Juninho Photo – There’s a kind of irony about me choosing that particular name
Why the name “JuninhoPhoto”? Using “Juninho” and “JuninhoPhoto” was simply a way for me to brand some elements of my photography apart from the rest of my commercial photography. There’s a kind of irony about me choosing that particular name, though, because the Brazilian name Juninho stands for “little man”, and I’m actually quite a big guy.
What is your preferred motif, is it the scene or the person? It is the person, always. I always contend that I primarily take photographs of people, as opposed to the fashions they are wearing, or the environments in which they sit, both which are secondary in my pictures, and I do strive to show you something of the personalities of the people who sit for me within my pictures.
I like to think that the finished pictures are representations of how I saw those people in those moments, and I hope they agree, of course, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out that way although nobody has ever told me that they are truly disappointed with their pictures.
Who is Juninho, is he this guy walking around with that camera all day? No, I’m very much not the person who walks around with a camera recording what I see.
Firstly, I kind of view cameras as being professional tools now and, well, a guy who builds a house wouldn’t necessarily carry around his building kit with him all the time. Secondly, I see with my eyes (and remember with my mind) and I don’t necessarily need a camera to remember these things myself.
So I suppose that means that I am a quite selfish photographer (in some ways) in that I chose carefully only some limited moments of what I see to share more widely through my photography. Perhaps selective, rather than selfish.
Have you always been interested in photography? Yes, is the simple answer, but not always commercially. I grew up looking at the great photography that was infused throughout day-to-day life in the UK in the 60’s and 70’s.
I learned the basics of photography from my Dad (I turned the laundry room of my Mom and Dad’s home into a dark room) and also in school, where photography was part of the Art classes. I then developed my craft through the years by constantly working on my techniques (craft).
Photography for me commercially came later, and as a second career, turning the hobby into a job, and so I’ve probably been concentrating more on commercial photography (rather than hobby) in the last 10-15 years.
So, I was always a photographer, but it sort of went from being a hobby more into sort of a semi professional occupation to now, where I earn my full-time living from my photography.
Explain to us your style of your photography. I think I have the two styles. On the one hand, there’s the vibrant colourful Juninho, and that’s all about using colour to compliment the picture in a fairly vivid and eye-catching style.
On the other hand, there’s the Black & White Juninho, and that’s about using the absence of colour to concentrate the viewer’s mind more on the subject (as colour can often detract and take the eye away from what it is that you really want the eye to see). If you want to see that work for yourself, just compare two versions of the same picture.
Have you got any new upcoming projects that you’d like to share with us? First of all, I’m always genuinely interested in collaborating with anybody who wants to work with me.
Project-wise, right now I’m interested in looking back at some of the looks and styling from the late 70’s and the early 80’s, perhaps shooting in that way with more modern fashions.
I’ve kind of done the reverse many times in the past, modern looking people in retro looks, but retro looking people in modern looks is something I find an interesting counterpoint to what I have done so far. I am sure some of my recurrent themes (nylons, high heels etc) will continue to infuse through my work, as well.
Tell us what makes a photo not just good but great. Simplicity is good, sometimes. As is having an eye for good composition. Actually, it’s quite difficult for me to answer this, as I’m never all that satisfied with the work that I do.
I always look at it and wonder if I could do something different or a little bit better or make the craft and technique better. That’s not to say I’m particularly negative about the stuff I shoot, because I am not.
It is what it is and I’m truly proud of the work that I put out there for people to see and it’s nice when people look at it and say nice things about it.
My favorite shots tend to be more recent, because I think we’re always learning and I’ve achieved more in some of these as to what I was I was setting out to achieve.
I’m quite lucky that I seem to be able to take away a few decent-looking shots out of every photo shoot I do. I think that’s the craft coming through.
You’re stuck on a desolate island. Who do you want to come to your rescue? Somebody who happened to be close by in a boat or helicopter (laughter). And who would I most like to meet? Anybody who’s interested in meeting me. It’s definitely a two-way street here as I kind of react well to people who want to meet me, collaborate with me etc.
Tell us about the alternative lifestyle in your part of the world. I really cannot answer this question because I’m not part of the alternative lifestyle and culture, to be honest. In general terms, I perceive there are changes happening, certainly within the scope of what folk consider to be “alternative”.
I do see a lot of things that might once have been considered part of an alternative culture that are now pretty much mainstream, latex wear, tattoos, that sort of thing and I wonder what might be next. Perhaps it will be something different, perhaps it will be more extreme versions of the same. Who knows, not me, that’s for certain.
I know for sure that I will always find interest in people and I will always embrace individuality, whether that be alternative or mainstream.
Bottom line for me is that we are all born as unique individuals and we all have something within us to offer each other. If we are all open and accepting of that, then we can all have such a more rewarding and fulfilling life. Live, and let live. I just love meeting and collaborating with people with similar philosophies. Peace and love.