We had the pleasure to have an interview with the young Brazilian photographer Gabriel Marques who has been making waves in the Sao Paulo fashion scene. Gabriel Marques had an early start into photography and went professional at the tender age of 16 when he started work as an event photographer at the birthday parties. His passion took him to Sao Paulo where his talent was recognized by the likes of Rita Lazzarotti and Silvia Roger from Vogue and his agent Gustavo Grotta who all helped him find his footing in the local fashion scene. The young Brazilian photographer is only 26, yet has a decade of experience and he seems to be only just starting. Lets check out the interview that you don’t want to miss out.
Since how long have you been photographing and how did you get into it?I had my first DSLR camera when I was 16, in 2013. But the thing is that recently I realized that ever since the first phones with built in cameras appeared, I was that kid filming their toys and all… After that, I used to take my sony cybershot to school and use it with my friends, making silly videos for youtube (lol), pretending to be iCarly. So the connection with the camera started really early and naturally.
Maybe now I can see that all of that came from a very escapist mind, a very imaginative child. I used to love watching music videos ever since I can remember… The thing about photography for me is to use the image as a media; a form to build the worlds and (crazy) situations.
I imagine, things I want to propose. Coming back to the 16 years old: by that time my mother gave me this canon, and I didn’t really used it (at first) in an imaginative form.
First I started to try to learn how to photograph; the technique. Also, I started to want to go to São Paulo to see the concerts from artists I loved (fanboy), so I tried to make money with my camera. Went to small baby party buffets and offered my service to photograph these parties.
Kind a random start… But taking pictures of a live event you need to learn to be super quick and it helped me to be technically good too – that’s really important when you want your images to come exactly the way you imagine, in terms of light and all.After these early experiences, I continued to work on these birthday parties, gained some money to come to so Paulo; filled me with these dreams of going to a big city and all… that cliché! In 2013, Instagram, tumblr and Facebook started to become an easy way of showing works and pictures.
That privilege (of not having to help my family financially) was really nice, once I believe that the way that I lived by that time really made me believe in my dreams. I felt like I could be everything I wanted. Forever Fearless. Turns out it’s been 10 years since I’ve been working with images, cinema… Wow.
No jokes, all I do in my life, my choices and experiences are guided by my desire to see the world and transform these feelings into some art piece. I know it sounds super Lady Gaga from me, but at this point of my life I’m not afraid of sounding a bit crazy haha.Where do you take your inspiration from?
I was talking about how life itself inspires me to make art, but there’s an order of how the inspiration comes for me.I got access to the first artforms in my childhood, and to watch pop video clips and movies from the early 2000s really inspired me to be someone that likes to add a dreamy layer to the normal world. So my first and guiding inspiration is to consume artists/art pieces that go through the path of stylizing the real world, ironizing real life situations and feelings; good and bad feelings.
With that in mind, I like to live my life in a radical, adventurous way. To travel, to fall in love, to move from my hometown… To feel bad about something and wanting to talk about it… Like, my living is the ultimate way of finding my themes and objects.
After 26 years alive (hahaha) I can tell that the future is really something that inspires me, to see crazy machines and super recent technology stuff beats me too…Though the world is super filled with vigilance…
So I try to relate this kind of extravagant aesthetics with heartbreak themes, feeling ugly online… feeling alone… stuff like that. The Internet really makes me feel a lot of emotions so a lot of my stuff comes from strange online images, some memes and unexpected things.
I like images that shocks me, that makes me wonder… funny and inventive perspectives. My experiences relating with people online too, how my image interacts online… who do I wanna be? The social problems I see in the real world, how the future of this world can be scary…
I like to play with these perspectives.. not in an obvious way, I prefer to add some mystery to it. Recently I started to feel inspired by my hometown, once I moved from there. I come from the Brazilian northeast, which is a wonderful place, full of local cultures and resistance from Americanization and all. But still, it’s drier, less taken care of by Brazilian politics… It’s difficult… So the way local artists used to envision my region is almost always about folk cultures and kind of suffering images…
No space for young themes, modern machines… weirdness… queerness. So I have plans to start something there… When I have money!!! Bring my robots and crazy stuff… I think it’s a potent future project. While writing this I realized that maybe the reason I’m always so mesmerized about the future/technologies etc it’s exactly because of where I’m from.
I couldn’t talk about music… music female artists, they taught me to imagine. People like Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey (and a lot more)… talking about fame, imagined worlds… Escapism. I’m always touched by music. It’s the air that I breathe.Who has been the biggest influence on you?
All the things I said before, but thinking about specific people, in history order (and artistically saying): As a kid, my aunt Patricia used to take me to the movies, to the theater. She was studying to become a journalist, so she used to show me some nice stuff, for a while.
At some point she started to work (sad news) and unfortunately stopped me showing things. Already by the time the cybershops appeared, I used to spend all day with my sister, so taking pictures of her, watching her and starting to take registry out afternoons used to be very special.
Now we don’t live together anymore but I still take pictures of her when we meet. My school friend and I used to make crazy kids YouTube videos, that really made me realize I would like to work with videos and images. Also my Cinema university friends and experiences, all the theoretical conversation and going to the cinema and friendship were really important to me. I have this friend called Sarah Berger.
I took pictures of her before she moved from Fortaleza to São Paulo and soon to Europe as a model. To watch her new face career explode and happen really made me happy and everything she used to do I used to see on Instagram, so I discovered a love of São Paulo fashion professionals, and Europe too. That’s funny, I have a feeling that, just at this point of my life, I could make something really big with her.
I feel I’m always saving the desire to make something new with her just when I have the right structure, she is my muse haha My boyfriend was the reason I had the courage to move to so Paulo, we worked a lot together (he’s a cinema guy too) and he has been around ever since I have been living in São Paulo, so I would say him too. The way being in love changed me as a human being and having someone with the same interests is amazing.I have some people (most of them I’m not really close to on a daily basis) that really showed me a lot of help when I arrived, so they influenced my career. George Krakowiak (stylist) talked about me to my agent, that was really helpful and i mean, I loved his work, felt a lot of recognition.
My agent Gustavo Grotto was there all the time with me. Having the chance to be represented by someone big in Brazilian industry (he used to represent Rafael Pavarotti!!!) is amazing.
He is super kind to me and I see him as a big friend and family here. Also Rita Lazzaretto, Vogue’s fashion editor posted my stuff on her Stories and was super kind to me when I arrived. Lots of people were nice to me and gave me opportunities.
Silvia Roger too, a super intelligent woman that used to run vogue Brazil for a long time too, I asked her for jobs with just my independent and small stuff in my portfolio and she did, she called me to do a lot of stuff in my first year. There’s a lot of people… I’m thankful to all of them.
If given an unlimited budget and resources, what kind of shoot would you like to do?
As I was talking, I’m actually more interested in pictures that are not just the model and nice clothes and a white backdrop… Of course that the biggest part of the magazines all over the world are more into this kind of image right now, the world is in this austerity moment, crisis.
But we’re talking about the possibility of unlimited budget and resources… I’d love to create my extravagant narratives, crazy situations (use cars, machines, drones, helicopters, airplanes, robots, etc.) and invite a lot of models (that could be professional models or singers I like).
I love pictures with a lot of people in it. I’d love to have nice clothes too, being a big dreamer I’d love to use a whole styling of just one brand, like a whole new collection – so everything would match. While writing this I realized that my ideas are really about things that don’t exist in the daily basis, so it’d take a lot of money to be made lolWhat has been your biggest achievement so far?
To be honest I think i’d say that my biggest achievement is to have arrived at a moment in my career where what I want to explore is very clear to me, i know what i wanna talk about. I’ve learned how to say “no”; to be more confident about what will make me happy or not.
There are a lot of opportunities you get that unfortunately, even if you want to accept, the conditions are so wrong that it’s better to say no. Like, sometimes there are jobs that suddenly appear hours before the job…
it’s terrible, you have to run to get the equipment, assistants… I’m also grateful for – even though I know I deserve even more( I don’t wanna sound terrible lol) – what’s been happening in my career, I know about lots of people that try really hard and the results sometimes don’t come.
I’m lucky to be super available to talk to people, to ask what I want… And to have some social privileges. Do you have a preference between photography and videography or do you feel that they go hand in hand?
To be honest my dream job would be to work with music videos, so for me taking pictures is of course nice, but I really wanna be some kind of Steven Klein that makes videos for lady gaga lol. So yeah, I would say that video would be all dreams coming true. (I also wanna make a band to make the videos, a la THE BLAZE haha). Of course you can always work for advertisement but it’s another mindset, I think it’s less experimental overall.
Any exciting projects you are currently working on? I should say that I’m trying to finish some stuff I made last year. I’m finishing this super low budget independent video clip I made for this girl from my hometown.
The clip has super cheap aesthetics even though it does have a lot of storytelling elements. So it’s super fun. I’m also working on trying to fix my daily routine, the food I consume, and trying to start to exercise…
So the big project is: being a better adult, making some money to make my ideas come true… Be happy, maybe? haha I’m trying. Even finishing this interview, that’s been taking literally 2 months, is something that I’m excited about.
When I said that I became a full time artist now (this is my main goal. This life and what I’m living for 24/7). It’s like. I’m saying that I’m trying to be a poet; but sometimes I am the poem… I have other things that, even though. They are not necessarily about work, are important to happen if I want to make images. I suffer, I fight with my boyfriend… I feel alone.I live I’m just trying to be aware that not everything can be done at the same time, we have to constantly remind ourselves that we have time in this life. Things take time (and it’s terribly bad for your production to focus.
Only on it to have no friends or relationships). Feeling more comfortable about all that is the most exciting project right now. Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years? It’s kind a difficult to think about this right now.
Once I’m in this moment of my lifetime. When everything has been changing so quickly, that it’s hard to say what my expectations are. But I have a feeling that my life has this circles, and my pandemic (and how this impacted my life).
Circle is getting over right now. I’m starting this full adult circle, living alone. Trying to get opened to make new friends and go out more – even. If at this point I’m feeling a bit low energy to go out. To think about the future.
I’d say that in these early years (2023, 2024). I hope that I get used to living alone in São Paulo. Start to get bigger budget jobs and with this money start to produce with more intensity. I tend to think that when I start to create my images.
The Brazilian magazines will start to invite me for more things. I’ll try to collaborate with the singers that sometimes come to festivals or solo concerts. So I think in 2028 I hope. I’m starting over in a new country or just traveling a lot with my work.
I really hope I’m more comfortable with my routine, living in less degrading dynamics. Also I hope that I can film a movie that I wrote a year ago 😉How does your creative process look like from the concept to the final image?
Hmm honestly this changed a lot, it used to be like drawing pictures; now. I try to take notes when the idea comes to me and I collect images from the internet. That can be used as inspiration, mostly memes and crazy situations.
Then eventually this becomes a moldboard and I try to produce the images. What is the most interesting project you worked on so far? That’s a difficult one, but probably. The story named ‘Birds’ and I made from my hometown for Harper’s Bazaar Brazil.
Because both of them helped me to develop new roads in my career. The first one that came to my mind is: not everybody has to like you. Good to remember this one. I saw Marina and the diamonds answering this in an interview and I remember that by that time. I had this sensation that, because of my work (that was kind of known in my hometown). A lot of people did not give me a chance to present myself in the first place, as a person.
I felt that my username and my Instagram defined my for most of the people and sometimes. Mostly at my university, people would think. Oh, he is that Instagram kind of famous guy etc. So they didn’t talk to me; people just assume you are that stereotype of an blasé artist. The thing is that I’m really an affective guy, and I love to know new people, and I had. This idea that if someone really knew me.
They wouldn’t unlike me haha lol but of course, there are people that probably don’t like me and now. I think its just fine, its normal. They don’t have to like, and that’s it. You are still young but yet quite experienced. What advice would you give to those who are trying to enter. The field and especially want to make it a mode of living? ” Lana del rye said this in this myspace interview and it really made me feel like.
I just had to be wise and understand how to get there. I don’t actually have a role model but I’m always trying to watch. The steps that people I “wanna be” walk in. There’s another thing that I feel that’s really important; it’s to have themes, objects; a research.
It doesn’t really need to be like a concept theme. Sometimes it is more about the colors. The aesthetic itself, the lighting… but it helps you to have a signature image.
A signature look; that’s something I think that made the difference for me. My themes came to me through my online insecurities. My interest in futurism, pop culture, etc.; but every one has their own path. A more commercial advice.
If you want to work for someone. Try to have some good images on your portfolio (start creating your own visuals independently) and finally try to contact. The brand, be kind of stalker, find out who works for them.