Arthur Damasceno

Where are you from?

Brazil

Before being a photographer, tell us what you wanted to be?

Well, it’s been a while from the day I started. When I was 17 my dad bought me a digital camera and ever since I never stopped taking pictures. I actually never planned to be something else. I was always assured about developing some skills related with art and creations. I always wanted to be free.

Tell me about the moment you decided to become a photographer?

It just happened when I realized that nothing else could make me feel like myself and photography has always been the language I speak fluently, even more than words.

What was the best advise you received when you started your photographer carrier?

I sadly never received. Back in that time when I started I was completely alone, young and the most known photographers were selfish enough for not sharing information with beginners. So I had to learn by myself. 

Can you define photography?

The most impressive thing about photography is that it can be whatever our minds are up to. Photographs have its role of everlasting printed memories, indeed. Plus they can be all abstract and having no palpable meaning. In the same way portraits can be a self projection, they can be our opinion about those people, we cannot deny this personal connection. It’s deeply about us as it is about the people who are being captured by our lens. So I think making portraits is a relationship, an intersection between who photographers and people on their pictures are.
Photography is a gate that lead us into another atmosphere, into some different points of view and new ideas. I don’t believe photography is 100% reality or an undeniable truth, this is way much more complex than that and I think it’s more about interpretation and projections. Photography is a funny way to play with life as we try to make those memories lasts for as far as it can be. It’s completely personal and we cannot be impartial, whether we want it or not, we are giving something at the same time they are giving us too. So, this is not just about a frame, a picture, lighting, posing, composition, exposure, directions, no. Photography is beyond the picture. 

 

For you, what makes a good photographer?

For me a good photographer has first to be a good hunter and a fearless adventurer. People who are always thirsty for new experiences and uncomfortable situations that make them think and act quickly while having a lil’ fun. For the good photographers only their subject matters, much more than their own protagonism. We have to accept to be the least important person at the scene. We are just writers using light as our pencils. We are not pop stars, not at all. We’re backstage people. Silent people. Unnoticed people. That what makes us good ones. 

For you, what makes a good photograph?

A good photograph leaves me with tons of questions without answers. A powerful picture is a start point of discussions and not the final station.

What is your biggest challenge today?

There are at least four people in a photo shooting: me, the person I’m photographing, who this person think she is and who I think this person is. The biggest challenge is finding a balance on this mess and try to make it all make sense. As a photographer I’m challenged to evoke unnoticed feelings for the most people. 

Tell us about the day you felt most proud about your work?

It was 2016 when I most felt proud of what I do. My former history teacher who is a close friend of mine was facing her treatment on cancer. She’d been exposed into several chemotherapy sessions and her body was suffering pain and damages. I always had in my mind that my biggest mission as a photographer was to make people recover their self esteem. But instead of trying to make her feel beautiful again I changed my mind for something greater than this. At this point I was pursuing for something real and touching. So I took some pictures of her as I see her. When she saw my photos she cried and she felt a little hope. This is when I changed my purpose. I’m no longer hunting beauty or any superficial aspect. When I make a portrait I want people to feel that I can see their value as a person, their souls, their inner beauty. So I felt proud because I left the surface and I jumped into the deep sea. I’m still sinking.

Tell us about the relationship you have with other photographers? How important you feel that is.

I have a great group of photographers friends I’m always in touch. Those relationships makes me grow and rethink what I’m doing. Being connected with them, I’m sharing and receiving fresh thoughts. I believe there is a power on the collective sharing. We can grow faster together. It doesn’t matter how good a workshop or a conference is, I’ve been learning through this years more with my colleagues. 

Can you tell us an advise - photography or business tip - that somehow made your career evolve at any point?

Fight for your own language, people liking it or not. Be the conqueror of your own style and capture things as you see them with all of your heart, culture, story, fears, concerns, points of view. Do not suit yourself 
up to be accepted by other people, you can lose your precious identity in the middle of this, so don’t play the everybody-loves-me game.

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