“With my latest book ‘State of Mind’ I was interested in capturing the inner moments of suspension or hesitation when one finds oneself thinking.”
Nuno Moreira (born 1982 in Lisbon) is a contemporary photographer from Portugal currently based in Tokyo, Japan. He holds a degree in cinema. Nuno Moreira has recently published a monograph called “State of Mind”.
Nuno Moreira has been travelling exhaustively through Europe and Asia as a way of exploring the relationship of photography as a medium capable of capturing complex emotional narratives but also to find answers to bigger questions in life.
Since 2006 Nuno has been regularly exhibiting his photo projects in galleries and teaching visual arts on a regular basis while always keeping his personal projects as the main driving force.
Throughout the years of traveling and getting to know different cultures the ‘State of Mind’ project naturally emerged and a photo book was recently published.
“Artist Profile” – Nuno Moreira
Nuno, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
Producing images is a way of expressing myself. I find it liberating to take photos and it’s an ongoing process of self-discovery. I first started taking photos as a compliment to my career as a graphic artist and it progressively turned into a more personal outlet for different ideas. I feel I can address better the outside world and express opinions through a different medium if I have images that back up my thoughts. In many aspects I feel photography is a dialogue I’m having with my inner self, sometimes I’m posing questions, other times just listening.
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
Fortunately I approach projects in a very instinctive way. Meaning there’s no pre-conceived idea of where it’s leading me. Usually the photos come first (many times from trips I do or from my daily life) and then with time or due to something I’m researching at the moment, something starts emerging that I go on to debate alone and with close friends.
“I believe there’s a poetic quality related with the “thinking moments”, especially if it’s from strangers.”
Usually a series only comes alive and becomes public when it’s a topic I return sufficient times and still reverberates or provokes a discussion or some sort of discomfort. If I’m working on a given theme and find an answer quickly, it means it’s not worthy of being addressed as an artistic project.
I’ve noticed most photographers build a body of work to show a process or technique or purely out of documentary style. My interest in photography is creating a stage, or should I say a mood, in which a given topic has enough space to be thought about and live on it’s own. With my latest book “State of Mind” I was interested in capturing the inner moments of suspension or hesitation when one finds oneself thinking. I believe there’s a poetic quality related with the “thinking moments”, especially if it’s from strangers.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
I don’t draw much inspiration from other photographers. I do attend a lot of art and photography exhibitions but more to actually confirm my own direction and taste and not really to get straight ideas. It helps me to put my work in perspective if I see more pictures and preferably different stuff or something completely unknown to me.
This past weekend I saw a show by Ueda Shoji & Jacques Henri Lartigue at the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo and there were some very swell images from Shoji and his series “Children the Year Round”.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
I’m sorry but I wouldn’t really know any.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
“I’m not the kind of person who takes many photos or carries the camera everywhere.”
I use different cameras according with the assignment, place I’m going (practicality reasons), or even my mood on that day. It might sound frivolous but I think of the camera as an extension of myself, like a piece of clothes I’ll be dressing so I have to feel comfortable in order to not think about it during the day as I go about.
Strangely enough, I’m not the kind of person who takes many photos or carries the camera everywhere.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I mostly visit websites from friends to check out their current works. People I’ve met recently, or links that are sent to me. Here’s websites from friends with very different styles: Jesse Freeman, Gui Martinez, Daniel Epthorp, Felix Lee.
What book about photography would you recommend?
A few years ago when I was teaching I would strongly recommend to my students The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski and Susan Sontag’s On Photography. They are generic enough to please everyone and good to start a discussion.
If you’re looking for a photo book, I would suggest my own called “State of Mind” – and please, write back giving me your feedback.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
I would recommend seeing more exhibitions and buying more photo books. The only way to learn about photography and develop a language is through practice and that involves necessarily seeing and doing. So, buy more books and go to more art shows.
Immerse yourself in what interests you. Do that once or twice a week (at least) and I’m sure that’s way better than any crash-course or workshop on photography. Oh, and being persistent is a fundamental requirement.