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Photographing Lello & Irmão

Also called the “Harry Potter”-Bookstore, for JK Rowling supposedly being here and taking inspiration, Lello & Irmão is a magnificent piece of architecture in Porto, Portugal. It was build in 1906 by Xavier Esteves, a well known Iberian architect of the prewar period. Usually the style is described as Neogothic-Jugendstil, while that being true, it has definitely a fantastic or mystic touch. Certainly the bookshop would fit very well in any wizardry story and it is the perfect place to dive in into your fantasy book. The store and the books seem to mix here in an interesting, almost magic way. I very much recommend a visit.

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Lisbon in Focus

When people ask me about the craft of photography – and by no means I want to claim to be an expert – they usually first ask about my gear. I get it, the gear is important. Of course you want to have a DSLR to get a good quality shot and have a lens with a wide spectrum to catch it all. Post-processing is part of it too, some lighting improvements and tone adjustments. But that’s not what it is really about. You can get good equipment nowadays for less and less money, and that’s cool because it allows more and more people to express themselves creatively. But what I like about photography is to get to look closely, find interesting subjects, uncover the hidden things in daily street life. Basically photography – or the kind photography I like – is focusing, finding beauty in common things and following their geometry. The gear helps, but the work is done by the eyes. The result is joy, and maybe some interesting shots (among many many hundreds).

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Discovering Lisboa

I am living in Lisbon now since November, there are a couple more months to come. But inevitably I will have to take my flight back as my stay here is limited. What will I miss? A beautiful city that’s for sure. And the Portuguese winter. Of course there are rainy days, but when the sun is out the city shines and the people smile (the last one is a cliche ;)). So what I like to do is to seize the day (off) and focus on certain parts of the city and take my time. The beautiful thing about staying in a city for a longer period of time is precisely the luxury of being able to do this kind of “salami tourism”. It allows me to discover hidden streets and uncover interesting artifacts of urbanity (like street art) off the well travelled routes. Tough a post titled “Discovering Lisboa” has to start with a known and beloved view I guess, so here we go:

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Lisbon in Color

The last series of photographs I published on the website were rather dark toned or held entirely in black and white. Though I very much like the use of monochrome in photography, especially in street photography (check out the amazing work of Viviane Maier, I also recommend the beautiful documentary about her life I saw recently), many photographers actually seem to forget their lenses are capably of capturing some beautiful light and colors. So my little goal for this one was to highlight the amazing range of colors you encounter walking on a sunny day through the old town of Lisbon.

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