Antonio Simoes, is a friend and a great photographer. He did the cover photograph for my poetry book, ‘Dipping Into The Font’. I will let him introduce himself…
1. Tell me about where you are from and your life/career up until now ?
I am from Portugal, where I lived until 1980. Then I was working in construction abroad. In Germany I met a few Irish lads and we had a bit of craic, drinking and talking about Ireland, (the first time I heard about Ireland), and here I am since 2002. (I came for for a week’s holidays lol!)
2. How did you get into photography?
Photography…its a funny story. I had travelled to Northern Ireland for some shopping; that was back in 2005 I guess, and had bought a Cannon 1000D , which stayed in the box in the attic for years. In 2009 I was in a car crash; while I was recovering from the accident I needed something to keep my mind busy, so yeah, that Cannon came to mind and off I went… I got it out of the box, (I had no clue whatsoever about photography or even how to turn on the camera). It was a struggle to get it on. From that day on I was just out and about snapping way. After a few months I bought my first Nikon and gave the Cannon to my son, Michael, as a gift, but he still uses it very often .
3. What do you enjoy about photography?
I guess what I enjoy most about photography is the moment we capture, and the memories we can create. In street photography it is that moment in time which is very unique. It can be a simple smile that captures my attention, to a very unusual look of a child, or a simple touch of affection between two people. I love to capture those very unique moments. Then my second favourite thing in photography are sunsets and sunrises, and to be honest, Longford is very fortunate in that, we have a very few places to go to but in all those few places, we can capture very enjoyable photographs.
4. What techniques did you use for the cover photograph of ‘Dipping Into The Font’ ?
That’s a very simple question. I used different layers to achieve that touch. The fountain/font used is one of my photos of inside St. Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, the background is our very rare blue sky which I have blurred in Photoshop, and the water is a free water brush for Photoshop using watercolour for the effect. Then last, but most importantly, I opened up a new blank document, copied and pasted from the original into the new document, doubled the layer and turned it upside down in order to create a mirror image and merged the two layers together.
For the final touch, I borrowed a calligraphy pen that looks like an old-fashioned pen that is dipped into ink, (kindly lent by Rose Moran), took a photo of it, and added it to the picture using Photoshop.
5. What are your ambitions and hopes for the future?
Well I have to tell you this: Ambition is a non-existent word in my vocabulary, after a few lessons that life has taught me. I guess that tomorrow doesn’t exist really as today we are breathing, but we never know what will happen the following day. Tomorrow – that one unknown time-line defined as a future is only an illusion. Humankind has created that illusion inside our head with the hope to see another day. It is ok to believe that tomorrow is the future, but who knows if we will wake up to see it? Every single second is different, every single day is a new day; in photography you only capture a moment in time that only can be seen in two different timelines, (the past and the present). We cannot capture a picture of tomorrow’s day. This is the reality of life, past and present. I live a life in the now, with memories of yesterday, and eventually if I get to see the next day I’ll take it as it comes and try to make the best out of it. If an opportunity comes my way I’ll grab it and that’s it – no plans, no ambition for the unknown day.
A beautiful photo by Antonio