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Artist of the Week — Joao Carlos

August 8, 2011 by · No comments

Interview of Yana Radilova with the photograher Joao Carlos

joao carlos
Joao Carlos: “I try to create a narrative where the characters in my images come to life.”

Why did you give up painting and decided to take up photography?

I have always enjoyed discovering different mediums to express my emotions and portraying my visions. Photography has been my medium of choice but not my only medium.


How did you get involved in advertising photography?

My first advertising gig was for an ice cream manufacturer, I had to produce over twenty five different and unique sets,  each set representing a different Ice cream flavour. It was quite challenging but very rewarding and shortly after i started working as an assistant to advertising photographer Joao Palmeiro. This was fundamental to my future growth in the craft of advertising photography. I love creative advertising, it can be very demanding and stressful but that’s part of the rush.


Tell us about the Hasselblad Masters Award! 

The Hasselblad award is awesome, it’s one of the most prestigious awards in the industry. It’s not easy to win and it’s a true honour to be on the list of Hasselblad Masters. It is wonderful to be recognised by your peers.  

Cover Hasselblad Masters Volume II

What emotions and feelings do you try to express in your photos?

Each image contains a different emotion and feeling, I have lost count how many images I have taken in my life… what I can only hope is that each image can hold in it’s own in the viewer’s memory.


All of my images convey different emotions, I try to create a narrative where the characters in my images come to life. The subjects in the image interconnect with all the other elements and everything comes together: wardrobe, location, hair and make-up, styling, props and the emotion conveyed by the model.


Who helps you with the styling of your models?

I work with designers and stylists, but i have also styled many of my shoots.

Joao CarlosHP

What is the metaphorical sense of your set „Free falling“?

Free falling is a collaboration with my model and muse Katy. The series came about by a fascination of the term ‘free fall’: ‘Free fall is any motion of a body where gravity is the only force acting upon it, at least initially. These conditions produce an inertial trajectory so long as gravity remains the only force. Since this definition does not specify velocity, it also applies to objects initially moving upward. Since free fall in the absence of forces other than gravity produces weightlessness or “zero-g,” sometimes any condition of weightlessness due to inertial motion is referred to as free-fall. This may also apply to weightlessness produced because the body is far from a gravitating body.’

free falling

Using motion and jumping we created a set of images that appeared weightless, even underwater…it was a celebration of the concept of freedom and free-flowing movement at it’s most fluid.


What kind of stories do you tell through your photographs? 

I find inspiration everywhere, sometimes i recreate characters from film, poetry, television or i find  inspiration from music and other art forms like painting and sculpture.


What is more expressive – colorful or black and white photography?

I love both Color or Black and White… I think color  happens to present itself better for some of my commercial work, where most of my personal projects are in black and white. I have also been commissioned many times to specifically shoot in black and white for commercial clients too, so i guess it all depends on the subject matter and the intended mood.


How do you make your models feel at ease?

I normally work with professional models, so if I stay professional with my models they will give me those pro results. I act naturally and the results show.


Why do you prefer photographing people rather than landscapes? 

Actually I do not prefer to shoot people rather than  landscapes, it just happens to be that my clients have me shoot more people then landscape. I am a photographer, i just love to shoot interesting subjects.

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What are your professional ambitions?

This is always a complicated question. I think my biggest professional ambition at the moment is stability. I have been shooting for almost 15 years and I have never had stability. I love who and what I shoot, but stability would be nice…  

Picture 2


Born in New York to Portuguese parents, João Carlos is an Advertising, Fashion and Fine Art photographer and director of photography currently based in New York City. Though he expressed an interest in having a ‘real’ camera at the age of five, João’s artistic explorations began with painting and fine arts which led him to study at Institute of Art and Visual Communication in Lisbon.

João’s photographic career began as an assistant to João Palmeiro, an advertising photographer in Portugal. For several years prior to moving to New York, he worked with some well-established photographers including Horst Diekgerdes, Thomas Strogalski, Alexander Koch, Peter Schreiber and various production companies on a freelance basis.

João ran and co-owned a production house, Milkman Studio, in Lisbon for seven years from 2002, which catered for large and small clients from the advertising, fashion and music sectors.

His work also extends into video, both as director and director of photography and he has worked on numerous music videos and television commercials in both Europe, the USA and Africa.

One of the highlights so far in his photographic career came in 2010 when he won the prestigious Hasselblad Masters Award.

João’s client list includes advertising agencies, magazines, fashion apparel, and beauty companies such as Nike, Avon, Pfizer, Staples, HP, Vodaphone, Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams, Banif Bank, Barclays Bank, Ogilvy Barcelona, Series, Mccan Erickson, Universal Music, Emi Records, Wella Hair, Schwarzkopf Hair and Thevi Cosmetics.


Most recently, João’s work has appeared in numerous publications and magazines namely EllE, Forbes, Kurv, Chaos Magazine, Eclectic Magazine, Dilema, Wallpaper, Nstyle Magazine, Umbigo Magazine, Numero Magazine, Blink Magzine, W25 Magazine, Iconography Magazine, Connecticut Home x%x Gardens, Modern Homes and Architect.

João’s work has been featured in several magazines and TV Programs worldwide such as BCC UK, Portugueses sem Fronteiras, Direct Arts Magazine, FotoVideo, Victor by Hasselblad Magazine, Photoshop Australia magazine, O mundo da Fotografia Digital, DP Arte Fotografica, PH Magazine, Composition Magazine Israel,British Journal of Photography and Professional Photographer Magazine, Plum TV Miami, Caracol TV Columbia, RTP international and RTP 2.

direct arts

In Joao’s continuing role as a guest speaker, he has been invited to speak at many prestigious events over the last two years including the Hasselblad stage at photokina in Germany, Hasselblad Studio opening in London, Hasselblad FOCUS events in Columbia and Brazil, BES Art and Finance, Petcha Kutcha Lisbon and IADE Creative University to name a few.

For more of his photos follow this link:


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