Photojazz Five: Damien C. 11

Photojazz Five (n.) Five questions to and five photos from a street photographer.

Now that we’ve covered the east, the west, and the great white north of North America, let’s move on to Europe. We’ll begin in the ancestral home of the egg tart and a native language that is sort of like Spanish but not Spanish so don’t call it Spanish, Portugal. Where they speak Portuguese. Not Spanish.

And have street photographer Damien C.

Damien actually has his origins in Africa (don’t we all at some level), but a cruel war that claimed the life of many of the people he knew forced his family to immigrate to Portugal where he has lived for the majority of his life. Like me, he is an educator and has been perverting the minds of young children for over a decade.

In one brief statement, define street photography.
Street Photography is mostly about the correlations between humans and the environment. Between humans and other humans and other living creatures. How we function in society, how we stand, how we act, mainly how we act without being aware that we are being seen.

How would you define your artistic style (I.e. What defines your visual ‘uniqueness’)
Having started into photography through other genres, I have suffered the most painful learning curve until I realized there is a difference between documenting and deeply alter what was being captured. I am an aperture freak, I still play with light and that is probably the key element in my photography. You may also find solitude captures my attention the most.

How did you get into street photography?
It’s a vice, it grew on me as if an organism was self-feeding on my will to shoot. I deeply feel I shoot to defy our dying destiny. Life is so fragile and our presence is so ephemeral. I am terrified with the thought of losing my children. I have hundreds of thousands of photos of them, I have broaden my view and expanded my circle of concerns. I have been in a permanent sociological reflection since I was a teen. Photography came like a catharsis 3 years ago. There’s no other genre in parallel with PJ that allows us to freeze forever that natural moment, that body language, that frown, that smile. I am also driven to know what makes people abandon their homes and hit the streets, so I talk to a lot of bums and addicts and take their portraits (a subgenre if you will).

What influences your work (can be anything)?
More than influencing, seeing other people’s brilliant work just makes me want to go out there and shoot. There’s this guy in Taipei who took a shot of someone running from a typhoon which blew me away (link) Then I started browsing and browsing and I went out there and never stopped again.

Who are your top 5 street togs?
There are a few young photographers out there who will be a part of history. You will find them here:

My thanks go out to Damien for agreeing to take part in this interview. You can see more of Damien’s work in both his deviantArt gallery and Flickr photostream or keep up with him on his blog.

About Brian

Brian Q. Webb is a photography enthusiast from Los Angeles, California who spends most of his time in Taipei, Taiwan. He is especially interested in street photography as well as large format portraiture and pinhole photography. He also likes to shoot lifestyle portraiture and occasionally acts as an agent for foreign newspapers wanting event coverage in Taipei. He was also on the staff of deviantArt and is co-founder of PhotoMalaysia, the largest photography community in that country.

  • D.C.

    Thank you very much, Brian.:)

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  • D.C.

    And damned right is not Spanish, don’t do like the FBI who sent portuguese documents to Madrid. O_o ahah

  • Anonymous

    Spanish was my “school second language” and I was very happy that when I visited Macau I could read the street signs… which, of course, were in Portuguese.  😀 

  • Alicja


  • Anonymous

    Yeah I love his stuff… his work has a “solitary” feel to it, which sets it apart from most street photography which is usually “busy”.

  • StamatisGr

    thumbs up for granpa Damien and for the interviewer as well!

  • Anonymous


  • StamatisGr

    maybe when I get back in the end of August :)

  • Simon Wallerstedt

    Great interview and awesome photos. I really like Damien’s work.

  • Lois Cesarano

    wow..amazing !!!