Antonio Coelho

2021 Non-Professional Advertising Photographer of the Year

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background!

I am an electrical engineer. I have been doing photography in a self-taught way since 2010. Between 2010 and 2015 in analog format with old cameras and since 2015 in digital format.

It was only in 2015 that I bought my first DSLR and since then I have developed skills in digital photography and digital image processing. I have a particular interest in still life, landscape, conceptual and architecture.

In 2017 I got my first victory in international competitions, in still life, at the Xposure festival, in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Since then I have participated in many national and international competitions, having conquered podium places in competitions with high recognition.

Q: How did you realize that you enjoy photography and capturing pictures?

From a young age I had an aptitude and interest in the arts, namely painting and architecture. I was about to study architecture but took the engineering path. The issue of photography came up in 2010 after a trip to Cuba. I took hundreds of images and aroused in me the greatest interest in this art.

Q: Do you ever have trouble getting inspired? What do you do when moments like this arise?

Moments of inspiration appear at different times. Even when I go hiking while taking other types of photos, for example nature, I love shooting mushrooms. These are times when I remember several ideas at the same time and then I try to write it down in a notebook I keep at home. Inspiration is not difficult for me. I may not be able to realize all my ideas. I still have many unrealized ideas, which I have written down in my notebook.

On the other hand, I watch a lot of television, science programs and documentaries. The fact that I have been to some photography festivals, one of them very important to me, Xposure, in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, allowed me to meet photographers of different styles. This opened up my horizons a lot in terms of photography. From nature photographers with impact at National Geographic, through fashion, object, product photographers to street and conflict photography like Sir Don McCullin, have allowed you to see photography in a very different way today than just simply shoot.

Q: Which aspect of photography would you say was the hardest thing that you had to learn or get used to?

The aspect that I have the most difficulty in photography is maybe people photography (street and portraits). It fascinates me but I don’t have, perhaps, the facility to interact with people who are not in a more personal format. On the other hand, I love architectural photography. There are some techniques that I still haven’t mastered, although I consider that architectural photography should be simple, bare and raw, that is, if it’s a building for example, it should be seen in color, in the frame and with the users appearing in it. I really like the works dealt with and that only point to the details and maybe that’s where my difficulty lies.

Q: You have been chosen Non-Professional Advertising Photographer of the Year for your work “Consumption.” It’s a powerful image and makes a person think about how humanity’s over-consumption is in fact killing the planet. How did you come up with this concept?

The fact of being an engineer, with a solid base in sustainability, economy and environmental protection, always trying to minimize the impact on society, has led to the development, in recent years, of works that are critical to what we live in today’s society. The world is not the same for everyone, there is a lot of poverty, a lot of hunger, a lot of disease that could be fought only by distributing the wealth generated by many countries and people, which does not end up being done in the best way. Today’s society is very consumerist, leading to actions in relation to the environment, the planet’s resources in an exaggerated consumerist way.

This is very worrying. I remember that in my youth I was able to play in the river near my house, even when it rained a lot, flooding was rare. Today this is not possible, there is pollution, when it rains a lot there are floods and when the heat is intense, there is little water. Although there are no major environmental problems in my homeland, what is generally seen today is that the imbalance is enormous.

Today we are wrongly consumerists. The image is part of a series of photographs that address this issue and the others mentioned above. It was created with two intentions, the game of colors trying to “alert” to the content and the underlying idea and on the other hand, to show with a small plastic globe cut and painted with watermelon, that we easily consume what the planet does. gives and we do not get a positive return from this action. I even used one that is affecting our ecosystems and the global sweat, whether of people or animals, plastic. We have to remember that by polluting post oceans, we are spoiling the source of production of 50% of the oxygen we consume. By destroying the forests we increase the loss of the other 50%. In this way the global temperature increases, the temperature of the oceans increases and we are somehow doomed. The image serves to say: “We must act, and now”

Q: What were the biggest difficulties you were faced with when shooting this image?

The only difficulty was in trying to combine the colors in an attractive way and visually with impact so that anyone would arouse their interest and then the arrangement of the elements used, with the circular crown as if it were a sign of prohibition.

Q: Why did you decide on entering this particular photo into the IPA?

I have already participated in this contest in previous editions. I decided that this image would be a good proposal for this edition, because of the moments we live with news about the environment, about oil, about energy, etc.

Q: What does winning this competition mean to you?

Having achieved this feat, I really find it very remarkable and it makes me extremely proud. This, for me, is one of the awards at the international level, today, with greater relevance and recognition. This is an important contest and one that many photographers try to reach the top. I am very happy to have been awarded this title.

It also represents the personal responsibility to try to maintain a comparable quality in my next works, or to try to improve.

Q: If you could do anything or go anywhere, what would your dream photography project be?

There is a trip that I would love to do. Rural China, Tibet and some Arab countries. I loved to travel in a relaxed way, to photograph and get to know the culture and people better, as well as the landscapes and architecture.

I don’t rule out other destinations, but these in particular, I think are the ones that would attract me the most.

Q: What good advice would you give to a photographer who is just starting to experiment with shooting photos?

I started with a small digital camera, a Sony, which I used on a trip to Cuba in 2010. I quickly switched to analog. I’m not saying it’s the best way for anyone who wants to start, because the analog is something difficult at first. Perhaps the best advice is: “know how far you want to go with photography” and just from there, study and meet other photographers and techniques (the internet is a good way). On the other hand, there are good courses in any country. It might be a good way to start. There has to be a very personal taste and interest in photography!

Q: What is next for you, are you working on anything right now?

As I mentioned, this image is part of a series of images. I’m currently creating conceptual works, based on the same material resources for still life that address the negative impacts on wild animals, their extinction, but also developing architecture and nature works. In particular, in architecture, from which I received an invitation to photograph, I will try to present works with my personal stamp.

Thank you very much for being able to talk about my ideas and expectations in photography, as well as presenting my work in a more intimate way. Thank you very much.