iae aa eia
Lives in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Works as a English school coordinator and EFL teacher
Joined on Jan 13, 2011
I was born in João Pessoa, Brazil. I lived in a few other cities in three neighboring states in the Northeastern region before moving to where I currently live, about 1,300 miles away down south. Back then, photography was not offered at colleges and universities, and I never got a higher education. I tried to get in the AirForce. They offered the career of aerial photography (don't know if they still do). I tried to work with social photographer, and shoot a couple of birthday parties and portraits, but I wasn't successful. I liked the experience, but I had never been a very social person and the few clients I got had been with the help of my mother.
Soon I was living by myself and in a different city. I was not able to prospect any clients by myself nor to get any recommendation from the few folks I had done some work for. I found out only decades later that I suffered from depression and lacked a great deal of social ability, as I was constantly isolated. I was not weird in front of people, though. I was very inexperienced, and never received any kind of guidance, any kind of advice; nobody never called my attention to my autistic-like behavior toward people, especially as a photographer. I gave up and worked with motorcycle sales (also a disaster due to the same issue) and also at 1-hour photo labs/shops as a minilab operator. Now I was successful, as I worked isolated most of the time. As a minilab operator, I was considered one of the best at all the places I worked at, thanks to the fact that I loved photography, read a lot of technical literature, and learned how to operate and maintain those machines with very exigent folks. One of them had worked at a Kodak laboratory for more than a decade (which he left to start the first photo lab I worked at), and the other one was a Noritsu consultant.
I got involved with the church of Christ and I started to be able to look at myself in a clearer way, coming to realize what the problems I had were and what I needed to do. During that time, I was often in contact with Americans and my English improved considerably. It was at church that I was encouraged to start to teach English. After about six years as a teacher, I got the opportunity to have my own business, an English school franchise focused on private classes at homes and businesses. Although I had gotten better over time, but still aware of my insuficiently high and constant positive mood, that kept me from continue being a photographer back then, I now work with a person that is an expert in marketing, the kind of profissional that, if I had back then, I would have been a 20-year-career photographer by now. Along with this business, came the first opportunity to leave the Northeastern region of Brazil.
The first camera I have ever shot with was my mother's Kodak Instamatic 177XF. It happened to me to work as a photographer in the 90's, but I always had problems working by myself (not having the skills to do that marketing thing; socializing and stuff; and thus, feeling discouraged) and I didn't care to find a partner. What I needed was someone to help me promote my work, just as described in the previous paragraph. I don't work with photography, but I can say I still do something I love. I have always liked English, so it never gets old. And most things I've learned through reading, including photography, were written in English.
The first contact I've ever had with photography literature was in the 80's. The husband of a distant relative of mine gave me a photography guide composed of two magazine-sized and four less-than-letter-sized books. Each one of the magazine-sized books was divided into many sections, like cameras, lenses, flashes, framing, darkroom, techniques, pro-photographers' galleries, etc; and the other four books focused on specific photo subjects. Only photos and commentaries in them. One was about people, the other was about women, another one, about nature, and one about architecture. I loved that kit. Later on, when I was able to understand some English, I could compare them with many other guides and I realized that they were quite complete and technically accurate. Really good stuff for Brazilian standards. It was probably the translation of an American guide.
In 1993, I was living in a city called Natal, RN. I was riding my bicycle when I decided to stop at a newsstand located at a supermarket for a quick look at the magazines as I used to do. I wasn't looking for anything in particular and didn't intend to buy anything, but while I was browsing, I saw that beautiful red glossy cover magazine with lots of SLRs on it, standing on the top shelf. It was the December's 1993 edition of Petersen's PHOTOgraphic magazine. I was in awe, thinking, "Wow, look at that!" I had never seen such an appealing cover (uncommon to Brazilian magazines at that time) and that rich content in terms of equipment. I decided to buy a compact Collins Gem Eng-Port Port-Eng dictionary and a calculator in the same week I bought that magazine, and spent the whole month trying to translate most of the magazine's content and converting feet to meters, inches to mm and cm, and pounds and ounces to kgs, and even dollars to royals (our currency, or 'real/reais' in Portuguese). I continued to buy issues of that magazine for the next 6 months. At first, equipment ads, camera and lens guides and articles, and shopping catalogs where the sections I read the most.
In 1996, I was living in Guarabira, PB, and the owners of a photo shop in Natal called me and invited me to move back there and work as a minilab operator. That was my first job. I got to know the folks there because they didn't have access that kind of magazines and I used to go there and take mine and talk about photography, and we enjoyed that a lot and we became friends. While I was working there, I had the chance to handle some very nice cameras like the Nikon F3, FM2, Minolta Maxxum 9xi, and some others from Pentax. Canon was rare.