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Revisiting Lisboa Pt. I

During a winter few years ago I had the privilege to live in Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal. Working a full time job I had the weekends off to discover the city, trying to capture the colours and the spirit of Lisboa on camera. I published the results on this website between late 2014 and early 2015. You’ll find a collection of the series’ right here. My piece about Azulejos, the traditional craft of manufacturing ceramic tiles, is still one of the most clicked articles on this website.

So two months ago I got to get back to the wonderful capital of Portugal once again for a few days and I fell in love again. As I used to do I took my camera bag and roamed freely around the city once again, revisiting parts of the town I already new but also discovering new places like the Convento di Carmo, an abandoned church I haven’t been to before. Of course you never take the same shot twice, there is always a new angle, a new perspective and in this case also a new camera and new lenses.

It felt like a direct continuations of what I did a couple of years before, like I would never have been away really. Also the weather was just perfect for photography in these last days of Iberian summer. I’ve spend some time to curate the new shots and make them into a couple of new series’, which I will release little by little during the following months.

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Portugal by Night

For the last weeks and months Portugal was the main recurring theme of this project. With this final post the series is coming to an end. In this one I want to show you some impressions of the country by night. Most of the pictures were taken in Lisbon. Night photography is a special challenge, it takes much more work and endurance if there is no natural light at disposal. Patience, a steady hand and a good tripod are a must.

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Azulejos of Lisbon

The capital of Azulejos is without any doubt Lisbon. Just to remind you, Azulejos are thin-glazed ceramic tiles covering many historic buildings in Portugal. Last time I presented them to you I featured Azulejos from all of Portugal. This time though I want to lay my focus on the capital of the country. Azulejos come in all sorts of forms and colors, the variety is really remarkable. Though if you look closely there are differences within the country (I have no scientific proof for my bold hypothesis). The patterns in Northern Portugal tend to my more flowery and very often they are composed of earthy and grounded colors while in Lisboa there are definitely more bright colors and the style is more geometric.

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Azulejos of Portugal

Decorative building façades composed of thin-glazed ceramic tiles are considered a national art form in Portugal with a long historic tradition dating back to Arabic times. In Português they are called “Azulejos”, most probably stemming from the Arabic “al zulaij” meaning small polished stone. In fact the technique was adapted from Moorish decorative art in the early 16th century and gained popularity quickly in the aspiring Portuguese architecture of the time. Still today many houses as well as churches are decorated with these beautiful works of art produced over time by many tile maker workshops in different parts of the country (and in other Portuguese speaking countries around the world like Brazil). Probably there are almost as many patterns as there are Bacalhau receipts, but maybe that’s slightly exaggerated  😉 Interestingly though their use is not purely decorative in nature but the tiles also have practical gains as they help to control the temperature within the covered buildings.

I didn’t get to photograph all of the tile houses I passed by as that would definitely be a lifetime task (someone out there is attempting I am sure), but some of the artwork caught my eye while living and traveling in Portugal in the beginning of the year. I will post another collection with Azulejos specifically from Lisbon, the following are from all over the country (Porto, Coimbra, Aveiro, Guimaraes, also Lisbon etc.).

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Photographing Lisbon Pt. I

A few months have passed since I left Lisbon. I stayed there for the past autumn and winter working and traveling. As much as I could I used the weekends for photography, roaming the busy streets of the Portuguese capital trying to capture it’s spirit on film (well not really, on a SD card).  Life has moved on, but the buzzing trams and friendly people of this great town seem still close to me.

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