"I hate when I don’t have enough time to take photographs or when I don’t feel inspired. Sometimes I feel disappointed with myself when I realize I could do much better."
Those are the sage words of Luisa Azevedo, a driven and talented teen living near a quiet sea side in Portugal. I first came across Luisa's amazing talent through instagram and instantly connected with her beautiful sense of aesthetic and sharp eye for composition. I also adore her perchance to be playful with her work by creating simple collages, producing fascinating worlds within worlds that are magical and thought-provoking. She also experiments with sharply cutting her subjects at interesting angles, beckoning the viewer to lean in to try and complete the puzzling visual.
Taking advantage of the easy-to-share platform, these lo-bit portraits express her love of the ocean, along with the colors and people that frame it. Each image sings with muted grays and bright blues, marbled sand and subtle green. Each image is perfect or imperfect, a gallery of notes that compose a greater song.
I asked her to connect with me and to share her passions, her hopes, and of course, her love of the sea.
BH: Tell us a little about where you live? The photographs look so incredible!
Luisa: I live in Covilhã, a small town in Portugal countryside. It’s on the hill of the highest mountain in Portugal, Serra da Estrela. I know I post lots of pictures from the seaside, but I live two and half hours away from the ocean. I take those pictures when I visit my grandmother, who lives in a small village by the beach, Vila Praia de Âncora, in the north coast of Portugal. I find the ocean really inspiring.
BH: Covilhã looks amazing! Describe your perfect day in this beautiful town.
Luisa: To me, a perfect day is during summertime, when I can go to the beach and go surfing, the weather is sunny and I have plenty of time and opportunities to take great shots. In these days I take lots of pictures to use when I don’t time to take new ones.
To me, photography is a escape from reality, where I can develop my creative way of seeing the world.
BH: It's clear you love photography. How would you describe yourself as an artist? What inspires you and what moves you?
Luisa: First of all, I don’t describe myself as true artist. I’m just a 17 years old high school student, that discovered photography through instagram and started having fun. To me, photography is a escape from reality, where I can develop my creative way of seeing the world.
BH: Okay, okay, so you don't describe yourself as a true artist, but it's clear that you are. You have a keen eye for composition and are very creative with many of your posts. Are there any major influences in your life, either in art or how you see the world?
Luisa: To be honest, I never had a particular influence. Since I was a child I’ve been quite creative doing arts and crafts, even at kindergarten. Then, my parents always took me to art galleries and exhibitions every year on our summer vacations and they have always supported my creative side. In the last couple of years, I started enjoying taking pictures and sharing them. I believe that everything together made me what I am today.
BH: But you mention that social media has influenced the way you see yourself and you art, no?
Luisa: I’ve always admired art but since I discovered Instagram I changed my way of seeing photography. In the beginning I didn't expect much from the social media, but when I realized people enjoyed my work, I felt the need to improve myself as my followers gave me positive feedback and I still want to get better.
BH: Being open to feedback is always a great idea and that's awesome that you gotten so much positivity from instagram. That said, is there anything that frustrates you about your art process? Does anything make you angry?
Luisa: I hate when I don’t have enough time to take photographs or when I don’t feel inspired. Sometimes I feel disappointed with myself when I realize I could do much better. Most of the time I have to go to school, do homework or study. In my spare time I practice athletics in a professional way with national competitions and I’m in a drama club, so I don’t have much time left, even in the weekends.
BH: I can see how that would make anyone frustrated! Sounds like you have a full schedule of things that will continue to evolve your way of seeing and creating. I guess my last question to you is, if you could give your young self any advice, what would it be?
Luisa: I think I’m still the young version of myself at seventeen… I'm not wise enough to give advice to anyone. But, If you have some for me I’ll be happy to receive them.
BH: Fair enough! Here's what I might say:
Be the spark. Be the person that captivates and motivates everyone around you to be better, to be more alive and to be more amazing than they were moments before. To be that spark, you also have to recognize what will motivate and captivate you. This is not always easy and the journey to discovery can change and morph as time moves around you.
The important part is to know when you've found it and then, to never turn away. Let it flair up and pour out of you, growing brighter with every breath. Everyone around you will feel it, everyone around you will see it.
For what starts as sparks in the beginning, often times lead to the most beautiful of fireworks. From what I've seen, you definitely have the spark. Here's to your fireworks!