GEO Magazine June issue
About opening the latest issue of GEO
A text by FG
When, 24 years ago, at the age of 16, I started to become interested in photography, I didn’t want to photograph houses, but the people who lived in them. I only wanted architecture to serve as the stage for the short stories I would tell little by little when I would return from a trip, or after a simple day of picture-taking in Lisbon.
My first 15 years of images consisted mainly of photographing people on the street. Travelling to take pictures became an obsession. Back then, I liked to think that I would become a photographer for magazines like National Geographic or GEO, the European reference for travel photography and journalism. I had never worked for either, alas. I did not have the stories or images they felt deserved special attention or which simply had a complete and mature narrative, which is not surprising at the age of 16 or 17. They were single images of special moments grouped together in a personal diary that I rarely shared with others. Like any amateur, it was a simple desire to keep what I thought worth keeping. It was a hobby, pure and simple, and not a full-time job. My profession would always be architecture. Photography would fill in the intervals. Obviously, I got it wrong. After a number of years working as an architect and teacher, my path, for a whole number of reasons, took a different turn.
After all those years and increasingly removed from street reporting, two months ago I received an invitation to participate in the June edition of German GEO. They proposed that I open the magazine’s “showcase” page, curiously with an architectural image, which is an unexpected honour, seeing that it is not the magazine’s main theme. The chosen image, well-known from its reproduction in different specialist magazines, depicts a guide’s first day at work at the entrance to the Portugal Pavilion, designed by architect Ricardo Bak Gorden, at the World’s Fair in Saragossa in June 2008.
In some ways, this outcome in paper has felt like the completion of a circle, or the fulfilment of a desire I had almost forgotten, by including my images in a publication of this type. The unexpected feedback has been great, with many readers sending messages asking to see the series’ remaining images along with various requests for copies.
Today I move in a editorial world parallel to that of travel magazines and with different responsibilities. This edition of GEO and the interest of its readership provides an excellent excuse to bring to ultimasreportagens some elements of this first body of work in which I learnt to photograph people at the right moment, waiting for light and controlling the shadows, essential factors that come together like layers in my daily work and which today mark my architectural photography.
I’ll choose some…