Júlio de Matos Photography




Where do photographic ideas come from? Some come spontaneously, others take a long time to develop. Photographic project ideas are frequently popping up into my conscious. There are so many aspects of reality that interest me, that I would love to visually explore. It seems that this capacity to generate ideas is far superior to my capacity of realizing them. So I have to be selective. Sometimes this selection is not a process of volunteer decision making. And of course there is “natural selection”. Long time ago I found out that under pressure my creative solution system seems to perform better.

In 1991 Portuguese fashion photographers, were invited to participate in a special exhibition to support the launching of Central modeling agency, by Mi and Tó Romano, two Portuguese top models, with an international background. This happened in a period when fashion and textile activity in Portugal were florescent. I photographed regularly for the fashion industry. I was also teaching Photography and Fashion Photography for fashion designers at CITEX - one of the best European fashion design schools at that time.

Bairro Alto in Lisbon was the agglutinating theme. Bairro Alto was the most healthy city area to live in Eighteen century’s Lisbon. Later, it went through a period of decadence. Bairro Alto’s bad reputation, was rehabilitated by a multitude of restaurants and bars frequented by artists and tourists and Lisbon’s younger generation.

The photographic idea I wanted was not coming! Pressure was growing with the feeling that time was running short to conceptualize, execute and deliver the photographs on time for the catalogue and exhibition. Then, as sometimes happens to me, I witnessed “a perfect birth”. When driving to a meeting, unexpectedly my subconscious “delivered” a finished and perfect solution. It was not the result of a volunteer process, combining ideas and fine tuning them to a solution. No. I really saw those images projected in the wall by my eyes mind lens. All I had to do was “assemble the pieces” and make the photographs.

From the 5 models Central proposed to be photographed, I highlight Chininha who I already photographed before, and Julia Schonberg. She had just arrived few days ago from Cabo Verde. It was her debut on a fashion shooting. Julia’s first step on her fast ascent to become an international Top Model. On the fashion design side of this project, I depended on the CITEX fashion design community that I new quite well. I invited 5 designers from finalists, recent graduates and faculty. I highlight here Manuela Ferreira, José Carlos Militão, two talented recent fashion designers and Helena de Matos, fashion designer and coordinator of the fashion design department at Citex.

So where do photographic ideas come from? In some way I have an almost infinite confidence that when I don’t consciously create them, they will find me. In my mind eyes, I really saw those models floating over Bairro Alto in Black & White.

Júlio de Matos
June, 4th 2009

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