In the member spotlight this month, I’m delighted to introduce you to Sandra Lopes, the photographer behind the fantastic duck shot which won the “Park Life” Photo Contest!
Read on to find out how Sandra got into photography, who inspires her, where in the world she would most like to photograph and more!
Where are you from and how long have you been living in Oxford?
I’m from Coimbra, Portugal. It’s a lovely “city of the students”, with one of the oldest Universities in the world. I’ve been living in Oxford for 4 years now.
What’s your story? How did you get into photography?
Since I can remember I was always fascinated by the visual arts. Film, paintings, photography, graphic design… You name it! During my early teenage years I used to photograph my friends who had the ambition of pursuing a model career. I believe I still have the (very basic) film cameras I used then, always kept in fully automatic mode. Although my interest for photography began a long time ago, I consider myself a newcomer, as I only recently started to use/experiment with manual features. I have a lot to learn still.
What is your favourite subject to photograph?
I don’t have a favourite subject. Everything that catches my eye or imagination, I suppose. I know I tend to photograph details and I take a lot of pictures with my phone as well, just because it’s always with me when I spot something interesting (to me anyway). If I look back into my archives, I have hundreds of pictures of street art, street photography, architecture features, quirky corners, people and some nature and landscape as well.
What do you think is key to taking a good photo?
Many years ago I would be very patient and wait to take the “perfect” picture. I wouldn’t care about the power of photoshop or other editing tools. I would think about the composition very carefully. Nowadays I’m still very patient but I take hundreds of shots in the hope I get a few that I really love. Anyway it’s still early days for me to share any tips, because I’m a learner myself.
Where do you find your photography inspiration? What motivates you?
I still get goosebumps every time I look through the first book I bought about the work of Sebastião Salgado. A picture is “worth a thousand words” and even with a writing journalism background, it’s something I truly believe. How exciting is the possibility of catching something that can’t be replicated? A photo allows you to make memories and can definitely tell a story and spark your imagination.
Where in the world would you most like to photograph and why?
Brasil and Portugal are some of my favourite countries so they will always be at the top of my list. I would love to photograph in Japan and China as well. I came across some books of these Asian countries shot from above and it’s something completely spectacular. I can think Norway, Iceland, India, USA, Scotland… Everywhere really!
What is your experience of Oxford Photo Walk?
It’s a friendly group of people with a lot of knowledge, from who you can learn. You feel welcome and I particularly enjoy the “afterwards gatherings”, usually in a local pub, around good food and drinks. I also love the possibility of getting to know new places I’ve never been before. As every photo walk has a “theme” that you can follow, it helps you to focus on the subject and be creative.
I’d like to thank Sandra for sharing her story and a few of her favourite photographs with us. How many photos of the same thing have you taken, in order to get that perfect shot?
Like what you see?
Then you can see more of Sandra’s work on her instagram.
All the best,