João Pedro Machado is a Portugal based photographer whose work focuses on documenting the world around by looking for inspiration in the conflicting relationship that man has with nature. He was first featured in Untitled Collective in Issue #2, we recently caught up with him to discuss his most recent body of work Ephemeral Landscape.
What are the main concepts and themes you find yourself exploring through your work?
My work is focused on the attempt to document the conflicting relationship between man and nature. I consider myself a documentary photographer with a strong emphasis on the landscape and I only shoot on territories of which I’m familiar with and those that mean something to me. I often find myself returning to places from which I made some kind of mental photographic memory of, always with the intention to photograph them. When I made the series Lisbon, from the river to its boundaries, I did so because Lisbon is the city where I am from. The main reason for the initiation of Plano Miraflores was because it was the residential area in which I grew up.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
I try to keep an eye on the new work of other photographers that interest me as I think it is important to be informed about what is up and coming in contemporary photography. However, nowadays with all the available information and access to images, I prefer not to absorb too much of it. What really inspires me, and I know it is a bit of a cliché, but is nature itself and the interactions that humans have with it in their everyday life.
What inspired you to make the work Ephemeral Landscape and how did the project arise?
I will begin by saying that Ephemeral Landscape took place in the north of Portugal, a very beautiful place where I have been living since 2015. As I said before, I only shoot in places I am familiar with, so in these past two years I have found myself struggling to find a purpose with which to photograph. As this region is full of beautiful landscapes all of the photographs I was making were appearing to be more like postcards, something that isn’t of an interest to me.
However, last year took place an extreme and unprecedented drought in the Iberian Peninsula and the region in which I live was very affected. At the time of this event I was able to make work more wisely because I was very familiar with the river territory.
The first thing that captured my attention was the contrast between the white riverbanks and the dark blue of the water and the possibility through photography to perpetuate this landscape that had been submerged for 25 years. On the other hand, the problem of the changing climate had to be the main focus for the series.
For me as a photographer it is very important to make my work purposeful as I think that aesthetically the photographs alone are not strong enough and so I feel that there needs to be an intention for making something, whether this is particularly personal or not.