Photographer Rafael Paixão mixes subtle tones with lush landscapes, organic fashion, and sultry portraiture, all without any feeling of overdoing it, or trying too hard. It seems his genuine approach stems from his roots in Sao Paulo Brazil, a country filled with infinitely varying aesthetics and rich inspiration. I especially love his cinematic approach, with whimsical settings but a very grounded and down to earth feel.
I had the chance to ask Rafael, a lover of photography and music, a few questions and find out what influences him. His answers were pleasantly surprising!
Elias Visuals – Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you got into photography…
Rafael Paixão – I’m a guy from the suburbs in Sao Paulo – Brazil, that bought a camera and started to make memories from his daily experiences.
With all the open fields that the internet brought to us, I was able to post photos over the years on my social networks. From there, people started contacting me for fashion shoots. I’m still on my way towards accepting this, ’cause even with a lot of work, I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a “photographer.”
How do you feel your geographic location has influenced the work you make?
RP – I was born and raised in a tropical country with a huge amount of botanical life, and beautiful beaches. In other ways, we have a lot of different [visual] scenarios because of the economy and social differences. It can be a sad thing, but experiencing that makes you see things differently. I try to show things as they are and the beauty behind everything, even when if it’s not good at all.
Your work has a wonderfully sublime, silvery tone to it… Where does that style come from?
RP – Hell yeah! I really appreciate when people notice this, because my post-production is all about it. I’ve never liked colored things, you know, and I started to explore white, grey, and black tones to create a mood for my photos.
What has given you the most inspiration in your work?
RP – There’s a phrase I heard one day and I’ve used it as a motto for creativity since then. “To create something new or different, you should start bringing things from the outside, something far from what you’re doing…” So when I’m asked about my inspiration, I always talk about the places I’ve been, the lines, music and things I like that bring me ideas to express what I’m seeing through the lenses.
Describe your dream photo shoot, and why would you choose it?
RP – I work a lot with fashion and advertising, but my heart goes with my landscape photos. More than that, I’m waiting on an email from Alexander Gerst telling me that I can borrow his place for like, 2 weeks, in the Soyuz capsule, to make a few photos from space, LOL.
What’s your essential pack of gear? What do you take with you every day?
RP – I work with a Nikon D610 with 35mm lenses and that’s it… but I’m going to buy 3 more lenses to explore new things.
Favorite photo in the world, ever?
RP – Obviously the Hubble images of the universe. They forever blow my mind. But OK, I really love the work from Sebastiao Salgado and Reuben Wu.
What scares you the most about creativity? (creating photos, music, etc…)
RP – Music without a doubt! I always get stuck when I’m writing lyrics… it’s difficult to express my feelings and be totally sincere through words that other people can hear and read. There’s a lot of me in my music, so I’m trying to express everything, but at the same time I’m trying to stay comfortable and not show my deepest thoughts to everyone.
What’s your ideal mindset for creating things?
RP – My ideal mindset is not being hungry… I’m from a tropical country, you know, and our food doesn’t satisfy a 6’2″ guy like me for a long time, LOL.
There is no right mood for me to create, ’cause for me, we can create things from every mood and that’s what I’m trying to show when I’m writing a new song, shooting some photos and designing new things.
Make sure to view more of Rafael’s work at UrbanFlavored.com, Instagram, and SoundCloud.