Luis Zilhão

passionate photographer

“Photography is
about capturing souls
not smiles

I was born in Mai 1969 in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, a neighbouring city of Oporto, on the opposite side of Douro River. The memories of a carefree childhood and the discovery teen years were spent in Figueira da Foz, a small town on the coast. At 19 years old I went to Lisbon for a period of 5 years, where I concluded a university degree in marketing and publicity. After a few years of jumping between Portugal and Germany, I finally establish myself in Germany where I have been living since1995.

Photography started, as all good things, as simple fun. It was 1986 and the toy was daddy’s old Canon. After the first films of photographing friends, came a trip to some isolated Portuguese regions. There I took my first real photograph. The passion was born and I had discovered its most seductive side: capturing the essence of people and the atoms that compose them. Their moments of splendour and joy, sadness and anguish, their hopes and dreams.

I understand life as the supreme art, and photography as the art that represents it. Both searching for balance, harmony and happiness. There is no complete satisfaction in art, the same as life. I do not believe in complete happy existences, solely happy moments. I try to fulfill my life with the maximum of those, like adding pieces to an endless puzzle. There is no exception: by photographing I always find those moments. Hours and hours, in permanent movement, either in the hullabaloo of a city or lost in the loneliness of the fields, never feeling hungry, never feeling tired. In those moments I feed the spirit, overlaying all else.

Photography is communication. It sets up silent dialogs, a sublime stage of understanding. It generates proximity and consciousness, turns you from a mere spectator into an active participant. It is to be aware of the eternal cycles and the single moments that compose them. Photography is an act of freedom.

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