We know that you are a fashion photographer but that is not the only expression of fashion in your life. What is the role, indirect or direct, of fashion in your daily life, in your work and in the way you live?
It started very early because my grandmother used to sew me clothes. She used to go to Ayamonte to buy fabric and curtains, because I'm from Portimão… and when I was born she would make my clothes, my carnival dress-ups, everything. With this,I became very vain because I always had someone making my clothes and dressing me, etc... And even as a teenager I would buy clothes and try to change them, because I didn't like to be dressed like other people. I've always had this need to stand out in terms of clothes. And when I was at school I even thought about taking Fashion Design... It was one of the things I thought of pursuing. Very few people know this... but I even designed clothes, things that I thought of at the time. And when I followed photography, for me, it made perfect sense for it to be connected to fashion, because it's something that helps highlight your personality. What you wear helps you, like you can't walk down the street naked, right? It helps you show your personality, who you are.
And at what moment did you decide to pursue photography instead of fashion?
It was in highschool that I started to use photography as a support to do work, and I have always photographed from a very early age... It was a side that dominated more, the wanting to photograph. I decided on photography because it was something that fitted better, to show what I wanted to do. I was about 14, 13 or 14... in high school, when I knew it was photography that I wanted to pursue.
How do you define yourself as a photographer and what is the relevance of fashion in your work, even when you don't work directly with fashion photography?
Photography for me, in general, is about capturing people. That's what gives me the most pleasure, it's really getting the essence of the person in a super light way, even in fashion I notice that I always try to capture a bit of the person's essence, even if they are embodying something else, it's not... because they are wearing the clothes of a brand that they have to promote. I still try to create a link between the person wearing the clothes promoting the brand and at the same time a bit of the personality of the person there. When it's not connected to fashion I try to capture the essence of that person. I love doing portraits... I really love photographing people and trying to capture who they are. And trying to create a bond between myself and the person, trying to make them feel at ease so that they feel so comfortable that I can show that really natural energy of the person. It's a bit like that.
Photography, at least in the past, is a world more predominantly run by the male universe. Do you think the doors are opening for women and/or people who identify with the female gender or is there still a long way to go?
No, you can already see the difference... Especially in the community. Even between men and women photographers there is much more communication. At the time I started photographing there was still very much that essence of competitiveness. Nowadays you can see that it's more about creating community, you can see that we're in the same area and there's work for everyone, there's a sharing of knowledge and showing that you like someone else's work, by not being afraid to say that the other person has done a good job, even though they are from the same area. I’ve noticed this difference for about 3 years, there is much more communication between colleagues in saying "your work is very good", "I really like it, keep going". And, you know, this also helps women to stand out in the area. This is my own opinion, but I think that women have a slightly more sensitive and emotional side than men, because they were always brought up to completely withdraw... women find it easier to capture the essence of the other person, and create a little more connection with the person they are photographing. I find it interesting because sometimes I observe certain works where I notice the difference between a woman photographing and a man. I think women in general are managing to play a very important role in photography, they are standing out more and more.
How would you classify the stereotypes of beauty and body recurrence in the fashionable world, imposed by society in general, and what role do you think they play in youth culture?
From my experience, at the time when I was a teenager, I didn't have role models. It was very difficult to see a person like me, a fat person, being featured or being photographed or appearing in an advertising campaign. It was always with a very negative connotation. So I grew up... I was always a person with no body problems, I always thought I was beautiful, I never thought it was the other way round... I always tried to fight in general the people around me so that no negative comments were made about me, I never allowed that. And since there were no role models I created myself almost as if I was my own role-model. Yes, I am a beautiful woman, I like myself and I don't have people that I identify with but I identify with myself. And I find it very interesting nowadays in the fashion world that there is more and more diversity of bodies. Although sometimes it becomes more of a fashion statement because now everybody wants to be diverse... but it is important to go more towards a normalization aspect because all people exist, more than exactly a "body positive" one. Creating a normalisation that it is possible for this person to have photos taken, or to be making a campaign. What is interesting is the difference that we all have. And to highlight that a little bit. It is always visually interesting to have several people, several bodies, completely different people. It is interesting to show that this is actually the kind of society that we have, but why don't we highlight it? Why don't we show it? I think it's good nowadays to have more of that openness, although I still think some things need to be worked on. But in general I think we are heading towards something good.
What is the cause that you consider to be most yours? What is your voice and what is the message you try to transmit through social networks, through your work and through everything you do, whether it is in a work and creative context or in a more personal one?
For example, on social media I try to mix the two things a bit. Obviously, I'm a photographer first, but I think it's important to show my personality and what I like to do. So I try to mix a bit the two things, work and self-portrait because I have made self-portrait, it is therapeutic for me and also to work technically on certain things in photography that I sometimes don't have the opportunity to do with other people or with clients and I try to show my personality of body normalisation, how I like my body and how I am at ease, to uncompromise this stigma that exists about the fat body and work on these two aspects. And I actually think my voice goes a bit towards that normalisation. I am a person like any other, ok I have a fat body but I am no less than other people. So I always try to play with both and I think it's been working super well and opportunities like this modeling opportunity comes along and helps me show my personality more on social media. Because I'm very much an apologist for what you see is what you get, it's not because it's on social media that you're not what you're going to see in reality naturally. It's not taken care of, but it becomes natural in the process. So I think the two things link perfectly with each other.
How would you define modern Portuguese culture?
I think we are moving towards something more diversified. We're going back to our roots, but creating more of a twist and modernising a bit. In fashion, I find it very interesting that we have completely different communities of men, women, no genders, transsexuals, etc. and people show this through their clothes. I find it super interesting that there are people who dress without having a very specific gender and the creativity that they show in their clothes in that sense. And I find it really interesting in clothes, for example, and I think this is really marking a modernization of Portuguese culture.
What do you think is the role of brands, like Overcube, in the voice that modern Portuguese culture should have in terms of fashion, diversity, disruption, inclusion and so many other areas essential to development?
I think it is important, especially when you invite people who are not part of the social norm. Brands in that sense help a lot to break the chain of always having the same kind of people showing up, and I think that's the most important role of brands. It's not even specifically real people, but different bodies, different people, with different lives, because people always have something interesting to show, regardless of how they are or not, experiences and so on. And I think it's really important for brands in this sense to work with different people because it breaks the standard, so to speak, and ends up showing the general public that people can easily identify with the person in the campaign. And I think that helps a lot.