2009, but in 2015, I realized I was trapped in an environment that wouldn’t let me do photography the way I wanted. Fellow Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado started at the age of 30, and that encouraged me to start doing what my heart wanted. So I took a sabbatical year, left my old clients and went back to the things that inspired me to be a photographer in the first place.
I had been doing well as a creative, winning some local and national awards, but I always had a deep desire to learn more about my country and culture. I started to travel to some isolated areas of Brazil even before I had a proper camera—which was too expensive for me at the time—taking pictures of real people and looking for real stories. My practice led me to work as a still photographer for movies, working with documentaries and feature films alike. This mix of being a creative art director, documentary photographer and moviemaker helped develop my photography style and the concepts for my projects.
Artistic influences: I love the deeper meaning underneath Salgado’s photography and Steve McCurry’s powerful portraits. Because of my background in advertising, Annie Leibovitz became both a commercial and fine art photography influence. I mixed those two genres to create my own photography style; I’m always afraid of confusing consistency with repetition. Luckily, technology is improving; I believe it is possible to use this in our favor and create new possibilities of expression.
Favorite projects: The Interior Project. In 2016, I took a DNA test to learn about my origins and decided to travel to these places where I came from to create photographic messages of respect, connection and ancestry. In the time I had spent saving and preparing for The Interior Project’s execution, a similar project began showing up in ads and on TV, which made me rethink whether or not I should do this project. I realized that my ego was telling me not to do it because as an artist, I’d been programmed to want to be the first one doing something and recognized as the most creative. But seeing others doing the same idea taught me that I’m part of a whole, and that I should be proud to live in a moment when many others were also looking for personal growth by connecting with their roots. Together, we could inspire more and more people to do the same. I named this series The Interior Project since I was not only going to the interior of these countries I traveled to, but I was also going inside of myself and expressing this through my photography.
Approach: I’m constantly experiencing some level of anxiety. Because of this, I’ve become a careful producer, always thinking about how to accomplish my goals and what I need to learn to not screw everything up. I’m technical, but I still have the essence of a dreamer. I look for clients and projects that want to make the world a better place, to give my technical side a purpose.
Aspirations: The world is huge. I hope to work with clients who want to make a difference in a better way. History has proven that it is possible to grow economically with respect and good practices. I hope to work with these teams in the future.
Philosophy: Be true to yourself. If you allow others to define you, you will never reach your full potential. Be humble and learn from the most experienced creative, but also ignore poor teachers; the hardest part is recognizing who is who.
Anything else? Most of my portfolio consists of personal projects. There is a big difference between someone hiring me and saying, “Do exactly as you do,” as opposed to saying, “I trust you to execute this project the way we want.” I’ll keep doing personal projects to talk about the things that matter to me the most and to show how my aesthetics can be used in future commissioned jobs. I’ve been awarded by the Chromatic Photography Awards, the Independent Photographer, International Photography Awards, MonoVisions Awards and the Xposure International Photography Festival, among others. This has made me more confident to keep going on this path.