Very excited to share with you that Portuguese real estate website Idealista.pt has invited me for an interview, where I had a chance to talk about living in Porto, my first job, challenges of architectural photography, among other topics.
Link to the article (in Portuguese)
“Fotografia, a aliada da arquitetura”
For English speakers I leave below a full transcript of the interview:
- Born and raised in Russia, you are currently based in the city of Oporto. How do you discover Portugal and why did you choose Oporto? It is a good place to live?
I live in Portugal since 2015. It was thanks to my family that I discovered this amazing country. They were looking for a place to settle in Europe and ended up choosing Portugal. When I graduated from university I joined my family in Algarve and couple of years later I moved to Porto. It was the best decision I ever made. When I first visited this city I felt an instant connection. I loved the vibe, the people and the fact that the city is developing rapidly, thus becoming an international hub. At the moment I can’t think of a better place to live. Porto offers you the best of life in a big city, while not overwhelming with crowds, traffic, polution, etc. Its a very manageable place to live. You can get anywhere in 10-15 min. And you have the ocean on your left and Douro valley on your right. It’s a very rare combination.
- We read that you first job in Portugal was in a boutique Real Estate agency in a very chic area of Algarve – when you started, you had zero experience in selling properties, as you said. Can you tell us more about this experience?
Indeed my first professional experience in Portugal was in real estate. I owe a lot to this job. I was fortunate to have a very supporting boss, who trusted my skills and gave me freedom to operate on my own. Overall it was a very positive experience, full of mistakes and learning. But it also made me realize two things – that corporate jobs are not for me, and that Algarve is not my final destination. The lifestyle in Algarve was way to slow for me. Sometimes we had weeks or months without seeing a single client. I am naturally a very active and motivated person, so dealing with low seasons was difficult. On the other hand, if it wasn’t for these calm times, I would probably not discover what I do today – architectural photography.
- Later, your focus shifted to purely architectural photography. When did you realize that you wanted to photograph beautifully designed homes/buildings?
It was right there in real estate agency that I came to realization that I could help the company by combining my interests – beautiful homes and photography. Our agency didn’t hire professional photographers to shoot the properties, so I figured I would take my camera and learn it myself. I was learning on the go – we had lots of propeties with very poor images, so there was a huge field for practicing. A few months into this new venture I realized I could try and live off these skills. That was the start of my career.
- Why do you love photograph architecture? What is your purpose?
My purpose comes from a deep admiration I have for the work of architects and designers. People in this profession are responsible for creating the spaces we live our lives in. They design our houses, the cities, the urban landscape. Everything, even to the very chair you are sitting on was designed by someone. And if this designer did a good job, your life becomes easier and more productive. I think the society doesn’t give enough credit to these people. So I made it my mission to document their creations – and by doing so I bring the deserved recognition to the work of the designer.
- You said that being an architectural and interior photographer is a privilege, but it’s also a big responsibility. Why? What’s the big challenge?
I consider it a privilege because we have the opportunity to witness what very few people get to see – inspiring projects and innovative ideas. It’s a big responsibility because the person who commissions our work – the architect – is handing us his precious project for documentation. The responsibility on our shoulders lies in capturing their work in an honest and accurate manner. The photos we take will be the only thing by which 99% of people will get to know the project. Architectural photographers are responsible for creating portfolio images for the architect. The future work of the architect also greatly depends on images, because often it’s the only way they can sell their brand.
- What kind of clients do you have in Portugal? Do you work only in Oporto or across the country? Overseas?
My clients range from individual architects all the way to the big established offices. I am available for assignments across Portugal and abroad.
- What kind of projects do you prefer? Houses? Offices?
I don’t have preference in the type of projects. But I absolutely love to shoot minimalist spaces that feature texture-rich materials, such as wood or concrete. Those are my favorites.
- Is there a special project that you remember?
One of the most interest projects I had a chance to shoot was on the island of São Miguel. My client was a businessman from Paris who had recently bought a rental property and needed the photos to promote the house. I worked on this project with my colleague who helped me with video production. We stayed in the house fo 5 days and once we were done with work we rented a car and went exploring the island. That was an amazing experience! Combing work and travel is one the best things this career can offer. Looking forward to more projects like this one.