I gaze at the images that Jose Ramos posts. And they are incredible. The colors. The detail. The capture of light.
Some folks ask me — “is photography an art form?”
So instead of explaining the “yes” to the silly question. I am simply going to point them to Jose’s site or his Facebook page. And like many photographers that I have interviewed. Jose has no formal education. He is self-taught with the help of the Internet and his passion for nature and landscape.
LBTL: You are a nature and landscape photographer what was it that attracted you to this type of photography?
JR: I’ve always been extremely passionate about nature. I was born in a small city, surrounded by endless golden plains, adorned with scattered trees, which is a traditional landscape from that region (Alentejo). There’s a strong link between the people from this region and nature, as it is one of the main sources of income for the population.
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I can remember venturing into the fields on my bicycle, when I was quite young, and spending long periods of time gazing at the infinitude of the landscape, in absolute awe. I guess it’s not easy to explain why someone feels so attracted to nature, but I’m one of those people who just needs to be “there” quite often, or the “nature hangover” will quickly kick in! Nature represents our roots, it’s an extension of ourselves (or vice-versa), it’s the ultimate display of harmony and pure beauty, a teacher of precious lessons, a mother, a nurturer, and so much more…
LBTL: What was it? What was your “Ah Ha!” moment? When you decided that photography will be your creative escape?
JR: My “Ah Ha!” moment happened on the day when I decided to experiment with shooting non-snapshot photos, trying to capture the beauty of my surroundings. I decided to post some of those photos on DeviantArt (an online art community), and was amazed with the fact people started commenting on these photos, encouraging me to post more images. The full circle of sharing art was completed, and having the opportunity to show these landscapes, so precious to me, to other people, felt like heaven.
LBTL: Your images are incredibly beautiful. And it’s clear that you have a great deal of mastery over composition and post-processing. But how did you develop those photographic skills?
JR: Thank you for such kind words. The Internet was, without a shade of doubt, my most important “teacher”. I have never been a fan of dense and dull readings, and I already have enough of them in the shape of medical textbooks! Blogs, forums and online communities were by biggest source of learning, which is quite an interactive and smooth way of learning photography, as you are the one who decides what and how you want to learn something.
If I had to choose a single aspect that has really enhanced my photographs, perhaps it was watching hundreds of photos from talented photographers and reading critiques about them, as well as receiving critiques about my own work.
LBTL: Today you live in two worlds — photography and working as a doctor. Do you ever see yourself leaving the psychiatry field and pursuing photography full-time?
JR: I went to the Medical School before I started photographing, so medicine is a passion that came first. I love being a psychiatrist, and the mind/brain subject absolutely fascinates me. Working as a doctor is currently my main source of income, and it will probably continue to be, allowing me to approach photography in a totally free and independent way.
This makes it much easier to preserve artistic integrity and never feel exhausted about going out shooting and having to deliver quality images. Right now these are two areas of my life which complement each other, and I can’t imagine giving up on one of them in the near future.
LBTL: In your opinion, what 3 things, should a young photographer spend their time learning?
JR: Learning basic photography theory, learning your gear and learning about light, which means being out there, searching for the best light and trying to capture it.
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If your passion is photography then pursue it. Regardless of what your primary job is. There is nothing worse than not pursuing a passion because of your day job.