Ana showcase some of the interesting travel portraits we have come across in recent times. There seems to be more clarity and vision within her works and what makes them stand out is the connection they tend to make with the onlooker. Ana gives us the reason behind such fascinating portraits and tells us the clever technique behind her works. Read on and am sure you will learn quiet a few new approaches to deal with the next time you are on the streets.
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Ana Caroline de Lima and I’m a journalist from Brazil who has been working mainly as a travel photographer in the last two years. Due to my huge interest about humanity (ways of life, personal stories, different cultures), I’ve completed a post-graduation course in visual anthropology so I could have a theoretical background about my photos and writings.
Would you call yourself a Travel Photographer?
I travel to photograph and photograph to travel, however my main profession is journalism still. I’m doing what I can to mix both things (photos and writing) and make a living with it.
When did this love for portraits happen, do you have any particular reason behind?
My relationship with photography is quite recent; I bought my camera six years ago. In the last three years, I decided to focus on photography. In the last two years I’m getting a good feedback, with exhibitions and photo assignments around the world, so I feel it’s the right way to go, but I have a lot to learn.
Few months after I bought my first camera, I used to take photos of anything, just for the fun of shooting. This changed when I found someone with a very interesting face while walking in the streets with my camera. I started talking to this person and when I was about to leave, I asked for a portrait. When I came back home, I looked at the portrait and somehow I felt that image was telling me more about that person than after the entire conversation I had with him. Never stopped taking portraits ever since.
My inspiration comes from everyday life. God has created so much beauty in the world, you just have to take a time to admire it.
Regarding my favorite photographer, I don’t even need time to choose one: Steve McCurry.
Months before I bought my first camera, Mc Curry went to my city, Sao Paulo, to give a lecture about his work. I was completely amazed not only at his photographs but also at his approach and passion about what he does. His work is stunning. The photos are technically beautiful, like you would expect from a National Geographic photographer but what makes him stand out is the humanity portrayed there. It makes all the difference to me. Bill Allard is another photographer that creates amazing stories through photographs.
I find some painters very inspiring as well, such as Velazquez and Caravaggio and the way they deal with contrast and light.
What does it take to capture a stunning portrait & for Ana what is a good portrait?
I believe that a good portrait it’s one that establish a connection between the viewer and the portrayed, so you start wondering the story behind that face.
When it comes to portraits, I need to find a person that caught my attention for some reason. It can be anyone, anywhere. When I see someone and think ‘this person it’s going to give me a good portrait’, it usually does. I have to feel some sort of connection. Then I try to make the person comfortable with me. It can take days or just a few minutes.
That’s one of the reasons I like travel photography: if it’s an assignment I know what photos the client want and I just get up early and wander around, looking for an interesting situation to photograph, I have freedom to choose who or what I want to shoot. If I’m just traveling randomly it’s the same thing, however people need to know that when you’re a traveler photographer you may have a different schedule, so chances are you’re not going to parties every night or spend the whole day chilling in the pool. I think it takes a lot of commitment. Usually I wake up early, I go to sleep early, I’m always with my camera. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun. I always do, but I have my own way of having fun. Photography takes me to a very peaceful and joyful state.
When you’re shooting for commercial reasons, you have a better defined schedule, but you may not get to choose the person you’re photographing so the portrait can be beautiful but not emotionally engaging (at least for my point of view, of course).
Nikon D5100, 24-70mm, 50mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm, however I have been using only the 24-70mm lately. Yes, the camera is old and way too basic and I’m about to upgrade it in the next weeks. However, it has helped me with all the photos I’ve taken so far. I don’t travel with flashes either.
I would say using a simple gear like this has taught me to try even harder; to get the best I can from what I have in the moment. Actually, it’s quite interesting if I stop to think about it because I remember when I started taking photos and hanging out with other photographers, I remember they used to take those who didn’t have a full frame camera for granted, like if you’re camera is not full frame, you can’t take good pictures. I confess I was quite uncomfortable when I saw someone trying to see which camera or lens I was using. Now this doesn’t happen anymore. Maybe because I stopped hanging out with them.
Now it’s time to upgrade. The camera is more than five years old and now with exhibitions and assignments I need much more quality in terms of resolution.
Your future goals and places you always wish to travel?
My professional goal is to be able to really make a living with travel photography/journalism. I’ve been knocking and kicking at this door for a while, I just want to open it for good.
My travel list… Every week I add one more place to it! Even though I spent the last two years coming and going from Asia, I would say this continent is still on the top of my list: Mongolia, Tibet, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Yemen… I also would love to spend more time in India and Myanmar.
Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity with 121clicks.com, any final thoughts or advice for aspirants?
Stay true to yourself and don’t give up! If you are giving your first steps in photography and still can’t afford a high end gear, learn to use what you have in the best way you can. If money it’s not a problem, try to figure out what kind of photography keeps you more interested and go for it.
Smile and respect. Empathy it’s important when photographing people. Try to imagine how you would feel if you were walking in the streets and somebody comes, point a camera at you, take a photo and walk away. Would you like that? People tend to respond very well if you are REALLY interested in their story. If there is not much time to long conversations, just show some respect and treat people how you would like to be treated.
You can find Ana Caroline de Lima on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Ana Caroline de Lima. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.