I never put it into words, but I guess I'm a very optimistic person, I always tend to think that everything will be alright in the end, and I try to concentrate in the good things in life instead of the bad ones. I know this might sound silly but it's true...

How has the pandemic affected your daily life and your job as a photographer?

 Jesus, the list is endless. The most obvious one, being unable to travel, I've been photographing only in Brasilia (except for 2 short trips), and my city is very limited to street photography, so I felt my production somehow stagnant. There's a lot of tension on the streets these days, and everyone is even more suspicious of someone with a camera here.

Also, I've a day job, and I've been working from home since last March, most of the time with my wife and daughter, so during this time I increased my production of family photos too.

08 Gustavo Minas iFocus

Do you think that Covid 19 beyond our everyday life will in some way change our photographic approach?

I can't foresee it, but I don't think so. What I'll probably have is even more thirst for seeing different ways of life unraveling in front of me, around the world preferably.

Tell us some things about how you started with photography and why while studying journalism you ended up dealing with photography

I was one of the few students who had my own camera, a Yashica FX-D that my father had as payment from a client (he was a dentist). That helped. But I guess I soon realized that written journalism demanded a high level of seriousness and very strict rules for the text, and this kind of killed my passion for writing. I guess this made me realize that the world of images would be better suited for me.

10 Gustavo Minas iFocus

Tell us your own version of how street photography is defined

I never think in terms of rules, I think this is silly. But my practice is basically walking around with an empty mind, trying to visit new places now and then, but also revisiting the same places over and over. When the weather is sunny, I can do it twice a day, early morning and late afternoon. I'm a shy person so I never speak to strangers before photographing, but I think this is a totally valid approach in street photography too.

Are you familiar with the phrase ‘I like when you do it right. But I like much more when you do it wrong so well.’

Yeah, this phrase gave the name of the last exhibition of my master Carlos Moreira. It was an unforgettable show in 2019.

Which photographers have influenced you and in what way?

First,Carlos Moreira, with whom I studied in 2009, because of his photographic philosophy.

Then, Harry Gruyaert andAlex Webb, for their use of colors and deep shadows. Later, Saul Leiter and Gueorgui Pinkhassov, for their use of reflections and how they created atmosphere in their images.

11 Gustavo Minas iFocus

Your photographic world is colored can you give an explanation for this choice?

I don't think there's an explanation, it's just the way that I see. I love BW gritty photography in the fashion of Robert Frank for example, but this is just not the way I perceive the world.

You are chasing light and reflections on the streets. The result is very interesting (!) and we all can see a metamorphosis. Is that you are looking for? A parallel world full of magic and multiple interpretations ?

This is not exclusively what I'm looking for on the streets, but yeah, I found it very interesting when I can mix two different worlds in a single photograph, and all the unexisting relationships that come from this fusion. Besides the aesthetic side, I'm really drawn to reflections because they describe better what's the feeling of being in a chaotic urban environment - they let you see not only what's in front you, but also behind and bt your side.

Looking at the portfolios on your site I was impressed with the ‘O Parto ‘ project. Undoubtedly it differs from all the others in terms of content as well as emotion. are you still photographing your private life? are there limits to such an approach? could you, for example, photograph your child and expose her on social media or even in a photo exhibition? 

Yes, I still photograph my private life on a regular basis.

I think these limits depend on each photographer and their relationship with their families, it's hard to pin down.

With "O Parto", for example, it took me some months before I decided to share it, but then home deliveries are a bit of a taboo in Brazil, and it was good that we could bring this discussion to the public through those photographs. Many online newspapers published them, with or without our consent. I was very criticized for photographing it, it was a strange situation, but in the end we just focused on the good reactions we had, especially from future mothers who were considering having their babies at home. 

20 Gustavo Minas iFocus

Is Brazil an interesting country for a street photographer and if so what is so special about your motherland?  

It can be, but this is not a rule. Brasilia, for example, is probably one of the most boring cities for street photography, but somehow it challenges me to become a better photographer. I think light here is great most of the year, in most of the country, and in some cities life still happens on the streets, which can make them very interesting.

 If we had the opportunity to travel which country or city would you like to visit and why?

I have a long list... Tokyo, Istanbul, Casablanca, Sidney... but I think that anywhere with enough people on the streets and good available light can be interesting.

19 Gustavo Minas iFocus

Have you ever been in Greece?

No, but I would love to. It's in my plans. There are many contemporary Greek street photographers whose work I admire.

What advice would you give to a young person who would like to take up photography?

Don't expect any kind of motivation from the world, try to find it within yourself. Practice it everyday in your leisure time, and find something else to earn money with. Try to keep exploring your own city as a tourist, go to different places and try to see it with fresh eyes.

03 Gustavo Minas iFocus

Short Bio

Gustavo 'Minas' (Cássia, MG, 04/11/1981). Currently living between São Paulo and Brasília.

Gustavo Minas was born in Cássia (MG, Brazil) in 1981. He graduated in journalism from the State University of Londrina and studied language and history of photography with Carlos Moreira in São Paulo. Since 2009, he has photographed the daily life of the cities where he lives. He currently works as a journalist and freelance photographer in Brasilia. In 2017, his 'Bus Station' series won the POY LATAM award in the category "The Future of the Cities”. He’s a member of Burn my Eye and Flanares collectives. His first book "Maximum Shadow, Minimal Light" was released in May 2019.

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