I was born in East Timor in 1964, although both of my parents are Portuguese. I'm living in Portugal since 1965.

 

I started shooting professionally in 1985 and have never stopped since. I never had a job at the office. Even when I was young and inexperienced, in difficult times, I did everything that let me keep shooting.

 

It Is my passion.

  • What kind of gear do you prefer?

    An equipment capable of meeting my requirements, but above all light and to which I get used as an extension of my gesture in the grasp of a moment.

    The equipment and the knowledge we have set the limit of what we can achieve and with what level of effort and commitment to the actual feel of each photograph. I prefer to choose equipment that makes me focus on creating photographs, than a technically top, but that by its complexity, weight, size, limits me and makes it difficult, deviating from what really matters.

  • - Camera?

    The Nikon D600 combines the resolution, low light and high ISO capability, shutter, viewfinder, reliability, manoeuvrability, size and weight that I like in a camera.

    Being the son of a military instructor and having started shooting at the age of 6, I try to have the camera as a trigger extension, well-oiled and ready. The Nikon D600 gives me that and honestly, I love the camera.

    Every day and everywhere if a picture pops into my head, whether pathetic, beautiful or just a hallucination of mine, Polaroid is my favourite language. The Polaroid official app is my constant companion, installed on the Leica camera of my P10 + Huawei mobile.

  • - Lenses. Which ones are your favourite?

    I work with my "holy trinity" lens:

     

    Nikon AF 85mm f1.8 D. Besides its outstanding quality and lightness, has the exact perspective to work around a model and increases my way of seeing, whether in studio or outdoors. I love it so much that I have it always in the camera.

    Sigma 17-35mm f2.8/4 EX DG HSM Wide angle, an easy, fast and great quality-must-have-lens. A fantastic playground for my mind.

    Nikon AF 180mm f2.8 ED. Outstanding compressed perspective. My choice for head shoots and street action.

     

    I addition, I have a Nikon AF 50mm f1.4 D, because is versatile, luminous and sharp with a beautiful bokeh. Sometimes works better for short spaces or that special “no” perspective shoot.

  • - What about lights?

    I love light! Of any kind.

    The most beautiful is the sun light, from the sharp and hard to the red soft at the end of the day. I admit my passion for the hard light, at the middle of the day. Outdoors I use a lot reflectors and diffusers to mold light. When needed, I use a slight flash to fill in.

    In the studio I have a big glass window with natural light, direct or not, depending on the hour. Artificial light is my laboratory and playground. I love the halogen warm light, like soft boxes, spots, fresnel and others, mostly from hedler brand.

  • When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you?

    I use the Lowepro Passport Sling II camera bag, for everyday carry, and Orion AW for outside sessions. There I put:

    - My Nikon D600 with big memory cards (the bigger, the better), cards reader, hard disc, 3 spare batteries with their 220V car or usb charger and power bank with built-in solar panel.

    - 85mm + 17-35mm + 200mm/ duplicator TC-200 plus AF Extension Tubes set and polarizing filter for each lens.

    - Ewa-Marine 20m waterproof bag.

    - 2 different sizes 5 in 1 reflector/diffuser

    - Very ligth tripod

    - Very powerful flashlight or small light projectors. Depending on needs and possibilities.

  • What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.

    I take my time to discover a feeling or idea, sometimes long before the shooting session. In the shooting day, I give all the time to the feeling and mood to revel itself and then I shoot it. After, I finish images slowly, giving time to find again each image and be in love with each one of them.

    I shoot always in raw with a low resolution monochrome jpg. After that, I convert all raw images to dng and open selected ones in Adobe Bridge. Opening one by one the files in camera raw, I give them a bit more of sharpening, not too much, and open it in Adobe Photoshop.

    My digital darkroom starts with conversion to smart object. Second the B&W conversion, with channel mixer. After I see if I need corrections to the image, like crop or rotation. Contrast and levels are next. In the end I see if I retouch something that I don’t like, and if so, I open a copy from background layer and do it there. Sometimes I use an unsharp mask or film grain filter.

    For 20 years I worked only in analog, digital photography did not exist yet. It taught me a lot in business and personal work.

  • What advice would you give to starting photographer?

    Just do it. Really, grab the first camera you can and just start shooting. It doesn’t matter if you own the best DSLR/mirrorless camera or just a smartphone as long as you treat them with the same level of respect. Then, study hard, look for education, learn from others, learn from yourself… once you mastered it, you must forget it.

  • Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

    In my childhood, we always have the French magazine Photo at home and I grew looking at all that black and white images from the masters. It shaped my view of people and the world. Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Tom Bailey and Jean Loup Sieff are the ones more who become my masters.

  • What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

    I was fortunate to come from a family of respected Portuguese photographers (Novaes, Kirt Pinto) and that my father ordered the French Photo magazine every month, witch filled me with emotions and beauty.

     

    At the age of 15, I started to wonder what to do in life. After 3 years of thinking about it, I finally took my first life-changing photography and from that moment, I decided that I wanted to become a photographer. That was what I wanted to do with my life - immortalize the emotions a vision can have!

    Total family crisis.

    I bought my first camera – a Nikon F with a 28mm Soligor lens.

     

    One day in the spring of 1985, at the age of 20, I asked a friend to meet me with his cousin, the artistic director of the most important art magazine of the time in Portugal, Casa & Decoration. He agreed, but he told me that his cousin was a tough guy and I had little chances. So… I went there and showed my pictures of flowers, sunsets, animals, people, ordinary stuff and said to him: - “This is how I see these things and since you are the best Portuguese magazine, I want to work with you”. He looked at me - laughing a lot - and said, “Those are ok. I want a new way of looking at things anyway. You can work with us. Do you know how to photograph interiors? I answered: - “Of course! ".

    We set the day and place of my first session. I was hysterical with happiness. I left his office and flied to the nearest bookstore, trying to understand what it was to photograph interiors ...

     

    I spent days looking at Architectural Digest and Interior magazines to understand what I could do… at the time, my only equipment was a Nikkormat, 28mm and 300mm lenses and a tripod. On the day of the session, I arrived at the scene and he asked me for the lights. I stared at him, completely shocked and not knowing what he was talking about. Very confidently I said, "I don't use them." He laughed and told me he would help me a little. Well… the work went great and before I knew it I was a professional photographer!

    From there, I studied extensively, specialized in architecture/interior, production, portraiture, graphic reporting and art reproduction photography. Soon I would have an international portfolio of clients.

     

    In 1994, I was fed up with commercial photography. I needed a new breath, new life, new horizons and I began to express myself through photography with what has become my main project: Iconography.

    Until today.

  • Why do you photograph women? And why are they naked?

    The purpose of my art is to celebrate The Woman in all her magnitude, inspiring the respect and admiration I have for them. If physical beauty is the most apparent, on its own merit, serves as a medium for all her greatness.

    Naked body of the naked soul. It is not a goal, but the space and time when it is full and only her. It’s a trip to the inner self, the deep dimension, without distractions or rags.

  • In your perspective, what are the fundamental principles of working with models?

    I have 5 golden rules:

    Rule # 1 - Respect. The model deserves your highest respect and consideration, all the time. For example, don't touch a model without her permission and you will only do so if you have a good reason to. And so on…

     

    Rule # 2 – Professionals or amateurs, photographer and model should have a clear understanding and compromise about all the commitments and questions. Everything you agree about work type, time, payment and image rights should be in written, by email or contract.

     

    Rule # 3 – If you have personal problems don’t try to solve them shooting women. The model is not your mother, wife, lover, friend or doll. You pay a model for her work, not to be your fantasy in the flesh. You want the model’s shape, emotions, way of thinking…not herself.

     

    Rule # 4 - You're always the host, so be the best of you: Be kind, empathic, take care of the model's comfort (providing food and drink, good environment temperature, time for pauses and privacy) and team up with her. Don’t work only for the final image, but for the experience and all the real moments.  That way your final image will be greater.

    After the shooting, take a moment to relax, talk and laugh. I often prefer to have a model a few days as my guest and know her well, share time and bond.

     

    Rule # 5 – Even if you are not, be professional. Do your homework and do your best to organize your goals and session, leaving room for the unpredictable and creativity.

     

    Follow these 5 rules and have a clear mind about why you are shooting and what you are. Most of the time, the photographer isn't sure what he or she wants, but most of all, you can and should know what you don't want for yourself and for the model.

WORKING WITH ME

"João is an excellent soul to create art with. Our photo shoot was an emotional travel and a lot of fun. He is very charismatic and charming person and he knows how to make you comfortable. I recommend collaboration with him to any model who is interested in creating great pictures. He is a real artist. I enjoyed your world a lot you, João and looking forward to meet you one day again. Agnes Fox Berlin
"It's anything but boring! Working with João is very easy because I am completely comfortable! It's a moment where I can express my personality and let myself go, and I do that because I can make my contribution to the creation. Catarina Esteves No fixed residence
"João de Castro, my friend, photographer and connoisseur of the feminine essence. Owner of a lens that does not want the beauty of the pose studied, or the work of a mere infallible protocol. The photo shoot is based on a sensory burst of pure energy that allows us to discover our female body. The flaw of yore no longer makes any sense, I have come to like my crooked feet and prominent womb as they tell my story and the robustness of a sharp personality. Art takes on another dimension and I am grateful for somehow contributing and experiencing it. From such a simple and genuine union, the complex was created. So grateful ... To you João de Castro. Sheila Teodoro Lisbon
"It’s a pleasure to work with you, João. Your photography can capture beyond me and still being the more possible me. Vitória Dias Lisbon

WHAT THE PRESS SAID ABOUT MY WORK

written in Portuguese

EXHIBITIONS

Individual

 

2012

“The World of Candor” in Large format (1.5X2.8m) – Archaeological Museum of the Convent of Carmo – Lisbon.

“The World of Candor” Large format (1.5X2.8m) – Rio’s – Oeiras.

“The World of Candor” Large format (1.5X2.8m) – Spock Bar – Lisbon.

 

2009

Large format Nudes (1.5X4m) - Cultural week of the Students Nucleus of the Agrarian School of Coimbra – Coimbra.

 

2008

“João de Castro” – 1st Internacional Salon of Creative Arts – Porto

Show of 12 photos and lounge with “New Year” (8.50 X 2.40 m).

“New Year” (4.50 X 1.20 m) – Permanent Exhibition - Club M - Madeira

 

2007

“Water Forms” – Coimbra’s Water Museum

“From Death” - V International Congress Espaço T “Death, Culture and Art” – Porto

 

2006

“1st Series” – Permanent Exhibition - Maxfac Cosmetic Surgery Clinic – Lisbon

“From Death”- Water Museum - Registration Room - Mãe de Água - Lisboa

Individual photographic exhibition, with “Amor-te” exhibition of Walter Schels and Beate Lakotta.

 

2005

“High Photos” –Sotto Mayor Palace – Lisbon

 

2004

“Diva” – Cultural Institute of Santos Bank - S. Paulo- Brazil.

 

2002

“Artphoto” – Paço de Arcos’ Noble Hall.

Collective

 

2016

"Le Sexe" Exhibited in the permanent collection "best contemporary Portuguese photographers" Art 8 - Bairro Alto - Lisbon.

 

2010

“Full Beauty” – “Diva”, “Muse”, “With Me” – Large format (1.5X4m). Exhibited on the exterior of the Coimbra’s Academical Association building – Coimbra

 

Exhibition Prestige 25 years of career - 10 selected works – Festas da Ascensão / Oficina do Corpo - Miss and Mister Facebook Portugal 2010 Parade - Chamusca “Diva”, “Muse”, “Nudity”, “To Be” – Racal Club Main Office – Silves Prestige Exhibition of the 25 Years Career - 10 selected works - 5th Salon of Expositors – Professional Association of Photographers – Caldas da Rainha.

 

2009

“Diva”, “Muse”, “Nudity”, “To Be” - 35º Algarve’s Photo Salon – Portugal and international tour.

“Full Beauty” – “Diva”, “Muse”, “With Me” – large format (1.5X4m) - 32ª Bookseller’s fair of Coimbra/

Coimbra’s Academic Association – Coimbra

“Musa”, “With me”, “Skin” – Demonstrative Professional Formation – 4th Salon of Expositors – Professional Association of Photographers – Caldas da Rainha

“Torso 2” – 1st Intensive Course of Photographic Nude, Aesthetics and Expression João de Castro/AFP – 4th Salon of Expositors – Professional Association of Photographers – Caldas da Rainha

 

2008

“The 10 Commandments of Water” – Coimbra’s Water Museum

“High Visions HP” – 1st International Salon of Creative Arts - Porto

“High Visions HP” – 3rd Salon of Expositors – Professional Association of Photographers – Caldas da Rainha

 

2007

“IN DEFINITION” – Water Museum - Mãe d’ Água – Lisbon

“New Year” (9 X 2.40 m) – Stand HP – 2nd Salon of Expositors – Professional Association of Photographers – Caldas da Rainha

 

2006

“Manifest 24”/ portrait Manuel Carmo - Angel Orensanz Foundation - New York

 

2004

“9arte” – Sacramento’s Gallerie- Lisbon

 

2002

“Strategical Landscapes” – Cultural Center of Belém – Lisbon

“Contemporanian Portuguese Architecture” – Exponor - Porto

 

2001

“Paysages Strategiques” – Galerie d’Architecture – Paris.

“Objects+Architectures” – Coimbra’s School of Artistic Technologies.

 

2000

“Triennial of Architecture – Interarch 2000 – Sofia – Bulgaria

“Objects+Architectures” –Architects Order – Warehouse 7 – Lisbon

 

1999

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – Macau’s Forum

“Objects+Architectures” - Milan’s Polytechnic Institute

 

1998

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – The Architecture Foundation - London

“Triennial of Architecture of Sintra”

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – Art Center – Hong Kong

 

1997

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – Contemporaneous Art Center – Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – Michigan – USA

“Photovision” – International Fair of Lisbon

 

1996

“XIX edition of the International Triennial of Architecture of Milan”

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – Urban Center – New York

“Portugal of Sea, Stones and Cities” – Cultural Center of Belém – Lisbon

 

1995

“Biennial Maia’s Youth 95”

 

1993

“The Sea Limit” – Lisbon’s Municipal Chamber and Association of Portuguese Architects – Greenhouse – Lisbon.

 

"João is an excellent soul to create art with. Our photo shoot was an emotional travel and a lot of fun. He is very charismatic and charming person and he knows how to make you comfortable. I recommend collaboration with him to any model who is interested in creating great pictures. He is a real artist. I enjoyed your world a lot you, João and looking forward to meet you one day again. Agnes Fox Berlin "It's anything but boring! Working with João is very easy because I am completely comfortable! It's a moment where I can express my personality and let myself go, and I do that because I can make my contribution to the creation. Catarina Esteves No fixed residence "João de Castro, my friend, photographer and connoisseur of the feminine essence. Owner of a lens that does not want the beauty of the pose studied, or the work of a mere infallible protocol. The photo shoot is based on a sensory burst of pure energy that allows us to discover our female body. The flaw of yore no longer makes any sense, I have come to like my crooked feet and prominent womb as they tell my story and the robustness of a sharp personality. Art takes on another dimension and I am grateful for somehow contributing and experiencing it. From such a simple and genuine union, the complex was created. So grateful ... To you João de Castro. Sheila Teodoro Lisbon "It’s a pleasure to work with you, João. Your photography can capture beyond me and still being the more possible me. Vitória Dias Lisbon
"João is an excellent soul to create art with. Our photo shoot was an emotional travel and a lot of fun. He is very charismatic and charming person and he knows how to make you comfortable. I recommend collaboration with him to any model who is interested in creating great pictures. He is a real artist. I enjoyed your world a lot you, João and looking forward to meet you one day again. Agnes Fox Berlin "It's anything but boring! Working with João is very easy because I am completely comfortable! It's a moment where I can express my personality and let myself go, and I do that because I can make my contribution to the creation. Catarina Esteves No fixed residence "João de Castro, my friend, photographer and connoisseur of the feminine essence. Owner of a lens that does not want the beauty of the pose studied, or the work of a mere infallible protocol. The photo shoot is based on a sensory burst of pure energy that allows us to discover our female body. The flaw of yore no longer makes any sense, I have come to like my crooked feet and prominent womb as they tell my story and the robustness of a sharp personality. Art takes on another dimension and I am grateful for somehow contributing and experiencing it. From such a simple and genuine union, the complex was created. So grateful ... To you João de Castro. Sheila Teodoro Lisbon "It’s a pleasure to work with you, João. Your photography can capture beyond me and still being the more possible me. Vitória Dias Lisbon
"João is an excellent soul to create art with. Our photo shoot was an emotional travel and a lot of fun. He is very charismatic and charming person and he knows how to make you comfortable. I recommend collaboration with him to any model who is interested in creating great pictures. He is a real artist. I enjoyed your world a lot you, João and looking forward to meet you one day again. Agnes Fox Berlin
"It's anything but boring! Working with João is very easy because I am completely comfortable! It's a moment where I can express my personality and let myself go, and I do that because I can make my contribution to the creation. Catarina Esteves No fixed residence
"João de Castro, my friend, photographer and connoisseur of the feminine essence. Owner of a lens that does not want the beauty of the pose studied, or the work of a mere infallible protocol. The photo shoot is based on a sensory burst of pure energy that allows us to discover our female body. The flaw of yore no longer makes any sense, I have come to like my crooked feet and prominent womb as they tell my story and the robustness of a sharp personality. Art takes on another dimension and I am grateful for somehow contributing and experiencing it. From such a simple and genuine union, the complex was created. So grateful ... To you João de Castro. Sheila Teodoro Lisbon
"It’s a pleasure to work with you, João. Your photography can capture beyond me and still being the more possible me. Vitória Dias Lisbon