Like fragments of life

The fascination for the unknown. For distant cultures and civilizations portrayed in movies and books from childhood. That’s what sparked my desire to travel. A backpack that was packed each year in a lighter way. Like the load on my shoulders and in my thoughts. Every warm season we set off from Lisbon in one direction: Orient.

Adventures must have a memory. It’s important that they last in our memory. A Sony A350 DSLR satisfied that need. Year after year, the automatic mode did not fail. But the weight of the camera and the size of the lens… oh well. It got worse when I started travelling for work purposes. The old and heavy DSLR has been left behind.

Later I decided to learn the basics of photography. WOW!!! It was other eyes behind the camera and a new world ahead! I needed new equipment. I ended up choosing the Olympus E-M10 Mark II kit. It was everything I needed. Light, small and affordable. An amazing camera for a beginner like me. Loved it!

When I bought the Olympus 25mm F1.8, the enjoyment of shooting increased exponentially. Maybe it’s the piece of glass I’ve peered through more often. The 50mm distance was enough for everything I wanted. The lens always remained glued to the camera, and I rarely used the Olympus 40-150mm F4 5.6 R, which I still own. Sometimes it can come in handy.

On the trips, the usual selfies predominated along with point-and-shoot photos. Some criteria only started to emerge after the photography course I took. But when I look back at the photos forgotten in the hard trunks, I realize now that the people and their daily life have always been a source of attraction.

The focus of the streets and passers-by that crossed my path changed dramatically in early 2017. Fatherhood! The event that changes the meaning of life and the centre of the world. My daughter began to take up all my photographic space, or almost all of it. She brought along the Olympus 45mm F1.8. A little jewel at a bargain price. And the portrait started to gain expression. Two years later, the scenario repeated itself.

The arrival of two new beings in my world led me to abandon the East. My shoots naturally began to follow my gaze. Gigabytes of attention focused on small specimens of people. But the pleasure for photography was always growing. Explored in another way. The “new” way.

In 2019 it was time for an upgrade. After all, the time I dedicated to shooting was increasing. No doubt it was already my main hobby. Olympus still had all the arguments for keeping me loyal, and I decided to buy the most beautiful camera I know. A work of art that makes me proud to carry it. The Olympus PEN-F.

My new partner made me develop another interest. Black and white photography. Much due to the ease of setting the creative dial selector-switch. More and more, the world is no longer a colourful globe. Black and white became a commonplace, although occasionally interrupted by the six blue eyes around me.

To photograph is to adapt to the moment. I cannot have a defined style nor a preferred genre. Maybe the light is the trigger that makes the brain process between colour and monochrome. It also depends on the target. In the streets, the lights and shadows of the city call for black and white. In the family, the world is splashed with colour. But I don’t follow rules.

For the streets, I added to my portfolio the Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7. Another light and bright prime that fulfils my requirements. Finally, happiness came as a prize in a contest with the Olympus 75mm 1.8. A lens of exceptional quality, but a little heavy for my day-to-day. By the way, that weight took my conscience out of acquiring an Olympus 12-40mm 2.8 PRO.

No regrets. For a while. The Olympus PEN-F and the Micro 4/3 system fill pretty much everything I need. They’re small, lightweight, and with higher quality than my level of amateurism in photography. Plus, they are totally compatible with my two daughters. In a small backpack, I carry the PEN-F with two lenses in full communion of space with two nappies, a bottle, and a pack of cookies.

Although the lightness of the equipment allows me to move faster, the unsustainable lightness of two children cannot be properly followed by the continuous autofocus. The PEN-F struggles to keep the focus on moving subjects, especially unpredictable ones. The Contrast Detect AF system is perhaps the biggest handicap I find in my flirtation with the PEN-F. Of course, shooting in low light is also a problem when compared to other sensors, but I don’t care. The same for the lack of weather sealing because it’s not critical with the primes I own.

My amateurism extends to post-production. I never get much beyond lights and shadows. An iPad with the free Adobe Photoshop Express app is all I need. Maybe in the near future, I can dedicate myself more to learning the whole photographic process. I lack the culture and history of this art.

I miss a libertarian backpack on my back and a Lonely Planet in my hand. Exploring faraway places. Photographing remote people. Now, time passes differently. The photographs are limited to portraying my daily life. I have no other choice. I take advantage of my two favourite little models, my places, my loved ones. Like fragments of life.

My daughters are the reflection of my gaze. Maybe one day they will be able to appreciate this album of memories.

"I’m a Portuguese guy based in Lisbon, living happy days with my family, especially with my two young daughters. I am an amateur photographer. As a traveller, photos have always been part of my memories. However, it was only about 5 years ago that I decided to learn the basics concepts of this art. Over the last decade, my focus change from the streets of Asia to my neighbourhood playground. And, of course, from complete strangers to my children. I don't have a photography genre. Just shooting according to my routine."

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