Thursday, 20 January 2011

[ Police ]


Straight from Paris, here's a scene from todays walk. It's a stick-on graffiti that's growing more and more popular here, taken in the Bastille monument.

Small detail, I've finally fully converted to raw imagery, which is a bit more time consuming in the post-processing of the photos, but gives a whole new range of possibilities in intensity, color balance and contrast. This is one of my first try outs.

It's amazing how much I've missed this gorgeous city, and how much pleasure it gives me just to walk around and capture all the small details. There are no words to describe the mood difference between Paris and Porto. Some of the Christmas lightings are still up, and you can feel the joy and positive attitude everywhere you go - a refreshing change from the ever growing crisis and weird political climate from Portugal...

Monday, 10 January 2011

[ Inspiration ]

I lost track of how many blogs and websites I follow, however, only a few selected ones fit my Safari welcome screen. The Startorialist is one of them. Check out the movie above to find out why.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

[ Decisions ]


I suppose it's better if I start this one off with a warning: this post isn't for the faint hearted.

"Verhalte dich ruhig" was a sentence written in the walls of the bathrooms in Auschwitz - Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. It was a photo I decided a long time ago to keep out of the [ I will never forget ] post I made exactly one year ago today. That decision was simple: the scar that visit left in me was still too fresh to deal with some of the things I saw.

In an effort from the nazi troops to break the bodies of their prisoners, they soon realized that some of them appeared to have no breaking point. Starved, beaten, raped, humiliated, deprived of their identities, of their possessions, of their families, with all imaginable things lost, some of them kept proud. So, they turned to propaganda in an effort to find a breaking point in their minds since they failed to find it in their bodies.

"Verhalte dich ruhig" - "keep calm" was a part of that propaganda. "be honest", "be polite", "be obedient", "do you duties", and many many other sentences like this one were written in the walls of the complexes, in front of the 1,5m wide wooden racks where seven prisoners slept, inside the holes in the ground they called bathrooms, inside the gas chambers.

"Maybe that would break them", "maybe the beatings weren't enough to make them realize that their situation was actually their fault", "if we can't break their bodies, we can break their minds", "everybody has some sort of breaking point"... They finally learned that even then some prisoners have decided that their souls, their courage, their very heart were things that no aggression, physical or psychological torment was able to break, so they turned to the only solution left for these people that didn't have breaking points: death.

This photo was taken only nine days before my life changed. After that, 430 days of challenges, questions, riddles, mind games, pressures, issues, problems, things to solve, things to figure out, things to learn, having keep happy, keep smiling, keep everybody else smiling, keep strong, keep calm, "verhalte dich ruhig"...

Now, after the first battle, a big decision has to be made. Should I lower my arms, accept and find some comfort in the words those fucking quitters whisper in my ears saying "it could be much worse", or should I pick myself up, dust myself off, lick my wounds and embrace another 430 days just like the ones I left behind?

Simple decision for most guys, except... I don't have a breaking point.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

[ 12 wishes ]


I look at new year wishes like I look at the lights of a chandelier. At first they're all bright and steady, and after a while some of them start flickering, some of them burn out, leaving only a few at the end of the year, sometimes hardly even enough to light the room, or in this case, your life, the way you intended it to.

I didn't make 12 wishes for 2010, I made three simple ones, and none of the lights were burned out on December 31st. Was it a good year? Well, it depends on the way you define 'good'.

I guess most people mix up a 'good' year with an 'easy' one, and that just doesn't work for me. Last year was probably the hardest year I ever lived through, but I survived. The challenges were enormous, but I survived. The sadness kept trying to creep in, but I still wake up with a smile on my face every single day. The worries surrounded me at all times, but I never lost a single moments sleep, so if I think carefully, it wasn't a bad year.

Although 2011 is still a big question mark to me, the direction is set, and I wont stop at anything. 2011 is going to be a year of great changes, another hard year, but, unlike 2010, it's not going to be a year of questions, it's going to be a year of answers.

I made 12 wishes for 2011, and I'm going to make sure the 12 of them come true.