No Absolute Color in Sao Paulo

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You studied under the great Brazilian photographer Carlos Moreira for one year. Whats the biggest lesson you learned from him?

They were many. The course lasted 10 months, so it was a long and slow process. Maybe unpretentiousness. I was a very ignorant “photographer” back then. By getting to know the history of the medium, its masters, I realized how hard I’d have to work If I wanted to be slightly good. At the same time, I learned that I was the only person I had to please with my photography, so photographing should be all about having fun.

You’re very attracted to color, whether you’re shooting in your hometown of Cassia, in Sao Paulo, or in England. Is it something you seek out when photographing?

Yes, definitely color attracts me a lot. But not only color. I once read a text by Ernst Haas in which he said that some colors have their own lighting, while other colors need to be enlightened to be seen. There’s no absolute color. This quote made me think a lot about colors and about how they react to light.

What’s your process like when shooting on the streets?

It’s quite simple. I just wander the streets and stop by whenever I see something that interests me. It can be light, a graphic situation, a scene… I shoot and go on. I don’t like to get stuck in the same place for too long. Most of the time I don’t even know where I’m going when I go out to shoot. My path is determined by what I happen to see.

You’re a member of SelvaSP, a collective of street photographers in Sao Paulo. How did you become involved?

We started back in 2012. There were 6 of us then, and now we’re 15 or more, and counting. My pal Drago had the idea of forming a street photography collective dedicated to Sao Paulo. He started to chat with some people here that were doing it, and the group started to grow. It was quite “organic”. Our aim is not only to do street photography, but to bring it back to the streets. We stick prints onto the walls of Sao Paulo streets, and we also post photos on our Facebook page. We also do slideshows projections in public spaces and parties, and we’re planning new way of returning photos to the city. We’re planning a new website soon. All our photos are under Creative Commons, so the idea is to have a public contemporary archive of Sao Paulo.

One of the words of advice you’ve offered to emerging street photographers out there is “never talk to strangers.” Why?

Hehe, actually I was joking when I said that. I do talk to strangers when I’m out shooting. But yeah, maybe listening to music and concentrating on your inner self, trying not to be bothered by the exterior world, can help a new photographer to find his way.

Gustavo Gomes was born in Cassia, Minas Gerais, in 1981. He lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and publishes his daily work on Flickr.



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