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Artist of the Week – Sergio Lopes

March 30, 2009 by · 3 comments

Vanya Nikolaeva’s interview with the photographer Sergio Lopes

I was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1954 – a son of Italian and Portuguese immigrants. I had a happy childhood despite the financial difficulties faced by my parents, together my three brothers. Since childhood I’ve been a great observer and photography has been my greatest passion; I liked the way that images were registered.

I was delighted with the photographs of the little garden of our modest home that my father captured in black and white once upon a time. I remember when my father brought home the photos he took and the happiness I felt in seeing the images. I’ll have recorded those memories forever in me.

I have always been a shy and sensitive person and had besides photography, I have another passion – nature. These two passions are still with me today.

Today I’m 55 and I work with petrochemical plant projects, believe it or not! It seems to be a paradox but all my energy is dedicated to design equipments for pollution control, in order to minimize the influence of those industries to global warming.

Nowadays I walk in the streets, parks, fields and towns to feel the world that surrounds us and the pulsating life that exists in our planet.

I do not intend to be a great photographer; I just want to show people how the world is beautiful and is worth living.
I love to share my photos with my friends and it helps me to communicate with the world.

Doctors and psychologists don’t believe this but photography is the best remedy for our diseases and paranoia.

What does photography mean to you?

Photography is mainly a great and important form of communication. It is a way to transmit the visual sensations that you see through the lenses, to the world. It doesn’t matter if you have difficulty speaking, writing or even in terms of body communication: what you transmit is the feeling of what you see in that moment, a unique moment which, very likely, won’t be repeated. Sometimes you put in a simple picture feelings that thousands of words can’t explain.

Which is the most interesting / unusual photo you have taken?

One day, walking the downtown São Paulo to admire the old buildings of the early 20th century, I saw a wall painted in a very special and colorful way. It was a very nice Graffiti that gave special color to this gray city. That’s when I realized that next to this magnificent painting was an entire family, including children, sleeping on the ground, in misery, homeless. I had a camera in my hand and I captured that scene. I felt a great emptiness inside me: seeing that contrast, the beauty of the colored wall and the misery of that family.

I realized how much we need to spend energy and dedication to eliminate poverty and ignorance in the world. Not that this scene in particular was a novelty for me, considering that scenes like this are very common in a big city of a third world country, but that image gave me a shock of awareness that we need to do more for the needy. At Flickr I baptized this picture as: Poverty is not Colored.

Which is the most interesting place you have visited?

I love music and I enjoy almost all styles but I have a greater appreciation for classical music. Mozart, for me, is the greatest musical genius of all time. To know his hometown, Salzburg, and the house where he was born, now a museum, was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever known. I felt his spirit and vibration there: the notes of his musical compositions sounded beautifully in my ears, although the house was completely silent. I was rapt with the heavenly notes that only I heard. These were beautiful moments that I will never forget in my life.

What makes you sad?

To feel that humanity is becoming increasingly materialistic, forgetting about the spiritual values. I think that, no matter what religion you belong to, the cultivation of spirituality is important for us to live in harmony with the Universe. I feel that humanity is ever more distant of it and that this unbridled materialism is destroying our planet.

What makes you smile?

Being with my family, with my wife and my sons. Being sure, looking at my sons, that we both, me and my wife, raised them with love and with the certainty that they will always be dignified men.

You say that you love Nature. Is it what inspires you?

To watch a flower, a little bird being fed, the waves of the sea, the clouds, the beauty of trees, the rain … There are millions of things that we often do not realize. Photography enhances the sense of observation and the contemplation of Nature is significantly increased. Photographing Nature is seeing it with different eyes. I often say that photography renews our soul because it is through the lenses that we can see, in detail, all the splendor of Mother Nature; it is a way to feel it with more intensity and respect. To respect it is to respect yourself, your peers and the future generations.

What is your dream?

One day I was watching a report on television about Tibet, showing its landscapes, its people, their respect for Nature and the spirituality reigning there. I believe that getting to know this country and maintaining contact with Tibetan monks would enrich me as a human being and help meet my philosophy of life, which is to respect my peers and Nature.

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