uma tradução comum

by Julius Bauer

Interview with Photographer Miguel Carvalho and Eurico Romaguera

The superiority of optics defeats the content. Especially in times of social media where you get flooded with visual content 24/7. We are drawn to pictures & videos, sometimes meaningless, sometimes provocative. However, Miguel has developed a language that grabs your attention from the get-go. The magic of turning an everyday situation into a moment that matters. A visual language that offers you a meaningful break during your monotonous morning doom scroll. Studying light and the composition surrounding it. Sharing his vision of aesthetics through surfing with Eurico Romaguera - the duo creates a tangible homage to the simple act we like to call surfing. Eurico seems to navigate the seas of the untamed Atlantic similarly to the knowledge of a wise old fisherman, well versed in the ways of the western coastlines. Reading & weaving what the wave will do whilst reacting to it in the very moment. From different vantage points, however speaking the same language. Both were born and raised in Figueira Da Foz, a small industrial fishing town, north of Portugal. Cabadelo, a beach on the outskirts of Figueira, developed a highly active surf scene in the last couple of years. The abandoned Harbour became a cultural hub, designed to pay homage to the origin of local surfing legends & outsiders alike.

Namely, Gliding Barnacles longboard festival has since been at the core of the booming scene in Figueira, providing a platform whereby surfers from around the world can connect & exchange visions.


Miguel, you were born in Figueira da Foz, if I’m not mistaken? 


M: Yes born in Figueira da Foz but moved to Porto to study architecture.


Eurico, your family is from Coimbra and you also grew up there? 


E: Yes, I was born in Coimbra and moved to Figueira da Foz six years ago. I grew up coming to Figueira da Foz every weekend with my dad to surf and then eventually, I moved here.


So you started surfing quite early I guess? 


E: Pretty much since ever, basically, since I started walking.


Miguel and you? 


M: I actually learned it quite late, when I was about 17 years old. I try to surf whenever waves are not fantastic. Or if I’m by myself and there’s no one interesting to shoot in the water.


But you picked up photography first and then got into surfing? 


M: Precisely, my parents gave me a camera before and I was just shooting my friends in the streets, nothing surf-related. Then later, I was spending more and more time in the ocean, it felt natural to combine it. 


Okay, so after connecting with the surfing world, you would drive with the surfboard and a camera to the beach, and then you would decide if you were going to surf or to take photos?


M: Exactly, but photography was always my main focus.


Did you guys meet in the beach? How did that happen?


E: We had a friend in common and he introduced us to each other. At that time there weren’t that many photographers in the area that were interested in shooting traditional longboarding and Miguel had a rare raw talent. We hit it off right from the start, and started shooting soon after meeting.


M: When I met Eurico, I found his artistic approach on surfing  super interesting. The aesthetic part of it got me motivated to start documenting what he was doing. It felt natural.


Does a surfer need a photographer to tell his story?


E: Well, I think they both go along super well. Surfers always had stories about waves and trips they did back in the days when surfing photography didn’t exist. When it all started to be documented it got more credibility and magazines and surf movies started to emerge and it allowed surfing to spread worldwide. If I am able to be a surfer nowadays it’s because of the “documenting” process that started to be created around surfing.


Did you guys learn from each other? In other words, evolved together? 


M: Right from the beginning, Kiko showed me a couple of good photographers that I didn't know of. The way they were looking at surf through their lenses was fascinating to me. Some of my favorite photographers are still the same ones I that was cautiously looking at in the beginning of my career.


So who inspired you at that time? 


M: Mostly Australian photographers. Woody Gooch, for example


Eurico your father introduced you to surfing. When did he started surfing and what kind of boards was he riding back then?I guess the surf culture in Portugal wasn't really developed at that point?  


E: He started surfing when he was 18 years old, 35 years ago around the late 80’s. He was riding mostly thicker shortboards with fixed tri-fins (Tom Curren emerging - influence) because that was the knowledge back then due to the undeveloped surf Culture in Portugal. Competition and competitors along with these tri-fin shorter boards were the biggest feature in Magazines that rarely ended up in the hands of some Portuguese locals at the time. Later, he started riding high-pro longboards and eventually when he started to organize Gliding Barnacles he joined the tradicional side of it.


Did this high-pro scene in Figueira da Foz changed much from back in the days since you guys started to organize Gliding Barnacles? 


E: It's super strange because we keep providing the locals with opportunities to get to know amazing surfers, artists, musicians, etc and further on to get inspiration from them, but  everyone seems to be still super stuck to the competitive side of surfing.


My Father, myself and a couple other guys, ride traditional boards constantly. But apart from that, there is no one. It's kind of sad to know that we are inspiring more people internationally than in our home, but we will never stop fighting for a change on our local surfing scene.


You guys definitely created something over there. I mean, not only with the surfing but also with the visual language of Figueira da Foz inviting the inspiration that you guys got from all over the world to Portugal to spread the news. To make a culture evolve, you need to get inspiration from outside which you include then into surfing. To keep things interesting. 


E: Exactly, through my trips, I learned a lot about organizing an event. I traveled to many  festivals alike GB. It's important to see what's happening out there. Which are the positive and negative sides of each other events and try to correct the less positive aspects and get an hold on of the good parts.  


Miguel, you are studying Architecture in Porto. When did you sign up for University?  


M: I joined University of Porto five years ago and hopefully I will be finished this September.


Miguel, do you think the architecture studies influenced your Photography? 


M: In architecture, we are always searching for the form and shape of the buildings (as well as the different uses or requests). The shapes are really important: rectangles, squares, circles for example. In a sight, you pay attention to the space that your house occupies, but you cannot ignore the empty space that remains. And that’s part of the architecture, voids are as important as the ‘mass’. In photography, I find the same, composition is made from the relationship between shapes and their negatives on the frame. And it’s purely about geometry. Somehow we can sum up an image into a relation between lines. If it’s a proper relation that’s when geometry comes in. Architecture it’s the same, tridimensional, we use geometry as a means of creating something out of nothing. Since I started studying architecture I pay attention to composition a lot more. In the beginning I was only paying attention to the surfer itself, now I’m much more interested in the way it relates to what’s around the image.


How do you feel about editing in photography?


M: I think it’s is a very important part of the process. Although it doesn’t mean that the more you edit the better. I’m always obsessed with that, trying to edit as less as possible, but always doing it most assertively. Sometimes a good crop can make the difference. The subject is there, but if the framing is not correct you can lose it all.


Eurico, to finish the interview, does the music that you listen to and the artists that you follow up, inspire your surfing?


E: I think that the way you surf reflects the person that you really are, and that person is constantly being inspired buy everything that surrounds you: people, music, art, places, noises, etc.