“With my camera I discover the world"
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Edy Tavares Moniz has seen a lot of the world: His roots are in Cape Verde, Africa. He lived and worked in Brazil and the United States, in Mexico he studied photography. His dream is to make it as a professional photographer in Hamburg and to open his own studio. Together with his wife he decided to come to Germany four month ago. In the following interview Edy Tavares Moniz explains why he likes analogue photography that much, which motives are his favourites ones and when he started to make his dream come true.
Which country you are from?
„I am from Cape Verde Island. It used to be a Portuguese colony until 1975, then it became independent. T belongs to Africa. The official language there is Portuguese, but we also speak Creole over there, so it is often a mix between different languages. “
When have you left Cap Verde?
“I left Cap Verde in 2004. I went to Brazil, where I studied computer science. I finished my studies with the bachelor. Later, I worked in different companies as a system administrator for a few years. The I moved to the United States, to Boston exactly, for a few months. I wanted to study photography there, but it was much too expensive. Because of my student visa, I could not work enough to pay everything. And I missed my family, I haven´t seen them for over three years. So, I decided to go back to Cap Verde. I stayed there for another six months. But I still had the idea of becoming a professional photographer in my mind. At this time, my girlfriend lived in Mexico, we had a long-distance relationship, we only saw each other a few times in the whole year. So, we decided to go to Mexico to live there. In the end I had the opportunity to study there.”
What was content of these studies?
„On the whole, I studied two and a half years. At the beginning my studies focused a lot on analogue photography. When you use an analogue camera, you are forced to see the picture in your mind before you take it. With a digital camera you can take one picture after the other until you get it. The analogue film only has 32 pictures, so you have to think before you shoot. “
Do you like analogue photography?
„Oh yes, I love it! I can ‘t even tell you why. It is the whole process, starting with putting the film in the camera, then shooting and after this going to the dark room and there revealing the film with all the chemicals. “
How long does it take?
„At university we only revealed black and white pictures. So, the whole process isn’t that long, it took about one hour or even less. For me, this act is a kind of magic. It is really relaxing. When you are in the dark room you are totally focused on your work, you forget all your problems. “
What else have you learned during your studies?
„We had courses in studio lightening. We learned how to put the right light, how light behaves, all the physical aspects of light. And of course, we had a lot of exercises in portrait and product photography. We learned all the theory behind photography.“
Did you enjoy your studies?
“Yes, of course! It was a lot of fun. And I had the possibility to learn from different teachers, that was really great. They are all established in photography, one of them for example was the main photographer for Starbucks in whole Mexico. He taught me a lot!”
How is life in Mexico?
“Sometimes it is dangerous and you always have to be careful. But I love Mexico, it is a nice and beautiful country, the food, the people, the cultural aspect. But there I also a lot of crime, corruption and drug traffic. I have learned Spanish over there, that is good!”
Which languages do you speak?
“I speak Portuguese, Spanish, English and Creole. And now, I am learning German as well.”
Why have you come to Germany?
“I have been here for four months now. I mean: why not Germany? Okay, I know that the language is really difficult to learn and that it is really cold over here. All my friends told me that I must be crazy to move here. But me myself I like the life in Hamburg. It is like a challenge. In Germany everything is calm, structured and the things work. I like that!”
You have travelled a lot the last years. Where do you feel at home?
“Home is where the heart is. And at the moment my heart is here in Germany:”
When have you started to take pictures?
“I started taking pictures when I met my wife. That is five years ago. Before, I didn’t even like it. One day my wife visited me in Brazil and she had a camera with her. So, I started to make pictures of her, just for fun. Suddenly I realized, that I like it a lot, to play with the camera, to search for motives and to capture the moment. But the beginning was really complicated and I decides that at first, I had to learn the basics. When my wife returned to Mexico, I immediately bought a professional camera. And I started to read everything about photography. I still check blogs and books and I follow other photographers on Twitter and Facebook.”
Which camera do you prefer?
“I have four cameras. I like working with my reflex camera, it’s a Nikon. But I am convinced that it is not only the camera, it is the person behind it. And as I said before: I am crazy about analogue cameras!”
Is it still popular to work with an analogue camera?
“Yes, because the quality you get with an analogue camera you never reach with a digital one. Especially for product photography lot of photographers still use analogues cameras. The pictures become more authentic and intense.”
Do you photograph every day?
“Yes, almost every day. Most of the time I have my camera with me. My Camera is my friend. With my camera I discover the world:”
What are your favourite motives?
“Oh, it depends a lot on the mood I am in. The last weeks I did most of the time portraits, because it felt right. But two months ago, I only took product pictures. I went home, saw a simple cup and thought about, how to put it into the right light. And I really like to photograph street life! I go out, look around and find so many interesting things which I would like to photograph. So, I capture them with my camera. That’s nice!”
From all the pictures you have taken – which is your favourite one?
“I like all the pictures of my wife. And believe me, I really have a lot of her, close ups and portraits. My favourite ones are a series on which she is making faces. The pictures are really funny and she looks so happy! Another picture I like a lot, shows a good friend of mine with a big snake around his body.”
On your homepage one founds a lot of black and white photography. What do you like about this technique?
“Well, there is something about black and white photography I really love. Coloured pictures I don’t enjoy that much as I enjoy black and white ones. Black and white is clearer, the pictures have more charism. When I work for someone, I do everything in colour, of course. But when I shoot for myself, I prefer black and white.”
What does photography mean to you?
“It is a way of expressing myself. While taking pictures, I get out of the daily stress, it is relaxing to me. My camera is my world. When I have my camera with me, I forget everything else, all my problems become smaller and smaller. Taking pictures helps to clear my mind.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I came here with one thing in my mind: I want to work as a professional photographer. I want to organize my own business, an own studio, that’s my dream!”
You need a photographer for portrait-, product-, fashion- event- or street life-photography?
Call or write Edy Tavares Moniz:
0162 79 16 965
Interview: Sophie Martin
Pictures: Edy Tavares Moniz