António Pedro SantosPhotojournalist, storyteller, trainer
António Pedro Santos, freelance photojournalist, specializing in portrait and event reporting, has worked for several newspapers such as A Bola, Correio da Manhã, Sol and has also collaborated with several national and foreign publications.
Between 2011 and 2015, he was Photo editor at Jornal i, a challenge he considers to have been “passionate and unforgettable”. Currently he has a regular collaboration with the Lusa news agency. Fascinated by the art of storytelling, he teaches, as a trainer, courses in Photo Editing, Storytelling, Photojournalism, Portrait Lighting, Street and Travel Photography, for the pleasure of sharing his experiences and knowledge.
With a degree in Communication Sciences by UAL and finalist of the Advanced Course of Photography of IPF, António Pedro Santos is one of the special guests in Connecting Stories by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS.
1. You have a very broad professional background. How and when did your passion for Photography emerge? Can you tell us a bit about your journey and your professional experience?
I always knew that my professional future would be in information. From an early age I was interested in the world of journalism. Curiously, until I was 21, I felt that my vocation was written journalism and not photojournalism, but an exhibition at the Portuguese Institute of Photography changed my mind. Thanks to it, I ended up enrolling in the three-month basic course and then the two-year advanced course, simultaneously with my degree in Communication Sciences.
From then on my career was linked to several newspapers like A Bola, Correio da Manhã, Sol and i, always as a photojournalist.
At the moment I am a freelancer, with a regular collaboration with Lusa news agency.
2. What is, for you, a good photograph?
As the american photographer Ansel Adams, one of my greatest references in photography, used to say, “we don't make a picture with just a camera; in the act of photographing we bring all the books we've read, the movies we've seen, the music we've listened to and the people we love”. And this can't be learned, nor bought, it is innate.
Besides the creative factor, education and sensitivity make all the difference. This is what makes a good photograph. Photography is the reflection of all that we are.
3. How does the lens of photojournalism live nowadays?
Unfortunately, in Portugal, there has been a great disinvestment in photojournalism over the last years. Some 10/15 years ago, in an important press conference, there was always a photojournalist from Público, Diário de Notícias, Expresso, Correio da Manhã, Sol, besides other smaller ones and from news agencies. Nowadays, when we go to photograph something like this for the Lusa news agency, we are usually the only ones present.
I'll give you a more concrete example: at that time, the photography team at Público, in Lisbon, was made up of 12 photojournalists. Today there are four. The great majority of my colleagues had to reinvent themselves, to look for alternatives. I'm convinced that the losing ones are the readers.
4. You say you are also passionate about storytelling. What attracts you in this area and how do you use it in your daily life?
I love telling stories through Photography, because we all know that there are images that are worth a thousand words. You don't have to go to the end of the world to find a good story. Sometimes you just have to go down the street, or even find it in your own home. I have published home made photo narratives, one of which won an important photojournalism award.
There are thousands of stories all over the world. We just have to be attentive to find them.
5. You are a photojournalist, a photographer, a trainer. How do you manage all these roles?
Following the best phase of my career, as Photo editor of the i newspaper between 2011 and 2015, I went through a collective dismissal in the company. From then on, I had to look for alternatives to photojournalism, as a freelancer. I took Training for Trainers and discovered a vocation I didn't know about. I teach courses in Portrait, Storytelling, Photojournalism, Street and Travel Photography.
I also started doing Corporate Photography, of company events, private portrait sessions, besides my connection to photojournalism through the Lusa agency.
A freelancer has to adapt to multiple tasks, without a certain work schedule. My schedule is different every day, just like my office. One day I can be at Palácio de Belém, the next in a slum. Comes with the territory.
6. It takes more than good equipment to be a good photographer. In your opinion, what distinguishes you from other photographers?
Beyond the technical factor, a photograph is first made in your head. When I point the camera, I already know what framing I'm going to do and what I want to capture. We photograph with our eyes, according to our own personality. As I often tell my trainees, what makes the difference in our work are two key characteristics: sensitivity and creativity.
7. Have you transmitted this taste for Photography to your children and to those around you?
I am very sorry to say it, but my children (already teenagers), don't feel the slightest interest in Photography. Their vocations are totally different, so they have to follow their own path.
The way I try to transmit my passion for my profession is in sharing my personal experiences, inspiring others to follow the same path or to find motivation in their own paths. This is what I am doing, for example, on LinkedIn. As I often say, the goal is to “inspire to be inspired”.
8. As far as training is concerned, how does a photographer evolve?
It is essential that we follow the work of other photographers, national and foreign, and learn from each other. A photographer has to constantly train his eye, whether through printed publications, websites, exhibitions, cinema. That's where our inspiration comes from and what makes us want to always improve our work.
9. What projects do you have for the future of your career?
Being a freelancer for several years, I am looking to acquire another kind of professional stability through a solid and challenging project. It is not easy to start every month without knowing how much I will earn per day until the 30/31.
There are colleagues who like to be self-employed and would not exchange this freedom for a fixed contract. I, who have been on both sides, would prefer to have another security, as long as I identify myself with the project and the team, within the scope of Photography.
Being a freelancer, despite what many people think, is not easy.
10. What is the best advice you can give to aspiring photographers and photojournalists?
I usually say that, nowadays, everyone takes photographs, but few photograph.
To know how to photograph, one must know how to look. You need humility, creativity, patience, curiosity, commitment and a gigantic dose of pleasure in holding the camera. Without passion you can't be a good photographer or photojournalist.
will always be one of the most reliable bases to tell a story.
11. Being PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS a company that develops and manufactures multimedia kiosks, self-service equipment, digital billboards, interactive tables and other digital solutions for all kinds of industries, what relevance can Photography have, in your opinion, in the company's digital strategy?
This is a million dollar question. I use photography daily as a means of expression, of communication, and I am suspect to speak, but to photograph is to inform, to show, to dream. It is to create memories. The world can evolve at a dizzying speed.
We have already gone from analog to digital photography, but the act of photographing, of recording a moment, will always be one of the most reliable bases to tell a story. I believe that the history of PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is and will always be made of images.
Connecting Stories is an editorial space led by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS which consists of conducting exclusive interviews, directed at influential personalities who work in different sectors of activity.
The project, conceived by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS, includes the publication of success stories, through small interviews with influencers who want to share details about their projects, opinions, plans for the future, among other subjects.
The idea is to connect stories, share knowledge, develop networking and generate content that can provide new visions, opportunities and ideas.
Founded in 2000, PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is a world renowned Portuguese IT company, manufacturer of indoor and outdoor multimedia kiosks, self-service equipment, digital billboards, interactive tables and other digital solutions, for all types of sectors and industries. To know more about our story, click here.