By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Professional photographer Sherolin Santos recently spoke with The Rio Times in depth about how she learned her craft, her international travels and career, as well as tips for those interested in photography in Rio. Based in Rio de Janeiro since 2010, Santos was born in Curitiba in the Brazilian state of Paraná. It was there that her love of photography began to develop early in her life.
“I believe photography was the only thing I ever felt good at doing, but it took me a while to realize that I could turn my passion into an actual job,” Santos explained. “I have memories of being 9 or 10 years old and my mom lending me a film camera. I can remember giving her directions, already at that age, on where to go, or what to do.”
Santos later went on to study in Australia, earning her degree there from the University of Technology in Sydney. After graduation, she began to apply the techniques she learned and combined them with her interest in and love of people, to become a portrait photographer.
“I think living overseas and studying in Australia made me realize that I could do or be anything I wanted to be, as long as I put my mind to it, but I believe I learned that more from the cultures Australia and New Zealand, rather than from a teacher at the University.”
When asked for her advice for those with budding interests in photography, in addition to suggesting joining Facebook photography groups and sharing experiences and receiving feedback from fellow photographers, Santos said, “Shoot for your life, shoot everything you can, take all kinds of jobs you can get before you lock yourself into one style, or one kind of photography. People love to label you as a ‘fashion, landscape, wedding or whatever photographer’ but the truth is, until you try everything, you will never know where your heart is. So, go out and shoot as much as you can!”
Santos successfully built and practiced her career as a portrait photographer in both Australia and New Zealand for over ten years before returning to Brazil and moving to Rio de Janeiro a little over fours years ago.
“I came in 2010 to visit a friend who lived here, stayed for five days and that was it! I fell in love with everything, the beaches, the landscape, but more importantly the lifestyle,” Santos said explaining her move to the city.
“I couldn’t believe that in Rio there was an Art School in the middle of a forest,” said Santos referring to the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage (School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage) located in the Rio neighborhood of Jardim Botânico. “I did a course on ‘Art Lighting: Iluminação para a arte’, at Parque Lage, where they run many other courses, including more specific ones in photography,” Santos stated when describing workshops and courses she participated in since moving to the city.
“I also studied lighting for cinema and TV in the Direção de Fotografia at the Academia Internacional de Cinema e TV (AICTV). Additionally, I took some acting courses at CAL [Casa de Artes Laranjeiras Oficina de Formação Teatral Ltda] in Laranjeiras. Some people didn’t understand why I did it, but I think it helps develop a better communication with your subject.”
In terms of photo shoot locations around Rio, outside of her studio, Santos said, “I don’t have a favorite spot, it really depends on what or whom I am shooting. But you can’t go wrong shooting outdoors at Santa Teresa, downtown or in Lapa, where the texture of the older buildings make any photo look amazing. […] The beach is also great,” she added, “especially during winter when you have just a little bit of white clouds to defuse the light a bit. It’s my favorite light!”
In terms of portrait photography, Santos explained that she always finds the good sides of her subjects. “When I make a portrait of someone, I take my time to get to know them first, and then I start thinking about how I will portray that in my photo,” she continued. “I always make the subjects feel comfortable and safe and I try to build throughout the shoot. It’s a relationship of trust so I can get the shot that I want, and they feel confident they can deliver it.”
Those interested in booking photo shoots with Santos can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her by phone at +55 (21) 3486-2560 or +55 (21) 98122-7797. For additional information, and to view more of her work, see her website: www.sherolinsantos.com.