Here at Pepper, we are working with so many amazing creatives from all across North America. SO. MANY.
João Guedes is just one of these amazing humans with such big, beautiful energy. Can we talk about being #blessed and #livingourbestlives?!
We had a chance to sit down with João, a boudoir photographer originally from Brazil and now based in Vancouver, Canada. When it comes to boudoir, João’s stands above the rest. There is something about the stories that he shares through his beautifully lit imagery. Wow, it is something else.
Read on, dear peppercorns to learn a bit about João and his fascinating mind.
We absolutely love your work. All of it. Most of all, absolutely loving The Diaries. What are various themes that you are trying to show in your Diaries Project?
Thank you guys! And I’m loving working with Pepper! The Diaries is a personal project where I portray women’s intimate world through scenes that unfold slowly during the sessions. To me, it’s always been an interpretation of that intimate world I’m not part of.
You often host workshops all around the world for boudoir photographers. What are some of the topics that you are covering in these workshops? What can other photographers expect to learn?
My workshops are usually two days long. The first day is all about creativity and self expression as a photographer. We talk about the importance of having a consistent creative process and the power of transforming our references – personal and artistic – in order to build our own creative identity. On the second day, I show the attendees the step by step of my shooting process. From lighting to model direction we transform throughout the day, small, dark and sometimes ordinary spaces into beautifully intimate scenes.
What is your favourite part about teaching boudoir photography?
I’ve always loved telling stories. Actually my closest friends used to make fun of me and call me João, The Story Teller. But I couldn’t help myself. There was always a new story, something interesting that had happened or that I read somewhere and wanted to share with others. I still can see people’s face when I lose myself in long stories, just trying to make a point about something. Haha!
That’s why I love so much teaching workshops. As a photographer, all I can do is share my experiences, things I learned throughout my career, and maybe, help other photographers see things through a different perspective.
Do you find that you are an extremely organized workshop leader with a lesson plan and notes, or more of a free flowing creative that expertly shows your students the content through action/intention?
I’m definitely a mix of both. I am extremely organized when it comes to planning, making notes, researching new material to share with the attendees. I normally know exactly what I need and want for each workshop. From the perfect location to the ideal model that will be accessible, but also challenging to work with.
On the other hand, once the workshop starts, the attendees will set the tone and pace for the two days. Different groups have different demands in terms on both practical and technical content.
For example, in Brazil, my classes are usually split in half between male and female photographers. Most of them come from different industries and want to start shooting intimate portraiture. There I spend more time talking about the challenges of being a male photographer capturing women’s intimacy in pictures. And how much of my creative process involves explaining and setting expectations for the models.
In Canada, the majority of attendees are established female boudoir photographers who want a to learn something new and challenge themselves creatively. Therefore I explore different themes such as the power of references, how a constant creative process that represent who we are is the key to find our creative voice.
Are you a full time creative photographer? Or do you have a “day job”?
I’ve been a full time photographer for the last thirteen years. For almost eight years I was a commercial photographer shooting for brands in Southern Brazil. In 2013 I started The Diaries Project, and since them I’ve been a full time intimate portrait photographer and educator.
If I could give my past self one piece of advice it would be, “Ignore all noise in the world and choose to do only what really means something to you.”
What does the average work day look like for you? (From home, a coffee shop, a studio, etc)
I’m both a full time photographer and full time dad and my schedule is normally very pretty busy divided between home and work. My work day starts after I take my son to school. This is the time I try catch up with what I’m behind, which is normally a lot!! haha! A lot less now that you guys are saving me from my endless procrastination.
I love working from the comfort of my house, but it can also be very distracting since I’m always reminded of the never ending chores such as cleaning the house, doing groceries, washing dishes, paying bills, cooking… So when I start to feel unproductive I normally go to a coffee shop for a few hours before it’s time to pick up my son and my home routine still all over again.
How do you balance your work and life?
My family has always been my priority. When I travel for workshops and never stay longer than necessary. After I pick up my son at school, my full time and attention is for him and my wife. That separation between family life and work is what makes me give my 100% to each part of my life without feeling anxious about not doing my best on one or the other.
What are some of the ways that you relieve stressors?
I love being around people. I’m always my best self when I’m surrounded by people I love, being part of their lives, while they are part of mine. I also love movies and music. Not necessarily in that order. Music moves me and inspires me to be a better person and artist. There’s a quote I love, I think it’s from Nietzche, that says: “Life without music would be a mistake”. That sums up how important music is to me. And movies make me cry.
Thanks so for catching up with me! It has been so amazing working with you! For all of our readers out there, here’s another tidbit about why photographers should hire a virtual assistant. Just a note that all of these amazing photos here can be credited to Madalena and Marcelo Cohen.
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