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João de Castro: Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About

João de Castro

Renowned Photographer, João de Castro

In the ever-evolving world of photography, some artists manage to capture the essence of life through their lenses, bringing unique perspectives and emotions to the forefront. Jaamzin Creative is thrilled to interview João de Castro, a visionary photographer whose work transcends the ordinary, inviting viewers to explore the world through his eyes. His nude photography stands out for its boldness and sensitivity, portraying the female form with an exquisite blend of intimacy and strength.

João de Castro

Female, 2023

In this exclusive interview, we delve into João's creative process, and inspirations behind some of his most captivating images. Join us as we explore the artistry and passion of João de Castro, a true luminary in the field of photography.

João, you grew up with a strict, classical education while being surrounded by a vibrant, eclectic environment filled with intellectuals and artists. How have these contrasting influences shaped your artistic vision and approach to photography?

The traditional family of my great-grandfather Eurico de Castro Alves, my primary education at Marist Brothers School, and the sense of perfection instilled by my mother, a math teacher, taught me confidence, effort and responsibility. As the only child in the family for many years and perceived as gifted, I became accustomed to meeting high expectations.

At the same time, I was very sick until the age of 11, so I had a profound sense of life's fragility and often felt very lonely. However, I was also very spoiled and stimulated, surrounded by extraordinary and intense adults who inspired me with their willpower and the belief that being alive is phenomenal and should be celebrated.

This is why I've become ambivalent, because I simultaneously experience the disorder and confusion of chaos and the disciplined, logical approach of rationalising rigor. It's a way of life.

You began your career in the editorial and advertising industries and later dedicated yourself to nude photography, becoming a pioneer in Portugal. Can you share more about this transition and how you discovered your unique creative voice in the realm of nude photography?

I grew up surrounded by Photo magazine, which my father collected, and the black-and-white images of Avedon, Sieff, Newton and many other fantastic photographers fascinated me. The adults around me, including my very beautiful mother with her special delicacy and charm, were stylish and in vogue during the 60s and 70s. This atmosphere of beauty and art shaped my idea of how life was and should be.

In 1985, I became a photographer. I met my second wife, Cristina Fialho, in 1994, and when I photographed her for the first time, I found my muse and my passion for photography. This moment of revelation made me aware of what had always inspired me, so I decided to dedicate myself to finding my voice in the art that had fascinated me. Alongside my intense work in the editorial and advertising industries, I dedicated myself to discovering nude photography with Cristina's partnership. For eight years, I designed a specialised studio, a black-and-white lab, and a production setup to explore this genre intensely and freely.

João de Castro

Vase, 1994

It wasn't until 2002 that I felt my work had matured enough to share with the public. My work immediately attracted the attention of magazines, schools, institutions, and some companies. I received several invitations and began teaching models and photographers through my own programmes, giving lectures, writing, and publishing covers, portfolios, and tutorials in magazines in Portugal, Spain and Brazil. I also held nude photography exhibitions in various locations.

The impact of my work led some photography companies to seek me out as a sponsored author and consultant, with my nude photography becoming a symbol of quality and innovation in Portugal.

João de Castro
By 2002, João had honed his unique creative voice, dedicating himself entirely to nude photography. His work quickly garnered attention, and he was soon invited to share his insights and experiences through press articles, workshops, lectures, conferences, and exhibitions.

During the digital photography revolution, you played a pivotal role in educating photographers and consulting for major companies like Hewlett-Packard and Adobe. How did these experiences influence your work and perspective on the evolution of photography?

It was important to make brands aware of what photographers really needed and to make photographers aware of the digital revolution that was underway. That role made me realise that I didn't like fame for its own sake and that I had a lot to learn, despite being a phenomenon in Portugal. Success gave me the capacity for great exposure, allowing me to make a lot of mistakes and be vulnerable to others. I learned how to deal with exposure, how to be humble, and what I didn't want for myself. It made me a better photographer and set me on other paths. Instead of being a "master" of analog photography, I decided to embrace the future and find the "translation" of my photography and laboratory methods into digital.

With what I've learned, and with all the fluidity and versatility of digital, nude photography alone has become insufficient. My photography remains focused on the nude, but it has become a language through which ideas and concepts are developed and expressed. Some ideas challenge me, while others delight me.

João de Castro

Although you come from the renowned Novaes family, known for their contributions to Portuguese photography, you only discovered this heritage later in life. How did this revelation impact your understanding of your own work and your place within the broader historical context of photography?

When I was 15, I decided I had to figure out what I wanted to be. The career guidance tests came back excellent for literature, arts, and sciences, which didn't help much. I kept thinking and trying to decide between the Foreign Legion—my father was a military instructor—biology or archaeology.

One day, at my grandfather's beach house, at the age of 18, I decided to photograph a sunset, like the many I had seen in the summers. Two days later, I went to pick up the photos, with no expectations whatsoever, as I had only photographed three or four rolls in my life. And it happened! That sunset was there, on paper; I had captured the feeling of every time I saw it. I decided to become a photographer and immortalise sensations... and I have continued ever since.

Although my mother often talked about her mother, uncles, and the rest of the Novaes family, I had very little contact with them. I soon decided not to mention that I was from the Novaes family until the day I had my own merit. Throughout my career, my mother would always tell me to take advantage of being a Novaes, and I would always tell her, "One day it will be the Novaes who will be proud to be my family." Hahahahaha.

João de Castro

Monochrome Photography Awards - Honourable Mention 2023

Recently, the Portuguese Center of Photography—Ministry of Culture invited me to hold an exhibition celebrating my career and my work, which is original and unusual in Portuguese culture. I suggested a parallel exhibition with photographs taken by various members of the Novaes family, which will happen.

Your favorite quote by Federico Fellini speaks to living with doubts and a ceaseless quest for new images and experiences. How does this philosophy manifest in your work, and what do you hope viewers take away from your photographs?

Life is experimental and, like time, it moves at the speed of the shutter.

Doubt is the principle of being open to discovering what I didn't know I was looking for, and the ceaseless quest is the certainty that I will find it.

Today, my work captures the visions and sensitivities that overwhelm me in the experience of living, which I share with my third wife, the painter Marta Braz, my inspiration and accomplice on this endless journey.

I don't know if I photograph for women or for men about women, but I hope that someone—everyone—feels something that sets them free and inspires them to celebrate themselves.

João de Castro

Quino, 2024

Addicted Art Gallery is thrilled to announce João's latest exhibition, "Let's Give Them Something To Talk About”.

This exhibition is not just about viewing art; it’s about experiencing freedom and inspiration. João's images resonate with a powerful message, inviting everyone to feel something that sets them free and inspires them to celebrate themselves. Whether you are drawn to the essence of women or the intricate play of light and shadow, João's photography speaks to the core of human experience.

Don't miss this opportunity to witness João’s extraordinary work and to be part of a conversation that celebrates life, beauty and the art of seeing the world through a different lens.

João's photography invites you to embrace the unexpected. Let’s give them something to talk about!

João de Castro: Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About

Date: Now – 30th September, 2024

Time: At Your Leisure

Place: Wherever you are

Bring: Popcorn, chocolate, cocktails

Where: 3D Gallery



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