It only took us a few seconds on his Instagram profile to fall in love with João Marques‘ shots, a photographer from Lisbon.
If we had to find a word to describe his photographs, it is contemplation, linked both to the subjects he takes and to the spectators. In fact, many of his images depict figures seen from behind with their eyes pointing towards the sky, at night, during the day, at sunset, full of stars or illuminated by the city lights. Like them, we too are completely enchanted by his work.
We asked João Marques a few questions and he told us how his passion for photography was born.
Tell us how you approached the photograph. Is there a particular moment that you remember?
It started when I was around 13, at that time I asked my dad to try out his digital camera, it was an Olympus and it was pretty cool to me. I started taking mostly portraits of my friends and it kinda was something that always sticked with me through the school years. I was living in a really small town and photography turned into my hobby, I was always filming and photographing my friends. When I was 17 I moved to Lisbon to finish high school and in the following year, I went to film school. In those 3 years, I focused mainly on cinema, I was watching a lot of movies and pretty much discovering my passion for cinema. Only in 2018 after finishing my degree and directing my first short-film ‘Incomum’ I stopped for a moment and thought it could be a cool idea to get some more serious knowledge on photography since it was part of my life for so long but never consciously. I went to Ar.Co and did a 1-year course and that’s when I started to do it again, and I just kept going.
What does photography mean to you and what do you try to tell through your shots?
I work most of the time by instinct, so there’s not that much of a reflection behind my work. At this point, something I understood about myself is that I have a need to create and express myself artistically in some form. I love that photography gave me this opportunity to produce instantly, create an idea or express my perception of a feeling on an image. For someone like me who already has a background also in the film world, where everything is much more complex and involves a lot of people, photography gives me the chance to make almost like a mood board to how I want my films to look and feel like.
What equipment do you use to shoot? Which tools do you take with you when you shoot and why?
I shoot both analog and digital. My digital camera is a Sony A7 III and my film camera is Pentax K1000. It’s funny because actually I’ve never had other film cameras yet (besides point and shoot ones). I’ve been thinking about moving to a 120mm camera but for now still sticking with this one. I don’t like to do very much planning, so I guess most of the time I don’t take anything else besides the camera. If I take something it would be a small light or some prop that I would like to use on the shot.
Is there a shot you are closest to? Can you tell us about it?
If I had to choose one image, maybe this one. This image was taken around 2 am on January 1, 2019. This was the day where I started this series that I titled ‘the sky is a painting’ of night shots. This one represents all the other similar night images that I’ve done. I’ve always felt connected to night time and the sky. I used to stare a lot at the sky and have one of those moments of realizing how small we are. I like to play with this idea of the human vs universe. I would like to do in the future a photo book with all my night atmospheric shots.
Are there artists you follow or are you inspired by?
Sure. There are some other photographers I follow through social media that I find inspiring, mostly I think what attracts me is a personal point of view of the world and life. Some artists I highly recommend taking a look are Mia Novakova, Maya Beano, Tristan Hollingsworth and Edie Sunday for example. However, I think what I’m mostly inspired by is movies. Some filmmakers that have inspired me are David Lynch, Jonas Mekas, Teresa Villaverde, Wong Kar-Wai, and Robert Bresson.