One Thousand and One Words: Miguel & Manuel

Photo: Miguel Coelho

Photo: Miguel Coelho

There’s now almost an entire two generations of photographers who have never shot a roll of film in their lives. We’re not complaining - things change; technology advances and in many ways the advent of digital photographs has seen the modern renaissance of photo-imaging. But have a chat with any photographer over the age of about 50 and their crows-feet lined eyes will surely turn to the horizon in a nostalgic gaze at the mention of the word “Kodachrome”. 

And there’s good reason for this. Certain brands and models of film (Kodachrome being the best example) became known for their behaviour - they way they responded to various lighting conditions, the latitude they afforded and the density of their grain when viewed under a loupe. 

But film is not dead! Apparently. As many pro and enthusiast photographers alike are now turning back to 35mm and larger imaging mediums often as an attempt to stand out from (or turn their back on) the monotony of digital images. 

Two such examples of this phenomenon are the spicy Portuguese duo of Manuel Barbosa and Miguel Coelho. 

Manuel and Miguel (unsure of whether this sounds more like a restaurant you take a Tinder date to or an overly-expensive boutique hair salon in Surrey Hills) have been bringing the grain to Portugal’s bodyboard scene; pointing their dust-covered SLRs at some of the country’s locals as well as some of the world’s best boogers who’ve happened to blow in for a tour event or two.

The result is surely a feast for the eyes as the pair have honed their skill at exposure and composition, resulting in a light-leaked, lustrous latitude to this gallery of images that could only really be achieved with film. 

We caught up with the duo to pick their Portuguese brains and find out the secret to analogue success. 

MM: What sort of camera and film did you shoot these astounding images on? 

Manuel: Nikon FM2 50mm f1.8 with AGFA Vista 200 for color and AGFA APX 100 for black and white.

Miguel: My images were captured by my Olympus OM-10 with a Kodak Colorplus for the color ones and a Kodak Tmax that is my favorite one to shoot black and white.  

What’s your background like in photography? Are you trained or self-taught? 

Manuel: I studied at the Faculty of Fine-Arts in Lisbon, where I had my first taste at film photography. I didn’t care too much about it at first, I was only into filming. It was only in my third year and after uni that I really got into it. I took a course at Ar.Co, where i went much deeper into photography. I guess I’m a little of both because, although I studied and learned a few things in uni and arco, most of what I know comes from personal and work experience and exchanging knowledge with other people.

Miguel: First of all, my photography interests actually began with friends like Manuel Barbosa and Antonio Saraiva. Just started to learn and watch what they were doing with their cameras always absorbing their tips. Then I decided to go a bit deeper on my knowledge and learn more, so I went to "Restart" that is a creative institution. There I studied photography and some video too and after I finished the course I went for an internship on a Portuguese foundation called INATEL where I stayed for an year working on photography everyday. That was an important part of my life as a photographer where I learned heaps but, as Manuel said, most of I know at the moment came from exchanging knowledge with other people, and I share the same opinion.  

What’s the photography scene like there in Portugal? Lot’s of waves to shoot, right!? 

Manuel: I’m actually not really aware on how the photography scene is like in Portugal. I just do it for the pure fun of it, I don’t see myself as a photographer. I can tell you that we definitely have some pretty damn good photographers in Portugal.

Miguel: I think that is an important point that also motivated me into photography. We definitely have such a nice scene here in Portugal full of point breaks and beaches all over the coast and a lot to explore!  

Who is your inspiration in photography generally? 

Manuel: I guess it comes from a lot of places. From Wes Anderson and Tarantino movies to skate and surf related photography and films.

Miguel: I follow many known photographers but most of my inspiration comes from my friends and the early mornings lights we spend together, driving and watching waves.  

What other cameras do you shoot on? 

Manuel: My pride and joy right now is the Nikon FM2. I love to walk around with a pocket camera like the Olympus MJUII, but it’s got broken a few weeks ago.. I also have a Canon FT QL which was my grandfather’s old camera and my first gear. A couple of Polaroids and a few lomos. I don’t own a digital camera these days. At least for now.

Miguel: My Olympus OM-10 and my father’s point and shoot are always in my car. Sometimes I bring my digital camera too that is a Canon 5D Mark II.  

What are your goals with photography? 

Manuel: Keep on shooting film as much as I can for the pure pleasure of it. I’m starting a studio called Lilac Tree Studio with two friends of mine, that should be fun.

Miguel: Keep walking with my camera everytime I’m searching for waves and now I would like to learn more about printing. 

What do you think makes a good bodyboarding photo? 

Manuel: T-Bone yawning with his leopard shirt at 7 in the morning ahaha. In all seriousness, a good/stylish bodyboarder is certainly half way there.

Miguel: I really like to see a well composed photograph as much as a nice detail.

You have some photos of very talented riders here. Does shooting these guys making photographing easier? 

Manuel: Definitely. The black and white ones were all in one session where I kooked it and left Minis camera home and only had the film camera on me. With these guys it feels like it’s not mandatory to have good waves in order to shoot - you just have to pay attention to every freaking movement in the water - I actually missed a few ones, just ask George and Lewy ahahah.

Photo: Miguel Coelho

Photo: Miguel Coelho

Photo: Miguel Coelho

Photo: Miguel Coelho