A Year in Photographs

Every year, I find myself saying the same words all over again:

“This is the year I’ll shoot more often, and be bolder with my photography!”

And, of course, it never really lasts for long. Apart from certain events which absolutely kick me into photojournalism mode, like backpacking through Vietnam or the Wadi Rum, I still find myself shying away from photography, even when I need it the most. But, granted, there are times where I can’t stop the shutter from clicking, especially right after moving between cities or countries. Of course, curiosity plays a huge role in the willingness to frame your life through a camera lens; I’ve often found that my mood can be measured by how much (or how little) I want to shoot.

Montreal has been an interesting place to be in: it’s certainly one of the most photogenic cities in Canada that I’ve seen so far, but it seems to lack a certain life and atmosphere when it comes to street photography. Initially this had put me off—I couldn’t produce any interesting shots in the city, so giving up was the natural thing to do. But like most artists (even wannabes) know best, constraints are something to be embraced and worked with, not avoided and worked against.

So below, are some of the highlights of 2018, which perhaps unsurprisingly by now, have been majorly influenced by a snowy theme ❄.

January began with me leaving Porto from a family visit; and on the very first day of the year, one of my yearly favourite pictures happened in its hidden little streets.

Back to a snowy Montreal.

April saw a few mini trips, here and there, — sadly, many with just cellphone captures. But a trip to Kingston for its half-marathon proved highly meaningful for several reasons—including at least one picture I really liked.

In May I also had a chance to spend a week in Seattle, Washington. I shot quite a bit, but was overall frustrated with the lack of meaning of most photos. This is where I’ve realised I’ve become too ashamed of asking people if I can take their picture.

And, from a personal perspective, getting to know these two cool cats who’d become important characters in my life, was also a highlight from this trip.

For a few days in late May and early June, the skies of Montreal were absolutely unreal. For several evenings, I grabbed my trustworthy bike (“Marleene”) and chased pretty skies like a mad man.

And then Summer began to slowly descend upon us. It was my first Montreal Summer, so I got to see what it was all about — and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I found it just as lively, charming and eventful as the gorgeous Berlin summers were getting me used to.

Below, one of my year favourites. I spent about half an hour waiting for someone to sit on that bench, and couldn’t have asked for someone with a more contemplative mood than this lady right there.

A few days in Toronto, which were just as bitter as they were sweet, left me with many memories of experiences which will stay with me forever. Below, a couple of those events; the first being, of course, an attempt at self-soothing by buying more books.

A few September nights were rough, and I even wrote a very vulnerable piece depicting one of them. The shots, while not stunning by any means, are very meaningful to me mostly due to their slow nature (in shutter speed terms). 12 years of shooting, and it was only then that I realised I use slow shutter speeds when I’m feeling ghost-like.

For a while in early October, I went back to Europe, starting with Portugal. It wasn’t very much photographed — my heart needed more human contact and less seeing life through a lens, which worked out beautifully.

But still, there was time for some interesting captures. Starting with Sintra, of course, eternally epic:

And Porto, the city which saw me grow up with cameras around my waist; it’s no wonder this is the city I fell in love with street photography. It breathes life:

And Porto is… well, it barely needs any words.

Shooting Stella and Liro on a beautiful Autumn afternoon around Montreal was too, without a doubt, a beautiful experience ❤️ especially since I’ve refrained so much from shooting portraits, and people in general, so much this year.

As I write this, near the end of the year in Quebec City, there’s a couple more I’m adding today. This trip was purposefully planned in order to remind myself to shoot more, to feel curious about my surroundings, even if that means risking losing all feeling in my fingers because it’s so bloody cold.

Here’s to a beautiful, hopefully even photogenic, 2019.

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Ricardo Magalhães

I work for the Internet. By day, a front-end web developer with a passion for typography and design. By night, I’m sleeping.