Diogo Duarte is a London-based Portuguese artist, specialising in self-portraiture and psychological portraits. His background in mental health and bereavement support enables him to create outstanding imagery that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional photography. His creations are inspired on his clients desires and translate in an artistic way what is going in their mind. We love his work so would like to share with you an Exclusive interview with Diogo Duarte. Find more about the artist below:
How and why did you get into the photography Industry? Where did you study, etc?
I really got into photography in my late teens; it was something to do in a period when I wasn’t sure what to study. I used to pick up my camera and drive with my friends to the outskirts of Lisbon, where I was born, to photograph staged concepts. What appealed to me back then, and still does now, is the opportunity photography gives you to both confront and escape reality; you can lie and speak the truth at the same time. That is fascinating.
Even though I continued taking pictures, I graduated in Psychology and Criminology because where I was from majoring in Photography wasn’t seen as much of an adult thing to do. It wasn’t until 2012 that I took the plunge and did a short course at the London School of Photography, and it was from that moment on that I started challenging the notion that becoming a photographer wasn’t such a silly thing to do after all. Attending that course was one of the best things I did in my life.
How would you describe your style? How varied are your works? Do you have a signature touch in your works?
I dabbled in various styles before I arrived at something I can see as my own style. All of my current work uses important information about the sitter’s psyche and personal life, which I then interpret to render in an image. As well as a photographer, I am also a mental health professional and I reached a point where I can’t separate the former from the latter. Photography often sits between reality and fantasy so it is important for me that both dimensions are always present in my creative process. I tend to end up with very stylised images that show glimpses of the sitter’s truth behind smoke and mirrors. I like to use photography to create a new reality.
What do you love about being a photographer?
I love to take on challenges so being a photographer is perfect for me. There’s no boundaries or rules to it and the sense of freedom it gives you is liberating. And of course, the fact that you can twist the truth through the lens is a special kind of magic I like to have present in my life.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I try to be very humble when it comes to inspiration. It is given to me in the sense that I just get intrusive images, randomly and out of the blue. I don’t know when it will happen but it often happens during boring conversations, when I’m drifting off to sleep, waking up or just daydreaming. It can be quite an organic process so I just hope it doesn’t disappear! Having said that, I do take a lot of inspiration from simple things like memories. That is how I started my long term self-portrait project ‘Unconscious Commands and Judgements of our Century’; the idea came when I was feeling nostalgic about the times when I used to slip my mum’s high heel shoes into my feet when I was very young.
Find more art photos HERE!
What are some of your most popular works? Tell us a bit about some of your works and what you love about them. What’s your favorite and why?
‘La Revanche dans les Latrines’, (the photo on the post cover) from my long self-portrait series, seems to be quite popular and it’s possibly my favourite too. It’s an image where I decided to play with gender and I think people got confused with it. When I first released that image I got a ridiculous number of likes, mostly from men, which left me wondering whether they were liking an image of me as a woman or an image of what they thought was a woman! This is what I mean by creating a new reality with photography, it’s almost a child like pleasure to see this happening. The whole series of self-portraits plays with this very thing, I get a lot of feedback from people who say they see a completely different dimension when they look at the photos for a second time.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
I’ve recently started working with private clients to create bespoke Fine Art portraits. Using my skills as both a mental health professional and a photographer I turn their life story, memories, dreams and emotions into a portrait. It’s a process that is really rewarding for me but also for the client because it can help the client see himself/herself in a different light, in a new perspective. Plus, they end up with an exclusive piece nobody else has. I call this PhotoBard® but in reality it’s a word to describe my style of telling a person’s story with a photograph. Just below you can see a PhotoBard® portrait I did for a recent client. Because she was born and raised on a farm, she used to be bullied a lot and she carried that shame of her roots into adulthood. When she came to me and opened up about it, I had the idea to revisit that farm which helped the client to reframe how she related to it.
What is your philosophy on photography and life?
In life I try to accept things as they come; which is a humorous thing for me to say as I have an enormous tendency to overthink things. This is where photography plays a part in my life because a photograph just ‘is’ – a snippet of something which helps you to process events with simplicity. I like to bring socially sore subjects into my work and I hope that by doing so this element of acceptance is somehow passed on to the viewer.
What are your photographic dreams/goals?
I aspire to continue exploring and being challenged by whatever life throws at me. Right now, I’m looking forward to the many challenges I’m sure I’ll encounter with PhotoBard®. As to the rest, I’ll keep an open mind. I’ve been proved wrong many times with dreams that didn’t turn out like I thought they would be, so the best policy really is to just embrace whatever comes and that in itself is my goal.
Describe yourself in three words.
Thoughtful. Contradictive. Creative.
See more artistic photography HERE!