Inside this issue
Mário Cunha is a Portuguese Nature Photographer and former Biologist for whom nature is his main source of inspiration. He runs landscape photography workshops and expeditions across Europe where he does what he loves, teaching the art of photography with focus on helping people find their own vision. On YouTube he shares many of his photography adventures and educational videos as well as interviews with other photographers.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
It’s not unusual to get to the point in a career where you realise that you are spending less time doing what you love. In Mário’s case, it prompted him to switch careers from biology to photography, and this allows him to spend longer outdoors in nature. His enthusiasm for what he is now doing is obvious, and his background undoubtedly helps him interpret and contextualize his observations.
His experience of dramatic scenery in other countries has prompted him to search out comparable landscapes in Portugal, and he shares the practicalities and the perspective he has gained from his experiences. We talk too about the contrast between mountains and woodland and what he gains from each.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what that led you to do?
I was always connected to nature, although the environment was very distinct from what I am mostly attracted to photographing nowadays. I grew up by the coast, in a town called Póvoa de Varzim in the North of Portugal. Going to the beach was, and still is, something I do very often.
After my PhD, in late 2017, I decided to abandon my career and dedicate my life to nature photography. After deciding to marry my wife and have our beautiful daughter, this decision was the next best thing I did in my life; what a relief I felt! Now I spend more time in nature but don’t be fooled, a professional photographer working alone can't always be out photographing and having fun. A lot of work has to be done at the office if you want to make a living out of it, especially in the beginning. So nowadays, I am a full time nature photographer who, besides loving the art and craft of being out creating photographs, also loves teaching photography on my residential workshops/expeditions or through online courses.