Vilamoura, Portugal, April 2012

Please tell us how you got started and how long you have been in the business.

I started drawing and painting in the early nineties. I took my first photos during my studies in Journalism. I started sharing my works online in 2006 (first on my blog, then on Flickr, then on deviantArt and finally on 500px and some social networks). I began to make a living out of my creative works only recently through exhibitions in art galleries and art fairs, in Europe mainly.

What has been the career defining moment in your life?

Professional opportunities became serious and interesting just after I launched my Pencil Vs Camera series in 2010. This is certainly the highest creative peak in my career so far.

While most of the photographers capture the world in their images, you are much more than an image creator. How do you conceptualize such themes?

As most of the photographers do, I also “capture the world” in my normal photos, but there is another dimension in Pencil Vs Camera, which is very powerful: imagination. This series belongs to mixed media, the images in this collection mix drawing and photography, imagination and reality. I do not really spend time to “conceptualize” any of my pictures. I simply express my ideas and feelings with the mediums I have used the most these past years: photography and drawing. The idea came very naturally.

Your photographs have a strong message in them against injustice. What else do you portray through your photographs and how important is it to retain the sense of humor in your photographs?

Humor is important but it’s not my priority. I like to generate a dramatic mood in my photos. Let’s say it’s more about irony, derision and sarcasm.

How important is it for a photograph to tell a story and how do you relate to your audience?

There is a story behind each photo. Some stories are more significant than other ones. When there is a very special and unusual anecdote behind a picture, I always mention it because it’s not always obvious to the viewers. I think sharing the circumstances in which the photo was taken makes sense and gives more value to the photo itself. Definitely a photo becomes really successful when it talks by itself and when no comment or legend is needed at all.

You have made paintings, sculptures, cartoons, illustrations, portraits, caricatures, collages, photos, calligraphy, and poems. Which form of representation is the closest to you?

I think the real me is more of a painter/drawer. Some people tend to say that many of my pictures look like painting. Because this is what I like the most.

Are you a dreamer?

Yes, I totally am. I’m not sure what exactly are my dreams, my hopes or expectations, but I always try to achieve things that seem completely impossible to accomplish. I’m not afraid to take a wrong direction or to do mistakes. We all do... It’s important to keep going and give the best all the time. I wake up every morning believing I’ll manage to achieve new goals. May be I won’t, but in the end, the path counts more than the final results.

Who are some of your favourite artists and how have they influenced your work?

In my creative projects, I try not to be influenced by other artists. I definitely agree we are a "big community" of creative persons who influence each other, but I really do my best to stay away from the standards, just by following my own direction as much as I can.

Marketing and self-promotion is critical to any business and even more so for photographers. What is your take on this?

I have tried working with an agent some time ago. It didn’t work very well. I prefer to manage myself even if it is harder and even if it looks strange. It’s difficult for artists to promote themselves and to handle the different commercial and administrative aspects of their work but it's possible.

The egg or the hen question, do you take a photo first and then make your drawings or do you sketch first and then capture an image?

Most of the time I do the sketches first and then take the picture. I often need to add some small corrections to the final photo in post-production to make sure the sketch on the paper matches perfectly with the photo.

Do you have a a person reviewing and examining your photographs before you share them with the world?

No, I don’t have any person to judge or evaluate my work before I post it online. As soon as I’m finished with the production and the editing of an image, I share it online. I’m the only one to blame if I share bad stuff. But I always pay attention to the comments and feedbacks I receive from the people viewing my images.

When you move from being behind the lens, what do you enjoy most?

I love to spend time with my wife and my family. I like to walk in parks, forests or any other green environment, do sports, go out with friends and get completely wasted (this happens only a few times a year, lol)…

What do you have in store next and how different is it to your previous projects?

Right now, I’m working on something very different and maybe unexpected for people following my work. It might take a lot of time and be a total fiasco in the end but I need to give it a try. I also have a new graphic project in mind which I might start this Summer, I plan to make giant portraits with organic elements, I can’t say more so far.

What equipment and software do you make use of in your workflow?

Here is the material I currently use:

Canon EOS Mark II. Canon lens EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM. Canon lens EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Samsung NX11. Samsung lens 50-200mm f 4.0-5.6 ois. Samsung ifunction lens 20-50mm f 3.5-5.6. I work on an iMac computer, I use an Intuos Wacom tablet and my main images editing softwares are Adobe PS CS4 and Illustrator. For my traditional works, I use paper, pencils, canvas, acrylic painting, ballpoint pens…

Quick 10: (In very few words):

• Something you’re still learning: Electronic music
• Five adjectives that describe you well: Determined, hopeful, positive,
hard worker, unpredictable
• Favourite printer: ZPrinter 650 (3D printer)
• Favourite shoot: Recent shooting for “Tour the France Photo”
• Favourite cartoon: Dragon Ball Z
• Favourite photographer: Christophe Gilbert
• Current photographers you like: Gilad Benary, Anne Geddes…
• Most memorable story: My Flesh and Acrylic shootings
• Pencil or camera? : Pencil ☺
• Toughest day at work: Everyday

(*) FotoFlock is a photography magazine featuring portfolios and interviews of professional photographers, tutorials, how-to articles and product reviews. It is based in india.