We were sitting at the terrace of N-how hotel restaurant after the visit to the Fotomuseum, Rotterdam. I was enthusiastic to start our discussion about Street Photography. Nuno has exciting ideas and principles that he has evolved and developed in his photography works. Personally, I have discovered new possibilities of seeing street photography while speaking with Nuno.
In this article we are happy to present for your attention the interview that was recorded during our beer time.
Raw Streetphoto Gallery (RAW) : How did you start with photography?
Nuno Cruz (NC) : I like to describe the beginning of my photography as a moment when my parents bought me a camera, a really small model from Sony. I used to carry it to college and take pictures of everything. At first, people were getting pretty annoyed by me with a camera, but at the end of the semester, when everyone was seeing the images, they admitted that it was actually really cool to see those. That woke up something in me. People love photography and capturing what is happening.
RAW: And that’s when you started to do the street photography?
NC: It took a while until I got to the streets, maybe 10 years. I was just a casual shooter with a compact camera. It was not until I finished college and started to work to earn some money for a nicer camera. Then, before leaving Portugal, I was traveling and capturing landscapes, cityscapes, but did not do anything advanced. After I started to pay attention to more technical processes, like how to make a proper panorama, or why is the object blurred, when I want it to be in focus. Eventually I moved to Amsterdam, and that’s where I started to have a contact with a wide range of cultures. I started to become more interested in people and in capturing them, that’s when street photography started.
RAW: What did you find on the streets of Amsterdam in comparison with Portugal?
NC: People from different backgrounds. In Porto, where I was studying there are not so many foreigners. Amsterdam is a city which made me care more about the photo and not about the process, and to see people in their genuine ways of being, instead of treating them like a rare museum piece, because they look weird or funky.
RAW: In your exhibition at RAW Streetphoto Gallery there were also different genres, like urban photography, portraits and landscape.
NC: I only got a proper camera and skills when I moved out from Porto, a city very dear to me. So every time I go back, I want to capture this city, its places and icons in a proper way, with a proper composition. I still really like travel photography also, so I don't focus solely on street photography. For example when I went to Rome, I took both a digital and a film camera with me, and used the digital one for travel shots, monuments and all the clichés, and then took a film for street ones.
RAW: When you make a photo on the street, what do you think is the most important for you?
NC: Composition. I care a lot about whether the picture in the end is aesthetically appealing. Sometimes in the street there are too many people in one picture, you cannot control it, but that's what the street is about, it is opposite to the studio, a nice and controlled environment. You need a luck out in the streets and luck is, what they call, a mixture of skill and opportunity. When I am on the streets I do not think that much, I am reacting. But many skills also come with experience. I try to trust mu instincts and make judgments of a place and a situation immediately.
RAW: What's the most important when you look at photography works by others?
NC: The picture should make people want to look at it. If you look on Flickr there are many pictures that would not be put on the wall in a house. But there are also many amazing street photographs with great compositions. It might be very chaotic, but very well arranged. What I prefer is to have something standing out in the picture either a character, or a situation.
RAW: How do you approach the character?
NC: I never interact with a person, keeping myself out of the scene. If I have to deal with a person after, I will do it, but most of the time people just ignore that I took their shot.
RAW: What are your plans for the photography?
NC: I like to continue street. Soon I am going to Porto and taking my Leica, my default street camera. I am also planning to do some freelance photography covering events, doing portraiture, and perhaps some music gigs too. I have several projects in mind, and I will get to them once I have more time at my hands. Now with the full time job it is difficult to do so.
RAW: How does photography influence you as a person, your views and ambitions?
NC: I would say it does not. I am interested in people and my way to cover that aspect is by photography, just like for others it could be by writing, making music, etc. But I would not say the camera influences my views and how I see the world.
RAW: Is photography also art?
NC: Photography is not really art per se, it is more a documentation of reality. Applying techniques like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio can be parts of photography that make a picture more aesthetically appealing. But from the perspective of documentary photography, the artistic part can often be excused when the photographer puts himself or his camera in the front lines, where danger lurks from everywhere, what matters is the documentation of reality.
RAW: Do you have something else to say about the photography?
NC: I think that online public space for photography is very poisonous, in a sense that people are be selfish or cynical, unable to be open and accept criticism. So, I just hope that online environment for street photography will become more positive.
special thanks for helping editing the text Katty and Nuno