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Jean B: Minha Portugal in Mono

In case you were lucky enough to have missed it, here’s a snapshot of Montreal’s winter of 2015: we scraped, we shovelled, we slipped and slid and braved the iciest February since 1889. In early March, fed up with trudging through the urban tundra, Rita and I jumped over to Portugal for a week of relaxed walks, rest and photography. We landed in Lisbon, a city steeped in old-world charm, storied avenues and establishments and, graças a Deus, a culture of street life that is second to none. 

 

My M9 captured the aesthetic kitsch and brilliant colour, while the Monochrom performed flawlessly in the narrow alleys and at night, recording texture and shadow in its own, inimitable manner. I routinely cranked the ISO up to 3200, reaping the benefits of extremely high-quality digital files where, previously, I would have had a grainy collection of souvenir snaps. Lisbon and Porto are cities built to a human scale with plenty of public places where citizens gather to socialize. Locations serve as backdrops for the theatre of life and I found myself returning to previously visited spots, occasionally photographing the same characters at different times and from different perspectives. Portuguese street photography is about the Decisive Moment as seen from a myriad of angles! 

 

Musicians, cafés infused with character and filled with characters, old women with chiseled faces hanging out the laundry, handsome and pretty young people who, despite economic hardship, remain enthusiastic about their country and find joy in small moments; these are parts and parcels of the Portuguese panoply that make us determined to return. 

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