The first contacts with photography go back to my youth, in Angola, Africa. I remember the enchantment at seeing the images appear on the paper dipped in the trays with photo developer. This took place in Luanda, in the laboratory of a photography store. The fascination did not lead me to think I would be a professional photographer (and I never was), but I realized that photography would always be an important activity in my spare time. Therefore, it was and it is until today.
A few years later, while a student at Voronezh Forestry Institute in the former USSR, I started to attend a photography circle and became increasingly interested in the subject, from both a technical point of view and an aesthetic perspective. I learned to develop and to print in black and white.
Portrait, landscape and street photography were the preferred genres; occasionally, I did architecture, macro, scientific photography and abstract photography.
At this time, I started to «meet» great photographers: Agustín Víctor Casasola, Alfred Stieglitz, André Kertész, Ansel Adams, August Sander, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Cartier-Bresson, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Daido Moriyama, Diane Arbus, Don McCullin, Dorothea Lange, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Elliott Erwitt, Erich Salomon, Eugène Atget, Felix Greene, Gunnar Smoliansky, Ilse Bing, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Josef Koudelka, Josef Soudek, Kenru Izu, Leni Riefenstahl, Lucien Aigner, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Marck Ribaud, Mario Giacomelli, Martin Munkácsi, Nick Ut, Paul Strand, Richard Avedon, Robert Doisneau, Robert Frank, Ruth Bernhard, Walker Evans, Werner Bischof, Yousuf Karsh.
Each, in their own way, were inspiring.
Also, at this time, I learned the laws and rules of the perspective, studied optics in depth and immersed myself in the works (landscape and portrait) of the great classical painters.
Some years later, while a Ph D. student at the Moscow State Lomonosov University, I «met» the great Russian photographers Lev Borodulin, Yevgeny Khaldei, Yakov Khalip and especially Alexander Rodchenko. They also inspired me.
At this time, my essential paradigm was that of photography as the recording of the instant, photography as a way to reproduce things and to copy reality, photography as the search of a result of some pre visualization.
A bit later, I found Hiroshi Sugimoto, Michael Kenna and especially Minor White. The statement of Minor White, one should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are, became a guiding principle in many of my photographs.
I began to make long exposure Photography. If a photograph is a moment in time captured for eternity, with long exposure photography, the opposite is true: a long exposure photograph is eternity captured for a moment.
Photography has ceased to be only (and essentially) a reproduction of the world (albeit in a specific language). Gradually photography has also become a process of recording the passage of time. Moreover, the final image obtained is no longer the materialization of a pre-visualized image, but rather a product of the great mystery of things or an enigma of time. Photograhy become a process of creating images charged with symbolism and invisible energy. Photography is no longer a mere copy of reality, but a reinterpretation, or, even, an invention of a new reality, invention made of silence, slowness, meditation.
Even after the appearance of digital photography, I continued work with film for some years, but have eventually adopted digital, too.
I agree that digital photography is a fantastic and accessible format but it can sometimes mean the loosing of some factors that are part of film’s charm in long exposures: the slowness, unpredictability, astonishment and revelation.
Today I use both types, maybe more digital capture except for long and very long exposures (here, really, I love film).
Black and white is my main form of expression in photography.