Storytelling; Francisco Salgueiro – Fairs, Gypsies and Travelers

For me photography is more than capturing reality, or getting a fantastic composition. For me, photography is above all, storytelling. I'm a published writer for over 12 years, with 3 best sellers and always several stories on my head ready to be written.

For me photography is more than capturing reality, or getting a fantastic composition. For me, photography is above all, storytelling. I’m a published writer for over 12 years, with 3 best sellers and always several stories on my head ready to be written.

Just over two years ago I discovered that typing is not the only way to write a story: through photography I could also tell a story. This time it would not come out of my head, but I would find it around me. And photographically that’s what I have been doing over the past two years: Making photos series where each photo must tell a story. And how do I know that a photo will tell a story? I have to listen with my eyes. Sometimes technically the photo will not be 100% perfect, but what matters to me is a photo that captures an unrepeatable story. That unique moment in the life of the people photographed.

Yes, it is through people that I tell my stories. Landscapes does not tell me much. They are there. Just that. They have already been photographed by the world’s best photographers in the best weather conditions possible. But that does not tell me a story. People do. Each with its past. Each with its experiences. Whenever i start a new photoseries, my first question is? Where can I get a story that has not been told, or has been seldom told?

I start researching underworlds that are rarely photographed, and difficult to access. Typically each photo series never takes less than six months due to the same reason: I need people to be comfortable around me. I don’t want them to look at me as a stranger. I want people to forget that I’m there. The first few times I’m always the guy with the big gun. And the reactions are always the same two: either make poses for the camera or get tense and run away.

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Over time, with the conversations that I have with them I make myself invisible. And that’s when i get the best photographs. I capture moments in their lives without them feeling invaded. And that’s when I start telling a story. That was exactly what happened with photoseries “Fairs, Gypsies and travelers”. Usually they are people who travel from one end to the other in Portugal during holidays or fairs. By nature they are suspicious people and wanting something in return. Over time I gained their confidence and started being invisible.

On this photoseries I wanted to capture the very long times they endure when there is not a customer around them. They are simply waiting for consumers. Either cold, or hot. Simply waiting. Each photo reveals someone engrossed in their thinking. Perhaps thinking what life they would have had. And those were the moments I wanted to capture. Some kind of nostalgia. I wasn’t  interest in the moments of them working. Because during that time, the only possible story was capturing people working. It wouldn’t be a best seller.

It was due to this process of storytelling that this year I won the category of Emotions on the annual “The Greatest Photo Contest in the world” by the mythical French magazine Photo. Regularly my photos are considered photos of the day or best of by Photo Vogue.  I have also won Mashable’s best photo of 2013 and several mentions on CNN. I have already have photographs published in international publications such as The Guardian, aCurator, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror or purchased by corporations such as Microsoft. [Official Website]

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