Antonio Coelho: Imagination is the most important aspect in photography

24 dec, 2021

Member of the World Professional Photographers Organization Antonio Coelho is a renowned photographer (check out the list of his awards and exhibitions). Coelho’s secret is simple: approach photography as a metaphorical depiction of reality and don’t forget about humor. Read more about major aspects of Anthony Coelho's success in photography in our interview.

– Antonio, please introduce yourself to our readers.

– My name is Antonio Coelho; I am from Portugal and I love photography. I live in a small village, Recarei, near Oporto, in the north of Portugal.

In fact, my main profession is electrical engineer. I started shooting in 2010 after a honeymoon trip to Cuba. From 2010 to 2014 I photographed mostly in analog format using old cameras. At the end of 2014 I bought my first DSLR and from since then I have developed several styles of photography, especially interested in architecture, conceptual, fine art, still life, among others. I have won several national and international competitions.

Photography has become an integral part of my life and both improved knowledge and dissemination of my work have increased my interest in this activity. I try to approach common everyday topics in a funny and entertaining way, using mostly simple and engaging content for the viewer, because I believe that simplicity and color are fundamental to grab the viewer's attention.

When I travel, I take a lot of photographs and try to work on images to create works of fine art that people admire. Photography these days is much more than just the click of a shutter. It starts in photographer's head, records by camera and is performed in the software (a kind of dark development room).

Currently I have several series published in the national and international press.

– Tell us about your journey in the world of photography.

– I started in 2010 with a small camera. After that I started using old medium format film cameras and Lomography.

In 2014 I bought my first DSLR and since then I’ve been developing in several genres including: still-life, architecture, fine art photography and nature. In fact, I really love nature, especially mushrooms.

I won several contests, in 2016 with 2nd place in 35AWARDS competition in the Conceptual Photography category. In 2017, I was the «Still Life» winner at the Xposure Sharjah Festival Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates. The following year, I won the Portuguese National Award at the Sony Awards 2019, and I was also nominated in the Still Life category. I won this award again in 2020 and, again, was shortlisted for the Still Life

In recent years, I have been a winner in several other national and international competitions, received several honorable mentions and 2nd and 3rd places.

– Who were your early influences?

– I love color, I love black and white but the idea of showing people a different point of view, my personal perspective and in a conceptual way, sends me to Maurits Cornelis Escher and Victor Vasarely. They weren’t photographers, but I try to use different perspectives in my works.

My favorite photographer is Ansel Adams. Even though I have been doing analog photography for a long time just like him and now I don’t, what really interests me in his work is his vision and how he conveyed what he saw to the viewer in his own special way. The man said: “You do not take a picture; you create the picture.” Photographer should create photography with this thought and idea in mind. I create my works in a fun way and always as an analogy to the reality that surrounds me.

 – What is your favorite subject to photograph?

– As I said before, I like still life, nature, architecture, and fine art. My favorite one is still life. I like to use simple objects with different backgrounds and sources of light when creating photographs.

– What details do you believe make the best photographs?

– For example, I use such simple elements as plastic, paper, and metal. The main detail is imagination. I think that this is the most important aspect of the photography process. Using simple elements and creating complex photos with a strong message - that’s creativity.

 – What equipment is a must-have for you no matter where you are going to be working?

– My cameras, digital or analog. I use Nikon and Sony but also old cameras as Zeiss Ikon Nettar and Salyut C in medium format. I always have one camera in the bag with my prime lens. Wherever I travel, I usually carry a camera with 10-20mm and 50mm lenses with me.

 –What software do you use to manipulate your photographs?

– I use Photoshop and Lightroom. Sometimes Luminar.

– You have been participating in 35AWARDS since 2016. Why did you choose this contest?

– I discover this competition on the Internet when I was looking for contest to participate. I submitted some works and became one of the lucky winners, taking 2nd place in the Conceptual Photography category. I like the 35photos platform, there are a huge number of fantastic photographers with several types of genres. I’ve discoverd many interesting works and great photographers.

 – Describe your expectations from participating in WPPO.

- I’m really looking forward to learning more about this project.

As I mentioned, I started taking photography on a different level in 2014 and has grown exponentially since then. My work has been recognized, I have received interesting awards, and therefore I hope to present my style, my interest and my creativity to WPPO, and I also hope that people are going to like them, and at the same time I can contribute to this project.