From where River Ceira is born and to the point where it embraces Serra da Lousã, in central Portugal, there is a delicate dialogue between valleys and mountains where even today we can find some of the origins of Portuguese habits. It is an arduous and rigorous region, which is increasingly exposed to an ambiguous relationship between tourism and abandonment. Despite being a place of stories and testimonies, it is repeatedly referred, year after year, upon the threat of forest fires. But it conceals one of the greatest potentials of the country in the most varied aspects. This short video, made in August 2017 covering the villages of Góis, Carcavelos, Carvalhal Miúdo, Ladeiras de Góis and Esporão, is no more than the triggering of an idea at this moment in design. It is the motivation to go on the ground looking for stories to tell.

What do I have? I have a great city to live. I have a beautiful family that breathes the wonders of Lisbon and one of the most amazing countries in the World, Portugal. What do I need? I need true happiness for my children and for the future generations that will maintain the magic and feel of Lisbon, the city where I learned to be me. Portugal is today one of the European countries with the most uncertain future. An unprecedented financial crisis is throwing Portugal to social tension after years of apparent prosperity. Unemployment rose to unpredictable levels with almost 1/5 of the population without a job and a lot of people now wondering how to assure a decent education and life for their children. Purchasing power is reaching the lowest levels of the last decades and Lisbon may become a very different city in a few years. This video is a small homage to this wonderful city with an uncertain future. 

I usually say that if, for some reason, something in which someone believed ever since is in the imminence of disappointing and disillusion, it would be rather better to lie than to go ahead with that frustration.

Our faiths and beliefs are the fortresses of our souls and, should they collapse, it would be just like tearing us down in an irretrievable manner. Wolfgang Becker, in its “Goodbye Lenin!”, explores this as no one did, remembering us that our beliefs are almost at every single attempt stronger than truth.

Fátima, in Portugal, is a place where people feel comfort, relief and consolation. It is a place where they purify their souls and where they believe in something greater that is the reason to love and to live. Where the walls of the fortress become stronger and sturdier.

About Fátima: Fátima is a small city in Portugal, 123kms north of Lisbon, where, supposedly on every 13th from May to October 1917, three shepherd children (Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco) witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary. After the recognition of these religious events by the Catholic Church, the construction of a basilica began at the local in 1928 and today Fátima is one of the most known pilgrimage destinations in the world. Every year, monthly from 13th May to 13th October, hundreds of thousand of visitors fill the sanctuary (300 thousand of people estimated for the day of the images from “Fortresses Of The Soul”). Fátima is also one of the most important tourism poles in Portugal (religious tourism) with plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops, creating a very strong economy in which the region relies.

This is about a journey apparently like so many others. A three year old child, my daughter Laura, goes to school in the morning. Observing her leads us to think about the future. Our sons' future in a constantly changing way of life. What does the future prepare for my daughter? I don't even try to guess the answer. This tiny movie invites us to think about everything we do today to guarantee that every kid like my daughter will have the life and happiness she deserves. 

The Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve, which is composed of the municipalities of Portel, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Alandroal, Mourão, Moura and Barrancos, all around Alqueva Lake, the biggest artificial lake in Portugal, is a unique region in Portugal recognized by UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization for the quality of its night sky, with a very low light pollution, allowing for stars observation conditions that cannot be found anywhere else in Portugal.

This Portuguese region, in interior Alentejo, was the first one to obtain this recognition in the World in the scope of a global effort from UNESCO to identify and protect areas where humankind can still observe the night sky with a very low artificial light influence. In recent years, the Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve has attracted photographers, astronomers and astronomy lovers.

In the 14th and 15th of August 2015, Mourão hosted in its 13th century Castle the 2015 edition of the Starlight Party Alqueva, an annual event where it is possible to discuss the night sky with activities for all ages, lectures, music, astronomical observations and a lot more. Always connected to a single theme: the today's night sky as an even more scarce window to the stars.

During almost half of the past century, Portugal was immersed in a dictatorship, resulting in scars that, 40 years later, are still visible. The basis of the history is very well known worldwide: on 1974, April 24, a decisive military movement put an end to a regimen that began in 1933 by the hand of Salazar (António Oliveira Salazar).

The revolution, that became known as “Revolução dos Cravos” (“Carnation Revolution”) after some soldiers used carnations in the barrel of their guns, is now remembered with a lot of emotion year after year, with 2014 marking a 40th anniversary of the overthrow that was specially emphasized due to the particular difficult economic environment of Portugal. But the stigma that this is mainly a “reddish” party is deeply carved in the society and, in fact, April is still a very strong political tool of the parties on the left wing.

This short film is the exercise of a random and narrationless shooting put together that marks only one main concern to myself: who will be able to nicely tell the 1974 tale in the future? Because I believe that most of the objective details have already been lost through the years. 

This is the film that presents a project not only of friends, but also of a team of photographers who are passionate about the share of their knowledge. During the last six years they have been helping photography lovers in a truly winning challenge called Fotonature (www.foto-nature.com).

Miguel Claro, Luís Afonso and Nuno Luís have been taking this very seriously and today we can say that they conquered the reality of being a reference in Portugal on photography coaching. They provide genuine and absolute addictive photographic experiences.

A film by © Ricardo Salvo Music: "Warm Infinite", © Ricardo Salvo, 2014, licensed to Fotonature, Workshops de Fotografia.

Filming location: Portugal (Serra de Aire e Candeeiros, Minde, Mira de Aire and Olhos de Água).