How I End up in Photography?
Hi! My name is Paulo Félix, and I have been working with 3D for some years in different sectors, such as advertising, architecture, games, and VR and AR experiences. Today I work specifically with technological innovation for the industry here in Brazil, and, in parallel, I have my nomadic photography studio, focused on artistic and ecological photography. I have graduated in Illustration and 3D Digital Animation and recently specializing and end up in Photography, Digital Media, and Arts, where my passion lies.
How was your University time?
Well, that question is a little complicated to answer. I am in the fourth university today. Some courses I completed, others not. Although my background today is all in the arts, my first course was in Computer Science, where I tried to venture into the command lines. It was my first graduation, in a large class, with great teachers and colleagues, but it took me a while to realize that it wasn’t what I really wanted.
In that same graduation, in a week of technology workshops, I discovered 3D. After having participated in one of these mini-classes, I went looking for computer graphics degrees here in my state, Rio de Janeiro. Luckily, that year, one university had created the first graduation in Illustration and 3D Animation here in Brazil, and it was located 4 hours from my hometown. There I had the best experience at a university in my academic life. I met incredible people, both teachers and students (with who I still have contact today), and it was from there that I started to develop and evolve in my professional life (within the 3D world). I graduated in 2008, and in 2010 I tried a specialization in arts for digital games. My undergraduate class also took this specialization (which was also a new specialization here in the country).
Curious that I spent more than 10 years working with something that I thought was what I really wanted (computer graphics for games and advertising), but I hadn’t noticed something that has been with me since 2004, photography. In 2017 I started a process that still leaves me unsure today, a change of profession, but without erasing all the background acquired so far. Photography is also art, and art is something I have always done. In 2019 I started my own company (my second attempt at entrepreneurship). In 2020, I started my specialization in Photography, Digital Media, and Arts at a University in São Paulo. A distance course, where I don’t have as much contact with teachers and students as in a face-to-face course, has added a lot of theoretical knowledge.
Today I see many photographers, with thousands of followers, advising not to go to college because they learned everything on the “battlefield,” photographing and videos from youtube. I do not deny that it is possible to evolve technically without help from a close tutor. But attending this last college, I realize how much I lacked theoretical knowledge to understand the genius of so many photographers who made history, in addition to the history of the advent of photography.
Why did you choose a career in this field?
Since childhood, I was always sure I wanted to work with something imagery (drawing, animation, illustration …), but the photograph was where I found myself satisfied. When I studied programming, I was a little frustrated because it took a long time to visualize what I was doing. In 3D, it was not much different. There are many processes before seeing your character or scenery 100% rendered and functional. In photography, I have visual feedback at all times, from conceptualization to the setting of scenes, and this visual response always keeps me excited and more concerned with creativity. One thing that was a very strong point in my change of profession was the question of my “office” always changing. As I do normally work outdoors and in the middle of nature, I am in a different environment in each session.
What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?
My first paid job, really relevant to my career, was in 2010, in Lisbon’s advertising studio. There I had contact with many areas that helped me develop in many ways. 3D, photography, image editing, concept art, illustration, animation. It was a great laboratory that helped me glimpse many areas that I was already passionate about and try each one.
How did you prepare for the interview?
At the time, I was still living in my hometown. I took a trip of almost 5 hours just for this interview. I was confident that I had dedicated myself to studying many subjects related to animation production that year. I had also participated in a production of an animation that won many awards at the time, and I was counting on it to get the interviewers’ attention, and in fact, it did.
Can you provide some book recommendations?
Today I am a photographer, but before I am and I will always be an artist. So, as an artist, I recommend this book that always accompanied me, “Anatomy for the Artist,” by Sarah Simblet. As a photographer, I indicate “Genesis,” by Sebastião Salgado; “Filosofia da Caixa Preta,” by Vilém Flusser; and “L’adieu au Corps,” by David Le Breton, which are great books to understand the photographer’s vision and also to understand the role of photography, images, and the human being today.
Things are changing very fast in the industry; how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletters, podcasts, events, etc.
In fact, things are changing very quickly. Both techniques and equipment are changing at extremely high speeds. I follow a few pages to stay informed about new technologies, equipment, and techniques, and I usually access them almost every day. Here in Brazil, there are not many events within the areas of interest, but I try to keep an eye on international events with online broadcasts to catch some news.
Of the pages I usually access most often I can quote:
Any advice about CVs?
For the artist, your curriculum is your portfolio. So keep your page up to date and, mainly, showing what you would really like to do. I think this is the most important tip, target your portfolio well so that it is coherent and shows what you know how to do best. As much as here in Brazil, the culture is “do a little of everything,” the contractor may end up not understanding what to hire you for. So be direct with what you do best and show it to the world.
Advice for someone looking for a job?
Always update yourself! Don’t stop in time because it can be cruel. The technology is advancing to reach several segments, including our workflows, and you need to be up to date.
Why do you think you were selected among other candidates?
Probably because of my versatility. Here in Brazil, it is common for professionals to be generalists. If I’m going to list the amount of things I’ve done in animation or photographic productions, I think I would need a lot more space. haha
This, on the one hand, is bad because the professional cannot specialize in something, but because he is versatile, he will always get a job, even if it is small. I have done today to go against that culture and move towards a specialization in what I want to embrace for the rest of my life, artistic photography. At that time, I was lucky to have material ready to present, in this case, the animation, and while they were watching, I was pointing and explaining the parts I helped produce.
Lessons from jobs that you couldn’t get.
I could not achieve part of the work due to some problems that I have already mentioned here—outdated information about the labor market or technologies and a very generic portfolio. I remember losing some jobs precisely for those two points. But these ups and downs have guided me to what I really love to do. I am sure that if I had picked up some of the great jobs I tried (or escaped), I would be unhappy with my office chair and my computer screen 8 hours a day.
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Also read How I Became 3D Artist & Art Director