CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ
Photographer Nuno Lobito is fascinated with people. “Shooting a picture of a building for example doesn’t give me anything. Shooting people however gives me feelings,” says the Portuguese cameraman. And it is this love for learning more about the way people live and enjoy their life and freezing these moments in time that has driven him to travel the world. In fact, Lobito is credited to be the first Portuguese national to travel to all the countries of the world.
Over the years, he has shown his works in a number of exhibitions, published six books, and done television programmes in Portugal. His new exhibition ‘Ties| More than Travelling’ first debuted at the Fundacao Oriente in Lisbon in July last year. Having previously done an exhibition in Goa back in the 1990’s at Fundacao Oriente, Panaji, Lobito, is now bringing his new exhibition to the same venue.
The exhibition will consist of 16 images from his travels to different countries. “The Portugal exhibition had a total of 83 images from 74 countries. However those images were smaller in size. The pictures on display here will be bigger in size and will include two or three taken in India,” he says.
In fact, Lobito enjoys photographing in India (this is his 13th visit to the country) and other Asian countries the most. “Indian people love being photographed. It is not so in Europe where people are cold and not comfortable with the privacy invasion,” he explains. This is especially an issue because Lobito does not like informing people that he is photographing them beforehand. “I like the impact, the shock. If I tell them that I am going to photograph them, they usually stand like statues and it looks too posed. I prefer the spontaneity,” he says.
After clicking the picture however, he makes it a point to have a few words with the subjects and explain things. It all depends however on how good your approach is, he states, adding that one needs to be careful when you travelling because you are not in your own land. And the experience of photographing people often differs from country to country. “In Africa especially it is difficult because they are wary of a white man coming and photographing them. Countries like Somalia and Rwanda especially, where there is a lot of military action, are particularly difficult. However in the Middle East countries like Iraq or in Afghanistan, although these are hard places, the people are very friendly,” reveals Lobito.
And Lobito loves how photographs can enlighten people about the world happenings and recalls how he began his travels to other countries in 1973. Portugal had been under the Salazar regime for a long time which meant people had no access to television. It was only in 1974 following the Carnation Revolution that Portugal opened up. Thus when Lobito returned from his travels the first time around, his photos were viewed with much interest because of lack of access to the outside world until then. “In fact it was this that made me want to be a photographer – to show people new worlds. Also, photography made me feel happy. It also helped me with finances to travel the world although this was not always easy. But photography has given me everything I have,” he says. But Lobito is loath to call photography his passion or his job. “Passion is too short. For me photography is unconditional love. When I shoot, I put in all my love on the camera and the target,” he says.
And although it is hard to choose, one of his best works, he concedes, is a picture of a young boy holding hands with his grandfather. “To me this photo had very strong feelings in it. On one hand – the old signifies experience and power while the young means the future with fresh power and energy,” explains Lobito. This picture will be a part of his Goa exhibition
Post its Goa stint, the exhibition will travel to East Timor in November. Lobito is also looking at taking it to Macao sometime next year.
(‘Ties| More than Travelling’ will open on September 27, 6 p.m. at Fundacao Oriente, Panaji. It will remain on display till October 27.)