Working out of her hometown of Cascais, a seaside village on the edge of Lisbon, photographer Teresa Freitas is “subtly detaching a subject from reality”. Immediately recognisable thanks to her pastel-tinted hue, Teresa’s portfolio utilises slightly altering colour and exposure to “give a cinematic feel to my personal work, shaping an image of something as a little bit ‘off’,” she tells It’s Nice That.
Teresa’s introduction to the medium has been a gradual one, explaining how she found herself becoming a photographer “a little unintentionally”. Studying multimedia arts at university and later mastering in design and new media, Teresa initially thought she would end up working in graphic design, but kept finding herself standing behind the camera when working on projects. While she never fully attached herself to the medium and didn’t adopt the title of “photographer”, after posting her work on Instagram, she realised this creative calling was a viable career, and keen following steadily grew. “I can call myself a photographer now,” she says. “Photography comes easy… now it’s very clear what I want to be and do for the rest of my life.”
As Tereasa uses photography to document how she sees the world, her photographs feel calm and natural. By housing her work within a selected colour palette – “I’ve always been attracted to tinted colours” – Teresa communicates her personal taste to an audience, but achieving such a consistent aesthetic has only developed with time. After photographing a series, she’ll edit each set of pictures, shifting an original image through “colour (hue, saturation, and lightness), exposure and contrast,” with her delicate touch. Inspiration doesn’t come from specific media or bodies of work, with the photographer keen to point out that creatives “can now be easily inspired by individual pictures,” including everything from Jimmy Marble to Nguan, Studio Ghibli or Josep Font from Delpozo on her eclectic list of influences.
While her colour palette may appear natural, Teresa admits she doesn’t “necessarily look for the pastel things around me,” but instead looks at landscape, “a certain aesthetic in buildings” maybe, and “people, shapes, patterns”. With this documented, she’ll then orchestrate her approach until it just feels right. “I somehow feel and know that it will work afterwards.”
An example of this approach is Teresa’s recent series documenting Budapest’s thermal bathing culture. Visiting Hungary’s capital a while back, it was the architectural feel of the city that piqued her creative interest, more than its community. An unmissable experience while visiting the city is to treat yourself to a thermal bath and Teresa’s choice was the Gellert baths, a natural thermal spa famous with locals and tourists. Unknowingly, Teresa visited the “not-that-hot pool, swam a little and didn’t think much of it,” until, upon leaving, she spotted its hot thermal rooms. She woke at the crack of dawn the following morning and headed back where she “started shooting like crazy”. Fully dressed – it was cold outside but sweatily hot inside the thermal spa, and despite being “extremely uncomfortable”, Teresa’s eye guided her through the silent building, where the only sound was a camera’s shutter noise clicking away.
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