We are the creators of our own destiny. People say, if you follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose. For many of us, this is easier said than done. Teresa, a lovely member of our Instagrammer-Community, perfectly shows: It is definitely possible! We’re so happy she was willing to share her inspirational journey with us. Find out how she developed her very own style, how Instagram had an impact on her career path and how she overcame her doubts to turn her biggest passion into her job!
First of all, could you give us an introduction to who you are, where you come from and where you are living now? A little bit of your personal background.
I’m a 29 years old photographer living in a village by the sea, called Cascais (near Lisbon, Portugal). I’ve lived here all my life and would have a hard time leaving, it’s the perfect sunny spot between the excitement of the capital and the natural park of Sintra-Cascais. I’ve graduated from Multimedia Art and mastered in Design & New Media from the Faculty of Fine Arts – my plan along the way was to be a graphic designer, namely for User Interfaces, but Instagram ended up having a huge influence in my career path and I am able to say I’m a photographer nowadays. Photography is an art I have always loved thanks to my father, but I never imagined it being a possible outcome for me, even though I picked photography for all optional courses and yearly projects during my bachelor’s degree. I almost didn’t realize it was my biggest passion, I was mainly focusing on the fact that it was a hard profession to be successful in, namely in Portugal.
How did you start your photography career? How did your own personal style evolve over the years?
I’ve started getting attention on Instagram thanks to my experiments with mobile photography and creative editing. I was doing it just for fun, but it ended up being the start of my photography career. PICKMOTION was actually one of the first opportunities to earn money from those images. And brands started getting in touch so I would photograph their products in that creative way. My style naturally developed into something else as I moved to a DSLR and got more and more interested in the editing process – creativity started to lie more in my way of working with color, but collaborations kept coming in. I’ve been able to be a full-time photographer since the beginning of last year, 2019, by continuing to work with brands for content creation and promotion, selling limited edition prints of my work, presets and, of course, through PICKMOTION!
What inspires you and why?
This question is very tricky and can lead to an often uncertain answer. It’s very easy to find inspiration nowadays. In college, it was studying and analysing the work of renowned artists that you would find and develop inspiration and apply it to your personal work. Today, a quick scroll on Instagram enables you to find images that inspire you for the day or even the year. So, more than specific artists or subjects, I believe what inspires me the most are individual images I see every day. Either from artists or not. If you’re asking what influences me, it’s different. Color influences me, and the weather during a day of shooting even more, as it affects how light bounces back on a specific color. I don’t get out to shoot on grey and cloudy days for example – I need sunlit subjects to be able to do my thing!
Your pictures often look like paintings – how did you develop this style?
With time. Time is often the most important thing you can give to your work. I was always curious about how presets and filters were developed and wanted to learn how to edit a picture from scratch and the visual possibilities it might have. I spent a lot of time in Lightroom until I reached a point where I was closer to being 100% satisfied. I don’t use presets in my own images, as I edit each set individually because I believe that’s how I get the best results for them. My editing style often gives a subtle yet surreal feel that something in the picture is not real, and that’s just colourwork – unintentionally at first but luckily enough, it gives a painterly quality to my images that I very much enjoy and am always happy to hear that that’s what people see in it too.
You have traveled a lot for your images, it’s very amazing! What would be one (or a few) of the most impressive or inspiring things you have encountered on these trips?
Travelling with a camera always makes you more observative of people and places and paying extra attention to detail. I’m always inspired by daily-life – thinking of a moment that impressed me in Budapest, as I went in a room of thermal baths in the very early morning, clearly occupied by locals and not tourists, and just witnessing the quietness that that particular place had. I never perceived the silence that way. So that’s what I most enjoy and am inspired by when traveling – finding and experiencing a moment or scene that is utterly different from anything I’ve experienced back home.
How do you feel about the IG community you built up? Do you often connect with other IG-ers?
I think it’s one of the main reasons I continue to be able to work doing what I love – so I’m particularly thankful for it and I’m glad I can continue to grow. I mostly connect with Portuguese IG-ers but I love any Instagram trip or Insta-meet. These are the people who understand your passion more than anyone, and it’s great talking about it and sharing shooting sessions with them.
How and why did you start using Instagram as a platform for showing your artwork?
I didn’t give it much thought when I joined Instagram so I don’t think there’s a very strong “why” to it. It was a fun new platform to try. I started using it in 2011 to find other people’s work and be inspired. I think I only started posting in 2012. At the time, I approached it as a visual diary – instant moments of my days that could be shared visually. It all started from there.
Do you have a favourite photograph that you created and what is the story behind it?
I can’t think of a particular image right now, but a set of images from La Muralla Roja I visited last year are at the top of my favourites. Mainly because it was a place I wanted to go for so long, and finally got around to go. It felt quite surreal to “live” there, even if only for a few days. I had that continuous feel-good sensation you get when you wake up from a nice dream. I didn’t have internet or TV and was by myself, so it was just about enjoying the place and photographing it throughout the day. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Could you give us some of your personal favourite accounts?