This time a year ago, we graduated from our masters. It was a very swift two weeks moving from a DocNomad, to just Nomad. In the last week of our course, we all flew to Brussels for our graduation. I remember that week in Brussels so well, so much that I feel like not much has changed since then. But here we are– it has been a year! I had forgotten that I took my trusty film camera with me along for the ride, I got some prints done yesterday and to my surprise, found a roll of celluloid immortalising the last months of our masters.
If I never again encounter a period of life such as this one,
I have developed a habit of drawing lately. It all began one day when I was at a miradouro and saw two friends talking with the city as their backdrop. It reminded me so much of my friends who would hang out with me on the roof of our home to watch the sunset. And the ease of the conversation brought back an ease I had experienced some time before.
I met Anna two years ago, sometime in September 2015. She had knowledge of the discount tickets that you can purchase so you can go to Caiscais for an unlimited amount of trips for a week. I think it was a summer treat program. We became really good friends after that, until now.
This photograph was in the summer, in 2017. After our program had ended and we had decided to gather as many times as we can before we all flew to our next destinations — a destination that we will not share. It was summer, then, in the two ‘then’s that I describe.
As the sun start to set later and later, and the sunlight gets stronger and stronger, I realise that soon, it will be summer again. I wonder how many more Annas will I meet, Annas with knowledge of discount tickets that can bring you to Caiscais for an unlimited amount of instances within a period of 7 days.
Thiago visited from Bazil last weekend. His film will be in Clermont Ferrand. I just moved in to a new apartment with a shared balcony. I’ve always wanted a room with a balcony — since I was 7. Now that it’s here, I realise that I had not gone so far as to reach the edge of the balcony that I finally have. It’s winter and the farthest I’ve gone is two steps out the door.
Tomorrow, at first light, I will take the last three steps that will bring me to the edge of this balcony and do what I’ve always wanted to do with a room with a balcony — wake up early in the morning, storm out to the end of the balcony and rest my elbows on the edge as I watch people pass by.
In January we moved to Budapest. It was winter and the first morning we spent in the city was one of the few days of snow. Winter was an exciting concept because I’ve never really experienced it but it was also very alien. It felt like the city was alien to me or, that I was an alien in it. When the sun started to show, I began taking photographs of strangers. This one, was of a man who just left the tram, I asked him for a photograph but he said:
I tried ask again to make sure I understood correctly
..no. Not me..”
He opened his arms up to the sky, looked around and then finally at me and said:
“Budapest is waiting for you.”
Since then I’ve been working hard to make sure that Budapest doesn’t wait too long, after all, we have barely a month left, and then we are on our way out again.
We moved to Hungary last month. We had to get used to the place so we decided to get out of Budapest for a day.
We arrived in Budapest in one of the very few days that there was snow. In the last years, snow became a less frequent visitor during winter. Within two weeks, we already had to begin making our first films in Budapest and I worked with Ida.
I went to Paris with my friend, Whammy in the summer. After breakfast, as we paid the bill, I noticed a man reading, with his full concentration on a book. I went up to him and said “Hello sir, do you speak english?” — “Yes.” — “May I take your photograph?”, I asked.
“What for?” he asked back.
I forgot what my answer was. I only remember being terribly shy, not knowing the answer, but at the same time, knowing very well my intentions.
“Sure. Go ahead.” he said
And so I did. I made this promise to send all the photographs I took of strangers, back to them. I’ve been doing so for the last year and a half. This moment though, is special, it had a huge impact on me, it made me think about all the things we do, the films we make, and the portraits of people we take. I am reminded of what an honour it is, to have someone say “Yes.” to being in front of the camera for us.
I remember, in one of our classes, our teacher, Marta Andreu reminded us, that it is impossible to touch without being touched.
This photograph will always remind me, every time I take a camera, to know exactly why I do it.
It has become sort of a tradition, that we do a little Halloween get together. I can’t really say it’s tradition, because at this point, it had only been the second time we’ve done it.
When we moved in to our new flat that’s a few meters short of being in the city, the first thing that I worried about was going home. There was one bus that took us straight to school. It wasn’t the shortest bus ride but over the past months, I enjoyed taking it.
I took very few photographs of Paris. I had V with me, an analog camera Krish bought at a cash converters shop fifty steps away from his house in Arroios. When he told me about V, I thought it was excessive. But 8 months into the future, V is my only companion on my way to Paris. Like many good things in life, I got V by accident. Forgotten at a rented apartment, I retrieved the old camera at the exit of a a ferry port that connects Tallinn and Helsinki. Handed to me, carefully wrapped in a plastic bag, I had, unknowingly met my new best friend.
Last week, I found myself in Viana do Castelo again. I was there in transit, waiting for the next bus that would bring me further up north. It was the place where the fourth edition of DocNomads first had their fieldwork. It was, where we made our first films as a class. That was in the first semester. Now that we’ve arrived at the last, I remember the photographs that I had promised to show them “once we get back to Lisbon”. I’m about a year and four months late, but here they are anyway.