This could easily be my approach to photography: trying to capture the color of the soul, trying to show and transmit emotions, trying to reveal the inner sadness, silence, angst and fear of the world and bodies surrounding us.
I have always been in love with emotions and with all art forms that could move you – making you cry, making you smile, making you feel even more depressed or simply making you have a little more hope. And that’s what I try to do with the work I’ve been doing for the last year. I want to make people feel. I want to touch the hidden wounds. But also open the hands and let a little ray of light to come in. In other words, I want to fight the indifference.
The passion for the photography as a higher art form has always accompanied me. But from an avid and passive “spectator” I decided to become an avid and active “actor”. It began around one and a half years ago, when I borrowed a digital camera from the company I was working for. And since then, initially only as simple curiosity, now with my own camera and more deeply involved, I have been exploring photography as a means to cause and transmit feelings. The first couple of months served as an invaluable learning period, allowing me to develop my craft and become familiar with the basics of photography. They also forced me to shape my vision, turning “failed” experiments and naïve first works into experiences that enabled me to find solid ground.
As a spectator, I love all kinds of photography, from beautiful landscapes to tender portraits. But they don’t serve me well as an appropriate way to transmit the emotions I want to show. Of course I respect the work of many wonderful photographers around the world. But, as I needed to create some more personal and intimate works, I decided to learn the basic rules and then forget them. I feel that this is the only way that I have to fully be able to explore the photography as my most intimate form of expression.
In my photographs, I tend to imagine a stage. Then, carefully I place all the elements to compose a still representation of what I have in my mind. Nothing is left forgotten or misplaced. Then, I become the actor. By placing my body and soul within a frame I become part of my photography. And when I freeze the moment with my camera - that is when the intangible story is transmitted to tangible film.
Being the actor and the subject in my photography, as well as the photographer, I’m deeply involved with my works. They are very personal to me. They talk about me, showing something beyond the simple photograph: they show the color of my soul. And only I can recognize all the infinite shades between the black and the white.
After the initial photograph is taken, I then subject it to a long process of careful manipulation. Each work is unique to me, so I don’t use a formula or a well-defined workflow to deliver the final piece. Sometimes I want to burn certain areas, sometimes I want to apply dirt to my body, sometimes I want to degrade and blur an otherwise sharp image. The intial recorded image is just a canvas that I then paint over to create the final piece.
This mixture of digital “painting” and photography is just a reflection of my love of all art forms. I also incorporate literature to my photography. Almost all of my pieces have some kind of narrative or poetry I've written that then becomes an integral part to the final piece. Of course the photograph can be viewed and understood without my words, but together with my writing they form an unified whole where all the elements of the image are exposed. I don’t have a method for what’s created first, the photograph or the texts. Sometimes it’s the text that’s written first and then I imagine the photograph in my head. Sometimes it’s the opposite. And sometimes I imagine them at the same time.
Last year I was interviewed for a local newspaper. My pieces were also published on two Portuguese magazines, one dedicated to photography and the other one to art and culture. I also publish regularly on various photography websites. Naturally, I am interested in presenting my photographs as part as an individual or collective exhibition, and this is one of my main goals for this year.
I still have much to learn about photography and plan to continue experimenting with varied forms of artistic expression. Like all forms of art, photography shouldn’t be a closed and finished work - and indeed, none of my pieces are ever truly finished. They continue to be enhanced, mutated and formed. Sometimes this leads to an unrecognizable monstrosity of sorts, but the point it that thought my photographs may breed, grow or become sick, they always live.
Armindo Dias is a 29 year old amateur photographer who lives in Portugal. He has a Masters Degree in Multimedia Technology and works in an advertisement agency as a web programmer and web designer. You can visit his Deviant Art portfolio at negateven.deviantart.com.