Interview with Ricardo Porto

Shirley Xu: How long have you been doing photography for? Your photographs are very skilled for someone who isn’t a professional!

Ricardo Porto: I had my first camera in the 90s and for a long time I only took pictures of family & friends. That didn’t change much when I switched to digital about 10 years ago, but by 2010 I decided to start a blog called porto street shooting. I’ve been street shooting for the last four and a half years, a hobby turned crusade.

SX: Have you ever had any lessons or formal classes? Or do you just follow your gut?

RP: Unfortunately, I have never had any formal training, since I can only spare a few hours per week to photography. I’ve read a few books about photography and portraiture, but I’m not much inclined to make this serious… so I keep doing the same mistakes .

SX: I love the sound that you use with your images. (The sound quality is very good, too!) Do you record the sounds as you are taking the image or after? And what do you use to record the sounds?

RP: I have a zoom h1 field recorder that I seldom use since during my photo walks I prefer to use only my little camera. Anyway, here’s a pic of the recorder :)… When I use it I usually just keep it recording while I’m taking the pictures.

SX: I read a few of your replies to people who had requested certain types of pictures before. (Sim, eu posso ler um pouco de português.)

RP: Lês português? Boa! :) The reply you’re probably referring to was one from a cute, determined PR lady that wanted me to take pics of some of her clients around town. I said no cause I believe it wouldn’t sound ‘pure’ and that would probably reflect on the portraits. I tried to give her some serious photographers’ references, though :)

SX: I agree that you have your own style to your photos and that it really stands out! But I’ve always wondered- what’s your opinion on taking commissions? Do you think that being asked to take a picture of ___ takes away from your style?

RP: The truth is that since I know I’m nothing more than a lousy weekend photographer I could never take assignments. In addition, as I have no goals or ambitions for my photography, I believe commissioned portraits wouldn’t work for me.

SX: What was the funniest moment you’ve with had with someone you’ve encountered on the streets?

RP: I have lots of fun. Read all about it here :). Scroll down below the pictures.

SX: Wow, that must have been a very funny experience! It must be great being able to walk around town and communicate with people. Say, if you don’t mind sharing, have you had any bad experiences?

RP: Interestingly, I have not. Well, apart from this particular experience. Of course there’s always people who don’t want to be photographed (I’d say about 4 out of 5 people I ask [say yes]) but then I just thank them and keep going. Some of them even apologize…

SX: What are people’s reactions when you say you want to take a picture of them?

SP: They usually say yes. When they say no I thank them and keep walking. Sometimes I insist a little bit, but in the end I let them go :).

SX: Just for fun, what’s one interesting fact about yourself or one interesting hobby you may have (aside from photography)?

SP: Ah… nothing special! My work has nothing to do with photography and these two worlds don’t come into contact with each other :). It’s not that I hide the fact, but I just don’t promote it among my friends and coworkers.

SX: If you don’t mind me asking, what do you do as work for a living? What do you think about your job in comparison to photography?

SP: Finance, go figure… one thing in common is you need some creativity and open-mindedness to perform.


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