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  • Writer's pictureJorge Bernardes

World Photography day

I've been thinking about this on and off during the day, and it is a day that I couldn't let go by without remarking on, and I've seen friends and professional colleagues thanking the great Niépce and Daguerre for creating something that these days has such a great role in everyone's life. But I have to give a closer thank you. This one is closer to home, in that house that was once my home, with my father. As much as I sometimes try to highlight the differences between us, sometimes it becomes impossible to deny the influence that he has over me. This man was able to induce in me the choice of two completely different professions. And even though he is still a bit upset because I let go of the first on and decided to follow the second I think it is important for it to be known that it was him that took me to both. I have to thank him on this day because it was him that put a camera in my hand for the first time. It is more than likely that this happened on one of the days in which we were both watching the airplanes go by in some airshow somewhere in Portugal, hence the influence for my first profession.

But even before that there was talk of photography at home because my father also photographed. My first memories of photography are not photographing but printing pictures. I remember distinctly my dad setting up the enlarger in the bathroom on an improvised work bench over the bath tub, in which there were the vats with the chemicals that made the images appear in that magical paper that couldn't be out in the light. I also remember that our bathroom at the time had a high window with frosted glass that connected to my room and that my dad would diligently cover up with black cardboard when we prepared to print pictures.

I could not imagine how much that would influence me later.

I took up my father's camera many times, I took picture with it, I heard his tips with the lightheartedness of someone who takes care of a cool hobby, which it is for so many, and which it was for him.

Later, when I was 16 years old, I took a summer photography course, 3 weeks of madness, in which the film was unlimited and the time in the dark room was as much as one could take. I shot at that time with film like one does today in digital, quickly (and clumsily) like someone who begins to enjoy something addictive without realizing he is addicted.

Meanwhile I turned 18 and I put down the camera, I decided to go into that other profession, and I studied, I did it and I succeeded.

But with the passing of time the will to make images reappeared and it was stronger than before.

I bought a camera, I read magazines, books, saw images, read again, I followed tutorials on youtube and other photography websites, I took a professional course at night, in my free time, etc.

I told my father I had decided to drop my first profession and move on to the second, he didn't like it too much, without realizing that it had been him that had given me that option many years before. "Why drop something secure, that pays every month the same thing on the same day, for something that might not give you enough for everything?" he asked.

To be happier.

I think that photography brings me closer to people and to the important things in this world. I feel well behind the camera when I make the person in front of it feel well. Since I got here by my father's hands, here are my father's hands, with a camera.

As mãos do meu pai - My father's hands

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