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Discover the striking obsession with details of Photographer Paulo Pampolin | #MemberSpotlight

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Paulo Pampolin proves that, sometimes, the best things in life do happen by accident.

When Paulo was 26, he met a photographer in São Paulo who taught him much about the art of photography. It wasn't planned. It wasn't a case of spending years and years to study the craft in a bespoke undergraduate course. It just happened. Since then, Paulo's love for photography never stopped growing.

A great storyteller at heart, Paulo is certain he would be writing books now, were it not for his unbelievable love for photography. In this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about Paulo Pampolin and his inspiring story, one of dreams, 5-minute football shoots in São Paulo and more fascinating facts from the life of a driven photographer.


How did you get into the industry?

I started in professional photography almost by accident. I met a photographer who had a studio in the building where I lived in São Paulo, Brazil. I was already 26 years old and he invited me to drive the car for him at a job he was going to do. I accepted. We became friends and he invited me to learn photography, as his studio was growing and needed new professionals. I worked with him for nine years, where I learned to serve clients from different areas, such as newspapers, magazines, corporate portraits, products, food, etc. This gave me a natural ability to act in the most different areas of photography.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

Now I'm based in London for a year and I work as a freelancer serving some beverage companies, architecture offices, an university and corporate portraits. And in my spare time I dedicate myself to fine art alternative projects.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I would certainly be writing books. When I was a child and my mother asked me what I would be when I grew up, I always answered "I'm going to be a writer".


Can you explain your creative process?

I always start from recognizing the clients' brief and understanding their intention with the photos. They often suggest things that I can see right away will not be good. Most of the time they don't really know what they want until you come up with something they say "this is it!". My references do not only come from the field of images. Music inspires me, books inspire me, classical paintings from the Renaissance, Dadaism and many other aspects, all of which together form my own conception of image. It's not every day that I get inspiration to create something. And when I don't have it, I respect the moment and I'll do something else.

Once I manage to create the image I always question myself? Okay, that's the obvious for this job. And you weren't hired to make it obvious. Now create what only you would create from that first insight. I always try to challenge myself.

How would you describe your style?

I'm really obsessed with details. Nothing happens by chance in my photos. Even in street photos, in the impossibility of controlling and directing people's behavior, I hope to show someone with the color of clothes I imagine would be good for that scene, or I even wait for someone to make a gesture close to the one I would think would look good.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

Some professionals are always in my memory as references. Two Brazilian photographers are my bases: Clóvis Ferreira and Sebastião Salgado. But, I also have photographers that I consider the good guys of the moment. Right now, Julia Fullerton-Batten has been doing the work that appeals to me the most.


If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?

I have no doubt I would choose Lavazza coffee. It is a coffee company that since the 90s has always featured magnificent works in its annual calendar. The innovations I saw there always make me feel like I'm not creative at all. It would be a challenging dream to one day have the task of creating a photo campaign for them, given the very high creative level they have presented so far.

How has technology affected the way you work?

At the time of film cameras, I used to photograph soccer in São Paulo. The game started at 9pm, I had to shoot for only 5 minutes, take the film, deliver it to the assistant who ran to take the film to the laboratory to be processed, because the newspaper was at closing time.

Technology positively affects my work. All the innovations that have been created from digital cameras and photography applications have made it much easier to make plans possible. I use technology as much as I can.


What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

I just love shooting and I don't see it as a job or an obligation.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

Moving to London and working in such a competitive market with so much great talent.

How do you recharge away from the office?

Music and my family are my fuel.


What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Differentiate your personal creations from professional creations. Your personal work may be trips that make a lot of sense to you because you are emotionally involved with the projects. But, maybe they just make sense to you. Creating jobs that have a commercial bias will help clients see in your work the talent they need for you to act representing their companies.

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

Image banks that make a fortune from photos and pay cents to the photographers who take the photos.

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

Any book by Sebastião Salgado is not only a photography 


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