For the 3rd day of the Porto Photography Experience, we change gears and go on a tour to discover Guimarães, “the cradle of Portugal”.
A change of views
Day 3 started just like the previous two days: the hotel breakfast, the models arriving for hair and makeup… but suddenly it dawned on us that this would be the last guided tour day of the Porto Photography Experience. And while the previous two days had been packed full, it was also sad that it seemed to be over so quickly!
Anyway – before we got all nostalgic, we still had the full day in front of us, so we went down to meet our guides for the day, the wonderful Andreana and Guilherme from Tupan Tours.
A short Tupan-mobile ride later and we arrived in Guimarães, the city known as the cradle of Portugal – it was from this place in the North of Portugal that D. Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal, started a campaign to establish his country back in the 12th century.
The day was once again going to be jam packed with model shooting and places to discover, but first things first: coffee and cakes, together with the daily ritual of sharing social media names with the models. As had become a habit, no table was complete without cameras and mobile phones!
Ladies and Gentlemen, start your cameras…
First shooting location was inside the Plataforma das Artes e Criatividade – and our huge “thank you” to the lovely people at the Guimarães town hall for allowing us access to this amazing building. The architecture inside is clean, with beautiful natural lighting, and simple straight lines throughout – it made for the most amazing setting as a huge contrast to the other backdrops we had been shooting in.
Our models for the day, Filipa and Iana were dressed in casual clothing to match the set, and with so many fantastic places to shoot inside and out of this building, it wasn’t long before the now familiar shutter soundtrack made itself heard again.
There were gorgeous little spaces and pockets of natural light to play with throughout the morning, and one group even managed to find some polystyrene boards behind the building, which were rescued from an early recycling fate and repurposed as reflectors for use during the rest of the day!
Lunch time – already?
And because once again time flies when you’re having fun, suddenly it was lunch time, and the game of chasing the light through the building gave way to having lunch in one of the old squares in the centre of of Guimarães. Sunday is church going day in Portugal, with many people still dressing in their finest to go out and dine after mass. It was a lovely witnessing this family ritual whilst sitting back, relaxing and having a traditional “bacalhau” (codfish) lunch.
The old town streets
The afternoon started with a short walk to help the copious amounts of food settle down, and we found our next location in the old leather tanning ruins of the city. Old streets intermingled at that area, allowing the groups to once again split and share their photography knowledge with different people. The groups explored the streets, old gates, doorways, sun spots and even used other tourists in the area as impromptu models.
Another quick styling change, and once more Iana and Filipa were just killing it as they walked, sassed, and worked with each photographer as if they had been shooting with them for their entire lives.
As the day’s shooting came to a close and we walked back to the bus, it was obvious that everyone had a ton of images – and a huge part of them were just stunning. The streets of Guimarães had been kind and provided the inspiration, and in return everyone’s images portrayed the story the streets had told them.
The last supper… or is it?
The Tupan bus dropped us off at the hotel for a quick freshen up, and away we went for the last dinner at a traditional “Fado” restaurant. Fado is the Portuguese urban popular song, and since 2011 it is also part of the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Being such a traditional portuguese event, we wanted to include it in the Porto Photography Experience itinerary. But just as with the previous day’s photowalk, we quickly realised this might need rethinking: Fado is something you’re expected to attend in complete silence… which perhaps would have been easier if this wasn’t a group of photographers who had shared these wonderful four days together.
Still it didn’t stop us talking and sharing – respectfully, between songs – or prevent a competition for getting the best expression from the guitar player get underway. A competition we think John won hands down.
And once again, after dinner, a quick transfer to the hotel, a final glass of Port with the whole group, and the first goodbyes as John, Susanne and Alex would be leaving soon…
Day 4, the “free” day, came too quick. By then it was very clear that there would have to be a next time – and indeed we are planning it already. It was amazing to meet everyone, learn from them – learn with them – and in general share this amazing experience.
Up until this experience I hadn’t realised how much time we spend on our own in the world of photography – and how far you can grow when you have like minded people with you on your journey. Some of the lessons here will stay with me through my journey – and the friendships made certainly will. – Anna Gunn
It was a true pleasure to host this event. To be able to get so many wonderful people to come and share it was mindblowing – definitely the biggest highlight of our year so far.
And now that the shutters have gone quiet and their soundtrack is just a memory, we thank you all for taking us up on our challenge. Thank you for making the first Porto Photography Experience a truly special event:
, and a very special thanks to Susanne McAllister for being a wonderful assistant to everyone!
So what’s next for the PPE?
Watch this space… 😉