Over the course of twenty-something shots, the 23 year-old covers everything from tearful angst to sun-soaked euphoria, and the result is a portfolio that feels like a dramatic film. Born in Portugal, the Lisbon native recalls taking photos since a young age, using a Nikon D5100 to capture the lives of his nearest and dearest. The familiarity of these family-oriented subjects, which he’s refined since 2018, is what gives João’s portfolio it’s emotional intimacy and rawness.
“My favourite people to shoot are the people that are a part of my life. I’m happy to photograph anything that feels authentic and has some kind of meaning to me. I’m interested in channelling inner emotions through this medium,” João says.
This emotional basis gives João’s work its storytelling quality. Whether it’s a sigh of relief in linen bed sheets or a pensive stare into the horizon, João provides a visual language which reflects the internal monologue of his subjects. And while he has a vicarious ability to make us feel a wide range of emotion through his characters, João is also open to having the viewer bring their own inner thoughts and feelings to his work.
“I find it beautiful when a photograph can tell a story, and can have a subjectivity in which the viewer can feel something with it based on their experiences and point of view. It is a magical thing,” he says.
Visual and cinematic storytelling is difficult to capture in a single shot, and João cites the use of colour as a tool to communicate the language of emotion. It’s why yellow sunlight-leaks feel like an expression of joy, and why the use of blue is a through-line in his more sombre shots.
“I think the colour blue characterises a lot of my photos. If I had to give a name to it, I think I would say my work is a visual diary and is very influenced by cinema’s language,” João says.
But for all the tales and backstories that implicitly lie behind his subjects, the storied travels of João himself are equally-engrossing. As a filmmaker, João has travelled to China to shoot a documentary, and was later involved in a music video production in the US.
“Having the opportunity to travel to new places around the world to create a project is always a great feeling…My personal travels are some of the times I feel inspired the most,” he says.
Take a trip to the movies in João’s Frames below, and head here to follow him on Instagram.