Say hello to Gonçalo :
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I’m originally from Portugal, but I’ve lived in Switzerland since 2008. I used to live in Cascais, near the beach. It was amazing; every morning I used to walk on the sand to go to school. Unfortunately, I had to leave that wonderful place to go to live in Switzerland (also beautiful) for economic reasons. Now I live in Lugano, next to the lake. There is always something new to photograph – where I live, the connection between society and nature is very high and you can see that people respect nature and its wonders. However, Portugal will always be fascinating to me, because it’s where my family comes from and where I grew up. I love photographing its stunning beaches, the beautiful ocean, and all the other goods that nature gave it. I’ve also travelled a lot in Europe – I’ve visited Spain, France, Italy, England, Germany, Austria, Serbia and Croatia. I definitely loved England the most – London is an amazing city, there are a lot of cultures, ethnic groups, and the people are very kind and funny. Furthermore, there are many places to photograph – I only spent one month there, and I couldn’t get enough taking photos!
What’s your favorite place in the world?
So far, my favourite place in the world is Guicho, a very famous beach in Cascais. When I’m there, I feel like I’m throwing away all my problems into the ocean; I feel free, reborn. It also brings back memories of my childhood – I used to go there all the time with my friends when I was little. Sunrises and sunsets are incredible, the sand is really thin and soft, the water is very clear, and the sky is always blue.
How do you find your inspiration?
It could sound a bit nonsensical, but I get inspired the most by observing the moon – sometimes I spend all night looking at it and photographing it. Like the ocean, it makes me feel free and it gives me the positive energy that I need to photograph. I think we all have to observe the nature around us more – as Albert Einstein said, “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” I have another source of inspiration: music. I play the piano and listen to music all the time. It gives me power.
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
Sometimes, it’s difficult to combine studies and photography. I have to study a lot, and next year, I’m going to university. Luckily, I’ve always found a little time to photograph. Moreover, when I go somewhere, I always take my Nikon with me!
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
I’ve always had a strong connection with photography. When I was only five, my mother gave me an old camera: it was her biggest mistake. I started photographing everything, everywhere! Then I grew up and this passion became more intense – I bought a better camera and I started taking photos more seriously with a friend of my mother, who is a professional photographer. I learned a lot from him. For now, photography is a hobby… but who knows, maybe someday it will be more than a simple amusement!
Of the photos you’ve taken, which three are your favorite?
I took this photo last year while I was staring at the mountains from my bedroom window. It might seem a simple photo, but for me, it has a strong meaning. The mountaintop represents the place where I will be one day, where I will be happy about my career once I have finished my studies and have a job, the “brighter” moment of my life… after this long ride. Anyway, this is my interpretation – I think anyone could give this photo a different meaning.
I really love this photo: I took it in Portugal and my grandfather is in it. This shot was taken without preparation (he was still moving, I didn’t tell him that I wanted to take a photo) – I just took advantage of the moment and captured it. I think shots like this are the best – just “carpe diem” and feel the moment, because you never know if it will happen again….
This one was taken in Portugal – I love it because I had to wait for a long time before these two seagulls struck the pose! Well… I think it was worth it!
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Patience – if you want to be a photographer, you have to be patient. You can’t pretend that the first shot is the perfect one; sometimes, you have to try a million times before it is as you want it to be. So, if you are just starting in photography and you think that your photos aren’t the best, just take your time. You have to practise if you want your photos to be good! Another piece of advice – just be yourself, don’t try to copy other photographers’ style. I think you should be inspired by others, but still try to be original.
How do you express yourself through your photography?
I try to represent a sense of calm, peace, anger, love, happiness – anything that makes people reflect on their feelings.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
At this moment, I don’t because of my studies. However, in the future, I would like to feature other photographers and visit places all over the world.
What is your most life-changing event?
My most life-changing event is without a doubt, my immigration experience. It completely changed my life – I had to learn a new language, get to know new people, make new friends… and I was only nine years old. In the beginning, it was really hard, but then I got used to it. Luckily, I found amazing people that helped me very much!
What will you be doing five years from now?
Five years from now, I think I will be finishing my Business and Law Master’s… if all goes well! I hope I will find a job outside Switzerland – I would like to work abroad for a while.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
There are a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to do such as skydiving in Dubai or climbing the Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. However, considering that I’m only eighteen, I think I will probably do these things in the future.
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Gonçalo, here’s some contact information:
Gonçalo, thank you for sharing your story with us! Good luck with your studies! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!