Cape Town Photographer Moises Padre: “I love to prove people wrong, especially the ones that like to assume things.”
“I don’t bound myself to one subject or theme.”
Moisés, can you please introduce yourself and know how did you find a passion for photography? My name is Moisés Padre. I am a passionate self-taught photographer from Angola. I live in the stunningly beautiful Cape Town in South Africa, where I spent my whole life there growing up.
To be honest I had no interest in photography what so ever. I wanted to be a footballer, like everyone else, but that dream quickly faded. I first got interested in photography in the year of 2013. When my father’s cousin came down to Cape Town to spend Christmas and New Years Eve with us. We spent one day at his friends house that had a Sony DSLR camera at that time, it was at that moment which led me to begin Googling anything I could about photography and watching YouTube tutorials on how to become a photographer, I have never looked back.
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it? That would be difficult. I really don’t have my own particular style. I don’t bound myself to one subject or theme. I tend to be quickly jaded when I am attached to shooting one style over and over again. I like to experiment, and you have got to experiment in order to figure out what works.
In your opinion, how has photography changed you as a person or your life? Photography has really had me passionate about this craft, it has consumed me. If I didn’t bump into this craft I really don’t know what I would have done in this life of mine. To readers I would like to say don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself, listen to your gut, and do what you love.
Name 5 things that that do you love most about Cape Town. The mountains, the beaches, great attractions, the food and the eclecticism.
Talk us through how you go about visualizing and taking a shot. Do you plan your images ahead of time? Definitely, I put in a lot of planning and preparation ahead of time. If you are well prepared, the results tend to be much better. You get more out of your time. Before shooting, I always look up other photos from the place I want to shoot. I also prepare via Google Maps. And I also keep an eye on the weather. So all of the images that went to my Instagram involved a lot of preparation.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of feel do you try and create in your photos? What are your favorite subject matters? It really varies on the subject matter I am shooting, but I would say across the board it is a mood or a feeling. If it’s a cityscape photo or a street shot or a portrait of a model, the end goal is to translate a feeling or vision.
How do you choose which images you ultimately provide to your viewers? With regards to this matter I feel that content is key when I choose which images I provide to my viewers. I always try and share my greatest work which will improve my confidence, I also try and create a theme around my work and improve my consistency. Not only that, but it helps me to retain my following and attract new followers in the process.
You have mentioned you are “interested in missioning in the unknown are places where people say it’s very dangerous.” What drives you to do so? Tell us about the risks you have come across while shooting. Any interesting story to share? I love to prove people wrong, especially the ones that like to assume things. To assume is to limit the mind to one way of viewing, when by nature our perceptions should be infinite.
Shooting at places like abandoned buildings, missioning at night at different railway stations, climbing rooftops etc., there is a message that I trying to induce. The inspiration for shooting at these locations is to try and make them look as appealing as possible, is to induce that in life things can always be substandard, and you have to value what you have. One day, things will tumble aside and go away. Me shooting these locations, I am trying to maintain something beautiful in something that’s gone imperfect.
Sometimes there is a level of risk in what I am doing. Maybe I’ll run into the middle of the street and potentially get hit by a car if I didn’t move half a second quicker. Or evens nearly failing off a rooftop due to strong winds. Whatever the case may be if there’s something I want to capture, I’m going to make sure I put myself in that position to do so by any means.
Are there any (one) places in Cape Town that particularly inspires you and how does this feed into your photographs? The place that inspires me most is the Cape Town railway station. I always take train as a means of transportation its part of my daily routine. I love the spaces in the Cape Town railway station when there is no one else is around – the architecture and space fascinates me. The Cape Town railway station has small tunnels and great escalators to photograph, I really appreciate it in an artistic sense.
What from your point of view makes the shot successful? What do you think makes a memorable photograph? Not all photographs are identical in memory. Some stick in our minds while others are rapidly forgotten. There are a few elements that can almost assure a memorable photo, and they all boil down to one thing, which is emotion. Memorable photos come from perspectives that we are not used to seeing in our everyday lives. In my opinion a good photographer can make any scene memorable, whether it’s pupils, wildlife, or landscapes. Just be on the lookout for unique perspectives, because unique perspectives are the foundation for unique photographs, and unique photographs are the ones that people are going to recall.
What is your favorite image that you have shot? Tell us a bit more about it. It was one evening where me and two friends who also are photographers went on a night mission to capture the Cape Town train station and its surrounds. I went to one platform and stood in the middle, between two trains whilst light was beaming down at that moment I captured it. I love symmetry since that day I started shooting it became natural to seek out symmetry. Whether its product, cityscape or landscape, I try to make symmetry in my photos.
When you take a photo, how do you live this moment? How do you feel? Brilliant question right there. Being a photographer sometime means you have to surrender the present for the future. Missing out on living the moment to create something you’ll look at later on to remember that instant that never really was.
Maybe not everything should be a picture and we should all draw a line at some point and put our phones and cameras down and start looking with our eyes and hearts. Maybe, just maybe, we should ask ourselves: “If nobody would ever see this picture, would I still take it? We all need to stop focusing so much on capturing the moment and just enjoy it for once instead. Be present. Live in it. Snap a picture to take you back to it in your mind, and let that memory be of how fully you experienced that event at the time, with all your senses.
You must often find yourself in remote or challenging locations. What would we typically find in your camera and equipment kit? iPhone. So I can take some shots with my phone and post some Instagram stories to keep my audience updated on where I’m currently shooting.
Smoke bombs. I can’t get enough of the dazzling and daring streaks of color when I release these. A disc creates some lens flare when I use it with my camera it’s useful for portraiture.
Another pair of sneakers. Depends where I’ll end up but some sneakers don’t go well with all locations especially roof topping you’re going to need some grip.
Photographer’s Rights Manuel. In case I get confronted for taking photos.
What are your thoughts about Photoshop and how important it is in your final images? Are there specific techniques that are always a part of your workflow? Photoshop has endless possibilities. Photoshop means that you are not limited by anything other than your own imagination and creativity. Anything you can think of, you can create with Photoshop. I usually make use of Photoshop if I would like to add subjects to my photos like for example adding a little aero plane in between a building shot. So Photoshop to me is a way of expressing myself through my work and a way of making my mark on the digital world.
How do you approaching a person to shoot on location, how do you set about it? Do you chat and explain what you’re doing? It depends. It’s hard to blend in with the crowd, and you just got to face facts that people are going to look at you whether I’m shooting street or urban where I need a person as subject it can come out phony if I don’t embody myself and live the lifestyle that I’m trying to shoot. So what I do is approach a person as a friend, approach them as someone interested by getting to know them and then from there once they feel comfortable to be themselves, I’ll take a step back and capture the moment when I see it and not just go with the intent of capitalizing on their culture without genuinely understanding it.
Is there anywhere in the world you are fascinated about and you would like to become a location for a shoot? Definitely the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan. I would like to visit the radioactive ghost towns and abandoned toxic towns and villages that once housed hundreds of thousands of people.
For first time visitors to Cape Town do you have any tips and advice, or some must visit photo spots? Cape Town is home to some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery and iconic locations. For first time visitors, there’s a multitude of hot spots to inspire a lifetime of photography. In no particular order, here are my photo opportunities in the Cape Town area for first time visitors:
Table mountain, the penguins at boulders beach, Bo-Kaap, St. James beach huts, Lions Head and Signal hill, The Company’s Garden, Chapman’s Peak drive, Cape Point, West Coast Flower route, and the Cape Winelands.
If you had unlimited resources, who or what would you shoot? Are there any photography genres you would like to experiment with more? Probably creating stunning nude portraits of beautiful women. I feel that the female body is lit meticulously, the subject is elegantly exposed, and the overall photograph is just captivating. There’s beauty in everything, just not everybody sees it.
You have a lot of followers on social media. What is the secret to your success? Use relevant hashtags. Find and deploy 30 hashtags that are specific to your niche. I would recommend using the hashtags of accounts you want to be featured by, rather than broad hashtags, and be sure to change them up regularly.
Get featured. Another great way to get a lot of followers is to get your work noticed by reaching out directly to accounts, blogs and magazines by sending them your content. They may have the potential to share your work to a much larger audience!
Where can our readers keep up with you and see more examples of your work?). For now I’m sharing my pictures on Instagram under my handle @moises_jnr although I am currently working on developing my website so that pupils can keep up with more of my work and for those interested in purchasing prints.
What tips do you have for others who want to do the same? Any words of wisdom for photography enthusiasts at the beginning of their journey? You need persistence, dedication, and passion to deal with challenges and bulls**t that will otherwise break you. I think the most important thing when trying to survive in this oversaturated market of photography is to shoot for something that’s bigger than yourself. Shoot photos that are timeless. Shoot your story so that thousands of people can relate to it, not just a niche group. Photography is about sacrificing and being completely self-aware to tell other people’s stories through your vision. A lot of people get too caught up in their own story.
Please share your mantra. Work hard, dream big. You never get anywhere without hard work. I have learned this lesson time and time again whenever I try to take the easy or lazy route. Sure, there are shortcuts out there, but it’s only through hard work and determination that I’m ever able to reach my goals.
What superpower you wish you had and why? Time travel. I know every person wants to change their past for some or other reason and eager to know what will happen in future after they die. So being able to travel in past means you would never regrets for doing any mistakes because you would have a second chance.
One thing that bugs you about humans is that…? One thing that bugs me… humans who are arrogant. Arrogant people are constantly hurting the ego of others by causing them to feel inferior. Also, due to the feeling of their superiority they think that only their ideas are valuable and tend to dismiss everyone else’s points of view, so working with an arrogant person requires either tremendous patience or lack of independent thinking whatsoever.
Please tell one surprising fact about yourself. Hahahahah I feel like laughing but one surprising fact about me is that I can’t swim, I’m actually afraid of water.