July 29, 2015

Portuguese artist Teresa Freitas’ dreamlike images have been casting quite a spell on our Instagram feeds lately. Using photography and digital manipulation to play with ideas of identity, self and consciousness, her regular flow of bewitching photographs seems to invites you into a universe that is touched by magic; a place where the unexpected and the beautiful run freely together.

UO: Hey Teresa! What’s your story so far- How did you first get into art and then how have you become an artist?

Teresa: I’ve grown up surrounded with art. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a big collector of Portuguese art, and I lived in his house for more than a half of my life. Art was everywhere.

I have a big family that has always appreciated the artistic sense of things and the beauty and richness that art brings into our lives. My father, who used to be known around campus for ‘the guy with the camera on his neck’, has been a huge influence on me and on my passion for photography.

As soon as I went to college in Lisbon’s Faculty of Fine Arts I started to develop a different sensitivity for what surrounded me. I was able to explore many different sides of art and design, but conceptual and portrait photography was what struck me the most.

UO: What ideas are you most excited about spreading?

Teresa: I am always excited in sharing my visual experiments and seeing the different interpretations that people give to an image. There is no idea in particular, just my exploring adventures in the visual field of life.

UO: How would you describe your medium? Do you think of yourself as a photographer or a digital artist, or something else?

Teresa: My work, with some exceptions, has both photography and composition, when I digitally add or remove elements from the image itself. I’ve been called many things, from ‘composite artist’ to ‘visual designer’, but I believe I don’t need to be defined as just one thing, although photography as art is my number one interest. My intention in photography is aesthetic, rather than scientific, commercial or journalistic.

UO:Your work seems to have a real dream-like quality. Are you an avid dreamer?

Teresa: Dreaming is my part-time job. I dream of an image and then I photograph my dream. It’s not lucid or defined, just a loose thought that serves as the starting point of the creation process of the image. I most never know how an image is going to turn out.

UO: You also obscure faces a lot. Is there symbolism in this act?

Teresa: I have always been interested in questioning the identity of self. I really like subverting the idea of the traditional portrait, challenging that interpretation into becoming something else, without losing the essence of the person being photographed.

UO: Which artists do you look up to?

Teresa: Ouch – that’s a hard one. The first that come to mind are: Brassaï, Gregory Crewdson, René Maltête and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

UO: What’s inspiring you outside of art at the moment?

Teresa: The sea; the cosmos; fashion editorials… and food.

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