One film(less) year #1

“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”

The above sentence translates to “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
That sums up my 2016 regarding film photography.

I can’t remember being so long without using film cameras and shooting film and that fact is, of course, tied down to having changed my income activity from graphic design to  photography.

Back in 2014 I was shooting and developing two rolls a day, yes, every single day!
(Those who follow this little blog know that the goal was to feed Cooking Film with experiments and examples of films/developers combinations.)

Changing my main income activity makes me shoot a loot more and to edit a lot more. My clients don’t care about the “visual poetry of film”. They care about the result and, many times, the result is not a photograph, it’s a visual product.

That is fine, those are the rules. The clients play the tune and I dance to it. I know my way around the digital tools and I have no problem in meeting the clients desire. I don’t aim to be like Paolo Roversi, or Dan Winters, or Anton Corbjin… I don’t have their talent and I’m just starting to build a name for myself and I’m already too late at it.

I know it will not be a name connected to talent but, I hope, very much connected to competence.

The bottom line is getting home too tired to even think about photography. I don’t have the mental energy to pick up a film camera. I need to reboot. My 9 to 5 is what it is but I need to find that extra bit of energy to keep shooting film.

Many of you know the following story but I’ll write it anyway because it means a lot to me and I often go back to it when I need to restart.

A few years ago I sold my Leica D-Lux 3 (amazing camera) and bought the Leica X1. It was such a bad, bad decision. I hated everything about it and instead of making me want to shoot more, it almost made me give up the whole photography thing.

Luckily I came across the work of two amazing pinhole users on Flickr (thank you Nhung and thank you Wayne). Everything changed! I discovered new possibilities and also a new camera, the Zero Image 2000.

And that was a (photographic) life changing event!

I never use the Zero on a tripod and, as you can guess, exposing for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 seconds, hand held, can produce some pretty… abstract stuff. To me that was magical. I couldn’t care less about the results, I was enjoying the process.

In a couple of weeks I’ll take a few days off. I’m planning a little road trip with my son and I will take the Zero 2000 along.

Zero 2000 means fun, means letting light do the whole thing. Means I can just relax, enjoy and uncover/cover the pinhole from time to time.






















I’ve started 2015 in the best way possible by meeting Rita.

It’s always fascinating meeting someone new, both visually and emotionally. I can never separate these things. As I’ve said many times before, it’s not about the moment I press the shutter, it’s about everything else.

Sure, it is the visual part that first draws me to someone but I’m always curious to know a lot more about the person.

Will we connected somehow?
Is she interesting?
Will she find me interesting?
Will it be boring?
Will she find me boring?

Ten minutes after meeting Rita I felt that it would be a great day and it was. We share so many things. We are both graphic designers and Rita also loves film photography. On top of that she’s an illustrator.

She is clearly a creative person and we got along just fine.

Please do check out her work.

Tumblr and Tumblr

As for the rest… well… Rita is beautiful. Everything about her face is like a drawing, so gentle and yet so… unsettling.

She has THE most amazing hair! It is a true black force of Nature framing a delicate face.

It was an absolute pleasure and an honor.

Thank you so very much Rita.

Hasselblad 500CM
Zeiss 120mm Makro Planar
21mm extension tube (on some)

Kodak Trix 400
Adox APH 09
14 minutes







Every year I invite one, maybe two girls to model for me.

It’s a slow process finding someone who is visually interesting and then asking that person without looking totally wacko/stalker/depraved…

It’s a lost battle 99,9% of the times.

I get all kinds of reactions and I handle “no” for an answer in the most respectful and understanding way.

My approaches are always polite and friendly, however these are not polite or friendly times and I absolutely respect their concern. Women do experience far more verbal and other kind of abuse on a daily basis. I respect them, no means no, so I just walk away.

What I get the most is the: why do you want to take my picture??

That’s a tough question but I always go for the honest answer: well, I think you are a beautiful and a visually interesting woman/girl.

Wrong answer!!!

As soon as I say those words, girls run away as fast as they can because:
I find them beautiful and visually interesting and that means I want to have sex with them and maybe to take nude pictures to share worldwide!

The ones that don’t run away usually go for a hard defense:
– My father is a cop/has a gun.
– My brother is a black belt in Ninja/Kung Fu skills.
– My friends will stab you in the throat.
– I’m going to call the Police.

No husband or boyfriend can ever tolerate having another man taking pictures of their wife/girlfriend. It’s like cheating and pictures are, of course, just a way to con those poor women into having sex and maybe, into taking some nude pictures to share worldwide.

Many times I end up thinking that maybe approaching a woman saying that I find them beautiful or visual interesting is just another kind of abuse and I’m no different from all the “uh baby love your ass” kind of guy.

But sometimes, just sometimes, everything comes together and all it takes is a special woman on the other end.

Marta is such a woman.

Thanks to Maria, a mutual friend, I had an excuse to introduce myself properly to Marta a few weeks ago. I sent an email explaining who I was and inviting her for a little photo session.

It was easy enough to see that Marta is a cool woman and brave enough to have her picture taken by an almost complete stranger. However… I like little stories, they bring everything together.

In fact I met Marta a couple of years ago. She was working, I was just a costumer, and the moment I saw her I thought to myself: how awesome it would be to take this girl’s picture!

I would never approach her face to face, it’s just not in me to do such a thing, so the idea of shooting Marta faded away.

Somehow the Gods of Photography managed to put Marta in my path again and I can never thank her enough for accepting my invitation. We spent a wonderful Sunday morning getting to know each other and taking some pictures.

Thank you Marta, you are a beautiful living “story book”. I felt honored.


I made some mistakes to say it gently.
I messed up all the films and sensitivities and recipes… but here it goes anyway.

Hasselblad 500CM (with the PME 51)
Zeiss 120mm Makro Planar

First 3 shots
Kodak Trix @ 200 ISO
Adox APH 09,
11 min

Next 3 shots
Rollei RPX 400@800
Adox APH 09
9 min

Last 2 shots
Kodak Trix @ ??? (maybe 1600) ISO
Adox APH 09,
11 min

The last two shots were scanned in RGB mode using the Kodak Gold 200 as profile.









Mama’s boy

Hello my dear friends.

It’s been too long and I truly miss posting bad pictures along with bad English writing.

The clouds are clearing and the sky is looking brighter every day.

Just two weeks after my surgery it was my mother’s turn to end up in the hospital bed with a severe case of gallstones. She had surgery yesterday and she is recovering amazingly well.

Everything landed on my father’s shoulders and he rose to the occasion like the super hero that he is.

So… I’m feeling fine, my mother is leaving the hospital on Sunday and this has brought us all together even more.

There’s nothing I can write that could express the amazing heart warming feeling that is to know I have a family I can count on. We truly are family!

But… the same goes to friends… from Portugal and Angola to Argentina, from Australia to New Zealand, from the UK to Canada, Holland or the US. From Spain to the Dominican Republic, you guys make me feel I’m worth something, much, much more than I deserve so I humbly bow to all of you and I must say: Thank you, thank you from my heart.

That being said… new times are coming and I still have a couple of pictures in me so… here I go again! 🙂


These were taken the day before my mother’s surgery.

I had to take a small camera with me and my choice was the Ricoh GR1s. The hospital is a pretty dark place so I hacked the DX code on a Kodak Trix to make it a ISO 3200 film. The Ricoh GR1s only has DX reading, not a manual option. If you want that option you can find it the the GR1v model.

Ricoh GR1s

Kodak Trix 400@3200
Adox APH 09
30 minutes





Mary Holga

Here are some more pictures from the session with my dear friend Mary, this time from the Holga.

I really wanted to test out the Nikon FA but I toke the Holga along too and let me say that I love this camera.

I was using HP5+ pushed to 800 on the shots inside the boat with the Nikon FA, but since I can’t push the film using the Holga my idea was to shoot Trix at box speed and develop it as if it was pushed to 800 ISO.

I didn’t know what to expect from the shots inside the boat but they kind of… came out with a cinematic look.

That huge window is a great light source, I was just not sure how the Holga would handle the abrupt transition between the light and the darker areas.

Now I know and I will definitely use it more, even on difficult light conditions.
Well done Holga and very, very well done Mary! I love her collar bones and the way the hair is bit messed up. Beautiful.


Some bus stops in Lisbon and Almada (where I live) are still made of hammered glass. I like shooting thought that texture and I often do, using both film or the digital Ricoh.

This time I had Mary and a bus stop just for myself for a couple of minutes. I like the mix between what’s really pressed against the glass making it come into focus, and what is not touching the glass and gets blurred by it’s texture.

I feel like exploring this a bit more and I would to love to do it in color at night. Let’s see, but one thing is certain… I like making plans, I like having ideas even if they are basic and stupid.

It keeps me busy and it makes me to get in touch with my dear friends who are always willing to help on my little photographic adventures.

So, once again, thank you Maria, none of this would be possible without you.

Holga 120 CFN

Kodak Trix, shot at box speed, developed for 800 ISO time, plus an extra minute. Total of 8 minutes in Xtol stock.






It can be just a word sometimes… or a smile.

The way your hair curls or a naked shoulder.

It can be the cleavage of your dress or the color of your ring.

It can be your presence or your absence.

I wish I knew what it is but… I’m kind of happy that I don’t.









Zero Image 2000

Kodak Trix 400
Xtol stock
8 min

The letter



A couple of years ago I has having lunch at the usual place when I notice this beautiful girl I haven’t seen before. A very discreet young woman in her late 20’s, maybe early 30’s, brunette, dark eyes…

She was not beautiful in an obvious way, but everything about the whole “ensamble” felt so gracious, so feminine, so delicate.

Day after day I couldn’t keep my eyes off. Aesthetically I was in love with her.

I do believe that people have a border around them. It’s an invisible but nevertheless a very much real one. I’ve done some crazy stuff, approaching people in the heat of the (photographic) moment. Trespassing that border, doing what it takes, saying what it takes to get the shot. Or not… by doing it stealth mode…

Not this time, this was becoming a premeditated photographic crime. There she was, a beautiful and gracious woman who didn’t knew I existed and there I was, checking her out day after day, figuring out how to persuade her to let me take her picture.

So… being the brilliant mastermind that I am, I came up with a master plan: I would write her a letter!

Yes, yours truly sat down one night and wrote that girl a very nice letter.

I understand that some of you guys are laughing now. Judging by my English skills, I suck at writing but trust me, I’m much more skilled in Portuguese!

So… the next day, at lunch time, I got up and went to her.

I introduced myself and gave her the letter in a very nice and polite way. I could see she was embarrassed but she smiled and accepted it.

A smile is always a good sign right?

I never saw her again… ever… and I mean ever.

I do believe that people have a border around them. When we try to cross that border anything can happen. However, very once in a while someone comes along that makes us cross it despite the outcome.


I’m not really taking any new pictures. I’m still waiting for surgery and I feel like sinking a little more every day. I can’t hardly walk, I take about 3 minutes to get in or out of the car and I have to move very slowly as any fast movement causes a sharp pain.

I’m on hold and I fucking hate being on hold.




Zero Image 2000

Kodak Trix 400
Adox APH 09
9 min

Same as it ever was

I know every single inch of this house. This house and the objects in it are like a picture.

Everything is in the same place… standing absolutely still… decaying and getting older.

Sure, once in a while someone opens up a window. The sunlight gets in and the air is renewed however… standing still objects inside the decaying house… don’t get your hopes too high.

No one will be moving in and once that window is closed again everything will return to what it always was.

I visit that house many times and I remember every single object. I remember how my grand father used to hang his shirts behind the bedroom door, they’re still there.

I remember my grandmother’s old pots. I remember I hated the bathtub texture for being so harsh and I’ve always loved the kittens painting.

I’m connected to that house in many ways. What once was alive and filled with joy is now just waiting to… vanish.

Memories are a good thing. They are like little trips to what once was, an escape, but as that house decays, so do I. Some things are already broken beyond repair.







No braids

These are from the second roll with Joana.

Unlike on previous sessions, this time, the tool of choice was the Nikon F3. It is obviously faster to handle than the Hasselblad and it allows me to shoot more and, I must say it again, it is a wonderful, wonderful camera.

I went through several cameras before the F3 but it’s like one of those things, it just feels right in my hands. Heavy but not too heavy, aperture priority, good viewfinder and, on top of that, it conveys confidence.

When it comes to metering, it is a very reliable camera but this particular situation was a bit hard because the veil was constantly waving, making light change very fast. Some pictures are underexposed but there’s enough information on the negative to make a fine print in the darkroom and for that I’m going to get Adox paper.

It’s been a change for me. I’ve been doing these little sessions using the Hasselblad for so long that I still find it strange to frame Joana in a non square format and, it is obvious that I’m not taking any advantage of the smaller size of the F3 which allows to vary framing in a more flexible way.

Well, that is enough reason to schedule a new session with Joana.


Nikon F3

Nikkor Ai-S 35mm f/2.8


Kodak Trix 400@1600

Xtol stock

10 min

Final 04





final 03



Final 02



Final 01


What better way of spending a day off from work than doing it with Joana?

It’s always great fun to have her around and I can’t state enough how amazing she is. Truly.
She gets up early, she brings props and makeup, she models and, this time, she even developed the first roll herself? How cool is that?

Thank you over and over again Joana. This would not be possible without you.

So, the actual idea.
I’ve been using the Hasselblad on every session with Joana and this time we wanted something different. Visually different. So, instead of doing something outdoors, as we always do, we came to my place.

I wanted something dark, contrasted and grainy and that’s exactly what pushed Trix and Xtol deliver.

There’s also a special prop we like to use. A semi-transparent black veil. In the other sessions Joana is actually using the veil but this time I wanted to use it as a “filter” between the lens and her.
Examples from previous sessions.

01 02

We started this new session in almost total darkness with only a small light on the ceiling. Joana had a window right behind her and I had to close the drapes as I didn’t want any back light. The pictures came out like this.

I could see it was really dark and these were taken at 1/60s – f4. Trix pushed to 3200 ISO.
I asked Joana to move directly under the light and I didn’t like the result. I like the light on her face but on the other hand I couldn’t see the mask she was wearing.

Nikon F3 + Trix@3200 + Xtol stock - 10 mim
Nikon F3 + Trix@3200 + Xtol stock – 10 mim

We went to the living room for more light and we tried to shoot through the veil. My first idea was to actually straighten the veil as much as possible just to get that extra “texture” even if it is out of focus.

It came out like this.


That is an awful shot!
I can see my couch back there and while Joana’s face and the mask are getting light, her left shoulder is nothing but a black stain and she was wearing a beautiful kimono .

On the other hand the veil was not working the way I wanted. The image was still too “clear”, I wanted more… I don’t know if “meddling” is the right word.

I asked Joana to stand up and to let the veil wave with the breeze. I climbed onto a chair and did this.


I was starting to see the veil waving and creating the texture I was looking for. Joana had to held the pose while I waited for the right moment to take the shot. I didn’t want anything covering up her eyes or lips and even though I was getting the mask of frame I was not getting the kimono.

Changed the 50mm f/1.4 to the 35mm f/2.8, one step back, and here’s the result.


Even though I love Joana’s beautiful tummy I was cutting off to much mask and I wanted to capture the braids on her hair and the pattern of the kimono.

This is the final shot and the one that illustrates our efforts the best.


Personal note.

When it comes to photography I’m at peace with myself for many years now.

What do I mean by “being at peace”?

It means I don’t want to become a photographer of any kind.
It means I do what I do for my own pleasure. To me photography is nothing but therapy.

It keeps my mind busy, it gives me a reason for making travel plans, to go out for a walk, to get up early on weekends, it makes me reach for friends…

Photography is just an excuse.

That is why it’s so easy for me to trash hundreds of negatives each year. I only keep pictures of friends and family.

My motivation is to go out and to use a camera and to enjoy the act of taking pictures while enjoying Nature, a city, a friend…

That’s why I often say, I’m not a photographer, I’m a picture taker.

I do what I do with the absolute certainty of my value as a photographer and that’s liberating. The point is, I feel free. Free from pressure, free from inhibitions.

I’m never disappointed about what comes out of the developing tank because my expectations are non existent from the artistic point of view. On the other hand I aim to post decent examples of my personal experiments.

As always, please forgive the rough English.