I’m a Canadian who moved to Porto, in the north of Portugal, in late 2013. Previously in Toronto and Vancouver, with expat stops in the USA, Scotland, and Australia. A freelance photographer since 2008, and an avid blogger posting daily since 2002.
Jardim Botânico do Porto has been on my radar for a long time now, but two things kept postponing this first visit: they don’t allow dogs, and it’s located in a residential neighbourhood away from the centre. So when the weather brightened up on a Saturday and I’d taken Ice the Dog out for a good run, the botanical garden became today’s afternoon destination.
It’s still winter and the days are relatively short, but I was able to shoot the manor house and some of the gardens before the sun disappeared. There’s an exhibition on until the end of April, which I’ll visit on a rainy day. For now, this is just a photographic introduction.
We arrived home late from Nazaré, where we celebrated Carnaval 2018 and became better acquainted with the city on foot. The digital pile of hundreds of images is too high to tackle tonight, so here’s a tiny preview in the form of a ladybug from earlier today during the parade.
It would be interesting to find a catalogue of Portugal’s convent sweets, if such a thing exists. Because I seem to encounter new ones at practically every confeitaria in every parish of every town in the country. If I’d have known there would be this many, I would’ve started cataloguing them myself from Day 1, except — believe it or not — I sometimes forget to take pictures before I’ve eaten them. Oops.
Take this place in Vila Real, for example. There are 10 items on this list alone (with more items inside), and I only recognize about half of them. I live only an hour away!
The two items in the first photo are (top) Pastéis de Santa Clara (eggs, almond, and cinnamon), and (bottom) Cristas de Galo (eggs and almond) — the latter shaped like a rooster’s comb, hence the name.
More Pastéis de Santa Clara above, and below we have Pitos de Santa Luzia (pastry, pumpkin jam, cinnamon). According to the Casa Lapão website, the Pitos have a story:
According to legend, the Pitos were created by a novice who was devoted to St. Lucy, patron saint of the visually impaired and everything having to do with sight. Since the novice was accustomed to making eye bandages from squares of fabric folded with the points inward, with linseed patches on the inside, she designed a sweet pastry pocket in the same shape, filled with pumpkin jam and cinnamon.
A sudden and unbridled urge to be outdoors is what happens when your home is a construction zone for two full days, followed by a full day of cleaning up after the mess and moving furniture back. Thankfully on Day 4, sunshine was abundant and we took full advantage of it. Ice the Dog was on board, too, after trying to escape from the loud noises, paint fumes, brooms, mops, and his nemesis: the vacuum cleaner.
Stop 1: Capela do Senhor da Pedra, Praia de Miramar (Vila Nova de Gaia)
I don’t know how many times I’ve photographed this chapel, but it’s many (both night and day), and it never gets old. We had lunch here at a new place that makes burgers in bolo do caco from Madeira, which I hope catches on because I love bolo do caco!
Stop 2: Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria de Válega (Ovar, Aveiro)
This church has been on my “to photograph” list for a while now, and I’m so pleased to have finally seen it up close. I had Ice the Dog with me, so I wasn’t able to visit the interior or enter the cemetery directly in front of the church. But I was happy that the church faces west and I was able to shoot it without any shadows.
The beautiful façade of Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria de Válega. (I had to mute the video to spare you the whining of my impatient dog.)
My goal was to photograph Bordalo II‘s trash art titled Guarda Rios at the municipal park, which we were able to do just before it became too dark:
As a bonus, we spotted a striking mural near the Bordalo II sculpture and I was able to get about half of it in the sun. I wasn’t familiar with the signature so I looked it up online. This piece is from late 2016, by an Australian artist named Fintan Magee, titled “Head in the clouds”.
Eating outside at the beach, photographing churches and street art — it was another fine February day in Portugal.
If you take a map of continental Portugal and eyeball the geographic centre, thereabouts you’ll find the town of Sertã in the district of Castelo Branco.
We passed through Sertã enroute to Monsanto on December 1, stopping for an al fresco lunch with Ice the Dog and enjoying the colourful leaf display while we all stretched our legs. In some places December 1 is already wintry, but while we were in Sertã it was still courting autumn, as you can see. We weren’t around long enough to discover the town’s defining features aside from a river running through, but we couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque lunch spot on our way to the mountains.
All photos courtesy of Ana Luísa Pinto. (Click any for more info.) Check out her latest project: 52sisterhood
1. Please tell me a bit about yourself. What is your name and where are you from? Por favor fale-me um pouco sobre si. Qual é o seu nome e de onde é?
My name is Ana Luisa Pinto and I am from Porto, born and raised. I am 31 years old and my brand is Luminous Photography, which I initiated in 2008 in order to give a name and face to my self-portrait projects. Since then, my work divides itself between artistic production (of conceptual self-portraits) and commercial photography, especially of weddings, couples and families.
O meu nome é Ana Luísa Pinto e sou do Porto, nascida e criada! Tenho 31 anos e a minha marca é a Luminous Photography, que iniciei em 2008, para dar nome e rosto aos meus projectos de auto-retrato! Desde então, o meu trabalho divide-se entre a produção artística (de auto-retratos conceptuais) e a fotografia comercial, em especial de casamentos, de casais e de famílias.
2. What made you decide to pursue art? O que o/a fez seguir as artes?
The arts have always been present in my life – it has never been a thing to think about. Ever since I was a little girl, drawing and painting were my favorite activities; throughout my time growing up, photography and reading (and, consequently, writing) started to take over that territory, giving structure to my imagination. At the same time, despite my family not being especially turned towards the arts (with the exception of my mother, who is a dancer), they always gave me the necessary support and instilled the importance of learning more about everything that would interest me – should it be through literature, courses or trial and error – and this gave me the freedom to experiment, to explore and to discover myself in the world of artistic creation. In terms of education, I was lucky to have teachers, especially in secondary school (in “Escola Secundária Infante D. Henrique”, which unfortunately is on the verge of closing!), who knew how to take my tastes and my inclination towards art to a place that was more efficient than the one which I, in my stubbornness and rationality of craving a simple and safe job, would have taken alone. I have had immense luck with the people that guide me, and without them my path would be very different.
As artes estiveram sempre presentes na minha vida — nunca foi uma coisa pensada. Desde miúda que desenhar e pintar eram as minhas actividades preferidas; à medida que fui crescendo, a fotografia e a leitura (e, consequentemente, a escrita) foram tomando conta desse território, dessa maneira de dar forma e estrutura à minha imaginação. Ao mesmo tempo, apesar de a minha família não ser especialmente voltada para as artes (com a excepção da minha Mãe, que é bailarina), sempre me deram o apoio necessário e incutiram a importância de aprender mais sobre tudo aquilo que me interessasse — fosse através de literatura, de cursos ou de tentativa e erro — e isso deu-me a liberdade para experimentar, para pesquisar e para me descobrir na criação artística. Na vertente da educação, tive a sorte de ter professores, especialmente no ensino secundário (na Escola Secundária Infante D. Henrique, que infelizmente está a ponto de fechar!), que souberam levar os meus gostos e a minha inclinação para a arte a um porto mais eficiente do que aquele que eu, na minha teimosia e racionalidade de querer um trabalho simples e seguro, teria levado sozinha. Tenho tido uma sorte imensa com as pessoas que me vão guiando, e sem elas o meu percurso seria muitíssimo diferente.
3. How would you describe your work? Como descreveria o seu trabalho?
All of my work has light as its basis. I am a fanatic for Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro, because of its contrasts, darkness and warm tones, which are present in a lot in my self-portraits as well as in my commercial photography.
I would describe my work of self-portraits as emotional, theatrical and almost baroque; with many elements, including mythology associated and filled with emotion. My commercial photography is already based on this concept of light, in the treatment of the light that we have during the day that makes it seem magical, almost fantastical. The english word “whimsical”, is the one which best describes me, I think.
Todo o meu trabalho tem como base a luz. Eu sou fanática pelo chiaroscuro do Caravaggio, pelos contrastes, pela escuridão e pelos tons quentes, o que se traduz tanto nos meus auto-retratos como na fotografia comercial.
Eu descreveria o meu trabalho de auto-retrato como emocional, teatral e quase barroco; com muitos elementos, com mitologia associada e cheios de emoção. Já a minha fotografia comercial é baseada na tal luz, no tratamento da luz que temos no dia para que este pareça mágico, quase fantasioso. A palavra inglesa whimsical, é a que melhor me descreve, penso eu.
4. What is your dream project? Qual é o projeto dos seus sonhos?
I have many, but I can rarely speak about them until they take a shape. I would love to return to self-portraits in a more regular manner, but the truth is that I also love weddings and they don’t leave me with a lot of free-time. Apart from that, and in a more documental way, I would love to travel on Route 66, in the United States, and photograph it in a different way from what I’ve seen other artists doing it. Nevertheless, despite it being a project closer to being fulfilled, I will opt to wait until the Trump administration ceases, before I do it.
Tenho vários, mas raramente consigo falar deles até lhes dar uma forma. Adorava voltar ao auto-retrato de uma forma mais regular, mas a verdade é que também adoro casamentos e que estes não me deixam muito tempo livre. À parte disso, e de uma forma mais documental, adorava fazer a Route 66, nos Estados Unidos, e fotografar de uma forma diferente daquilo que já está feito. No entanto, e apesar de ser o projecto mais perto de ser concretizado, optarei por esperar que a administração Trump cesse, antes de o fazer.
5. If you weren’t making art, what do you think you’d be doing? Se não estivesse a fazer arte, o que acha que estaria a fazer?
My academic background is Conservation and Restoration — it’s possible that I would be working in that area.
A minha formação académica é de Conservação e Restauro — é possível que estivesse a trabalhar nessa área.
6. Are there aspects of Portuguese culture that emerge in your own art? Is this intentional, and can you explain them? Há aspetos da cultura portuguesa que emergem na sua arte? Isso é intencional e pode explicá-lo?
I think as a Portuguese person, it’s almost impossible to dissociate our manner of being from my artistic creation. It’s not intentional, but I think that the emotional side of my work is intimately linked to the Portuguese necessity to express emotions, to verbalize and turn them into a piece, almost like an exorcism. There are people who do it through music, through writing or through acting, and I do it through the stories I tell with my images.
Eu acho que como Portuguesa, é quase impossível dissociar a nossa maneira de ser da minha criação artística. Não é intencional, mas penso que o lado emocional do meu trabalho está intimamente ligado à necessidade Portuguesa de expressar as emoções, de as verbalizar e de as transpor para uma peça, quase como um exorcismo. Há quem o faça através da música, através da representação ou da escrita, e eu faço-o através das estórias que conto com imagens.
7. There are Portuguese artists working globally. Do you see yourself also working abroad or do you prefer Portugal as your home base? (Why?) Há artistas portugueses a trabalhar globalmente. Vê-se a trabalhar também no estrangeiro ou prefere Portugal como base? (Porquê?)
My self-portrait work has always had more repercussion abroad than in Portugal, and that is the wonder of the internet and the global society we’ve been creating – I would produce in Porto and the greater part of the people that would see it were from other countries and continents. And this way is how I prefer it – I like to have my base in my city, but to travel a lot, encounter a lot of what is out there, and give that mixture to who views my work, wherever they may be.
O meu trabalho de auto-retrato sempre teve mais repercussão no estrangeiro do que em Portugal, e essa é a maravilha da internet e da sociedade global que criámos com ela — eu produzia no Porto e a maior parte das pessoas que viam eram de outros países e de outros continentes. E desta forma, é aquilo que eu prefiro — gosto de ter a minha base na minha cidade, mas viajar muito, conhecer muito o que está lá fora, e dar essa mistura a quem vê o meu trabalho, esteja onde estiver.
8. Visitors and new residents of Portugal want to support Portuguese artists. How would you suggest they do that? Visitantes e novos residentes em Portugal querem apoiar artistas portugueses. Como sugere que eles o façam?
I think they could do it not only through buying pieces, of prints and commissions / orders, but also by through the sharing of work of artists with their cultures of origin, with their home countries. Sometimes it is through these people that we reach cultures that we didn’t even think we could achieve, should it be through weddings, sharing of articles like this one or the selling and sending of printed images.
Penso que poderão fazê-lo não só através da compra de peças, de impressões e de comissões/encomendas, mas também através da partilha do trabalho dos artistas com as suas culturas de origem, com os seus países de proveniência. Às vezes é através destas pessoas que chegamos até culturas que nem pensámos alcançar, seja através de casamentos, de partilhas de artigos como este ou da venda e do envio de imagens impressas.
9. How would you like to see the local municipality supporting Portuguese artists? Comogostaria de ver a Câmara Municipal a apoiar artistas portugueses?
In my opinion, a more personalized support in terms of finance and social security could be an incentive so that more artists would root themselves in Porto. It is understood that the CMP of Rui Moreira already does work very superior to that of the former administration, when it comes to the support of the arts, but I think that creating regimes of help, social support and financial support for the artists who wish to root themselves in the city would be a good investment.
Na minha opinião, um apoio mais personalizado em termos de finanças e de segurança social poderia ser um incentivo a que mais artistas se fixassem no Porto. Compreenda-se que a CMP de Rui Moreira já faz um trabalho muitíssimo superior à administração anterior, no que diz respeito ao apoio às Artes, mas penso que criar regimes de ajuda, apoio social e bolsas para os artistas que se quisessem fixar na cidade seria um bom investimento.
10. What advice would you like to give to young artists in Portugal? Que conselhos gostaria de dar a jovens artistas em Portugal?
That they would continue to create in an independent and courageous manner; that they would study the subjects of their creation and that they would do all their art with a reason (even if it would be an emotion) and not ‘just because’.
Que continuem a criar de forma independente e corajosa; que estudem os sujeitos da sua criação e que façam toda a sua arte com uma razão (mesmo que esta seja a emoção) e não apenas ‘porque sim’.
Translation by Maxine Wesley and Aurora Kause, with assistance from Ana Luísa Pinto.
More of Ana’s wedding work:
O dia completo está no blogue! The full day is on the blog! https://luminousphotography.squarespace.com/blog/luisa-rodrigo-by-luminous-photography-clube-universitario-porto
I am turning into my mother. Yesterday we were in Vila Real and the mountains of Serra do Alvão, where the highest point is 1,330m (4,360 ft). I found myself warning Ice the Dog to stay away from the cliff edges and overhanging rocks… in a version of my mother’s voice. Of course, he completely ignored me.
Ice was having way too much fun off-leash. With each of his bounding steps my heart skipped a few beats. I tried not to look down to the ravine and bring on more waves of vertigo, but easier said than done when the waterfalls are on the other side. I remember a time when Ice was afraid of everything, including our glass balcony, but clearly those days are long gone, while my vertigo seems to be getting progressively worse. (It’s been 11 years since I took flying lessons; I wonder how I’d be feeling if I were to take them today.)
It was a while since we were last in Fisgas do Ermelo. It was in our pre-Ice days, since that’s how I measure my time in Portugal: pre-Ice and post-Ice. Like B.C. and A.D. According to this blog, we visited in May 2014, and it was hot enough for me to get sunstroke. Definitely not that warm in January, but we managed to catch the waterfalls before nightfall set in.
You can see more photos of the area in full daylight in the trip album from 2014:
On a blustery winter’s day at Foz do Douro, the Atlantic Ocean puts on a show at Farolim de Felgueiras, bashing against the pier with enough force to warrant several rows of barriers to keep bystanders away.
Wednesday was one of those days. I was one of the guilty folk ignoring the first barrier, shooting from the grassy knoll. The other camera people also kept a certain distance. The waves may look far away — I was too slow on the scene to capture the biggest ones — but these are monster waves which can take down anyone.