© Eduardo Gageiro, 1969, Bairro Alto, Lisbon, Portugal

"Even a blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun." (Fink)

Art: Helena Almeida, Photo: L. Castro Caldas / P. Cintra, 1981, Saída Negra

This picture is part of the exhibition Infinite tasks. When art and book unbind each other - on view at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon / Portugal.

Exhibition dates:
July 20 - October 21, 2012 

The exhibition not only features books but also works of art in which the book plays a crucial role – paintings, films, sculptures or installations – in a setting that brings together illuminated medieval books and contemporary works of art. (read more)

The Portuguese artist Helena Almeida is a riddle of contradictions. She is not a photographer, yet the vast majority of her work is in black-and-white photography. She emerged on to the Portuguese art scene in the early 1960s after having studied painting at the University of Fine Art in Lisbon. Like many of her contemporaries, Almeida was inspired by the neo-concrete movement gathering momentum in Brazil under the charismatic leadership of Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. (read more)

» find more exhibitions here «


A few days ago I was writing about how hard it was to find a black & white photobook by a Portuguese photographer in Lisbon (read the whole story here: A Short Lisbon Story).

On my last day in Portugal I checked the recommended Gulbenkian bookshop, and voilà: There it was! So pure, so clean, so black, and white: Gérard Castello-Lopes book “Apparitions”.

Thanks to shop assistant Miguel (who’s brother studies music in Vienna btw; saxophone and cello) for giving me a student discount on this wonderful book (and he was right: I’ll never stop being a student of life). If you should read this: Thanks for your help (calling a friend to ask for other bookshops, searching for other books etc.) and I hope your cold is better now!

PHOTOS: © Gérard Castello-Lopes

» read all of my Portugal stories here «  |  » find more photobooks here «


In my post A Short Lisbon Story I mentioned that there are great ways to learn more about the country you’re visiting, and one of them is: Couchsurfing (though their new terms of service are more than ridiculous).

Before I went to Portugal I contacted several CouchSurfers. I hoped to meet people with similar interests, people who can show me things I wouldn’t find as a “normal tourist” - and my hopes weren’t deceived:

My lady and I met with CouchSurfer Margarida, a very warm-hearted & talented illustrator/writer and art educator, on our second day in Lisbon. She gave us soooo many great tips what to (and what not to) see in Portugal. Some of them are still “unchecked”, but it’s great to know that there are so many more things to see next time I travel to Portugal. Thanks again, Margarida!

We met at her friend’s café and bakery, O Pão Nosso (right next to the Jardim da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian). If you should ever go there: try the home made strawberry-champagne jam, it’s amazing! You can also browse through and buy Margarida’s wonderful books there (e.g. ‘Eva’; watch an animated short here, more info about the book here).

Another great thing I experienced on my second visit (something that would NEVER happen in Austria): the saleslady said that I can come back after visiting the Gulbenkian museum and pay later if I’d like to. That’s what I call faith! Ok, we’re talking about 5 to 6 bucks here, but anyways, I was quite impressed. I never thought I look that trustworthy.

In the next post I’m going to write about an exhibition at the Gulbenkian museum, so if you plan to go there say hello to Miguel & the guys at O Pão Nosso!

ALL IMAGES: © Gérard Castello-Lopes

» read all of my Portugal stories here «  |  » find more photobooks here «

S.P.N., 1934, 'Portugal 1934', Lisbon

Official propaganda book for the Estado Novo, the regime inaugurated by Salazar in 1933. Edited by S.P.N. (Secretariado Nacional de Propaganda). Fully ilustrated with almost 200 photographs. This large format edition was published with three different covers (orange, green and black). The book includes several half-size pages, full double-pages bleeds and fold-outs.

» find more photobooks here «


On my travels I usually try to find some local “delicacies” such as books (especially photography books), vinyl, traditional food and similar. I scan every flea market, bookshop or vintage shop I can find, I wander through alley after alley - one eye for good photo opportunities & the other eye for the things mentioned above.


In Lisbon I tried to find an old street photography book about Portugal, ideally shot by a Portuguese photographer. I think that’s one of the great ways to learn more about the country you’re visiting, things that no tourist guide could possibly tell you. Another great way is contacting e.g. local CouchSurfers, but I’ll get to that in another post

IMAGE ABOVE: © Eduardo Gageiro, ca. 1950s, Fábrica de Sacavém, Portugal

Gageiro became interested in photography at a very early age whilst working at the Fábrica (de Loiça) de Sacavém (find more beautiful pictures of this factory here).
He began in photojournalism working for Vida Ribatejana, before going on to join O Século (a Portuguese daily newspaper) in 1957. He produced several photobooks, often in collaboration with important Portuguese writers. (+)


  © Eduardo Gageiro, 1966, Feira de Ladra, Lisbon


First I tried my luck at the biggest flea market in Lisbon, Feira de Ladra. Me and my lady also stumbled across this other flea market in a small park, Jardim do Principe Real. What I found there (amongst other beautiful things) was this fantastic book by German photographer Bettina Secker called August - Ein Leben auf dem Lande" (more about that book here and here).

Not quite what I was looking for, but sometimes you just have to take what comes your way, right :) and I tell you: this book is wonderful, nearly as gorgeous as the dress my lady bought there! A stunning piece of cloth that makes her look like an African princess, I love it!

Ok, long story short: I couldn’t find the desired book anywhere in town.


Near Jardim do Principe Real I talked to a very friendly guy who was working at his mother’s “livraria” (= bookshop, located in Rua Dom Pedro V). He was the first to ever introduce me to Portuguese photographer Eduardo Gageiro.


  © Eduardo Gageiro, 1968, Igreja de Moscavide”


Too bad that Gageiro’s books were sold out (just like all the other Portuguese photography books), but they had a great collection of amazing books by Elliott Erwitt, David Goldblatt, Edward J. Steichen, Man RaySebastião Salgado and so many more - but most of them would have been much to big and heavy to carry back home in my rucksack. Salgado’s “Africa” for example weighs more than 7 pounds… damn rationality.

As this guy was so friendly and took his time (he also called his mother twice to get more information for me) I felt I just have to buy at least one book there (ok, I also wanted to have one, it wasn’t pure selflessness):

"Muito Sol" by Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Light-weighted, but full of “heavy” b&w classics. My back and my eyes said "thanks"


I’m losing the thread again. OK: the guy (I forgot his name, sorry for that) told me I should check the bookshop in the Gulbenkian museum which I did - this is were I finally found the desired book on my last day in Portugal, but that’s another story… Before I forget: the guy’s mother is also a photographer. You can find her work on her blog and on Flickr.

If you plan to visit this bookshop: in the back there’s a cosy café with a peaceful, quiet garden, a perfect place to relax after walking through the exciting streets of Lisbon. The self-made lemonades are really refreshing, you have to try them! You can also climb on a wooden high seat to see the city from above, or just sit in the grass and watch blackbirds catch some worms. I’m sure you’d like it there!

» read all of my Portugal stories here «

FROM LISBON TO PORTO (at least that was the plan):

Próxima parada / next stop: Foz do Arelho, Portugal

After a few amazing days in Lisbon, some unforgettable hours at the Costa da Caparica, a great day in Cascais, a refreshing afternoon in the forest of Sintra and a kind of diversified day & night in Peniche, my lady and I spent four nights in Foz do Arelho (near Caldas da Rainha). We had such a wonderful, relaxing time there, we loved it!

Our initial plan was to travel from Lisbon to Porto in a week and spend each day and night in another village - but this turned out to be impossible. Why? Because it would have been “self-flagellation” to rush from one point to another without taking time to sit back, relax & enjoy. Apart from that we also wanted to recharge our batteries in Portugal - the last couple of months weren’t easy on both of us (in first world terms).

And as there are soooo many beautiful places, villages, beaches, forests and more, we realized that it would take us months, years, or maybe a lifetime to see all the things we would like to see (that’s when our idea to move to Portugal took form, but that’s another story).

After our first night in Foz do Arelho we decided to stay a second night - in the end we stayed there for four nights until we had to go back to Lisbon to return the rental car. The place just didn’t let us go. The manager of the apartment had to smile every time we said: "We stay one more night."

One of the great things there: you can choose between swimming in the lagoon and fighting with the big waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

If you should ever travel to Portugal this little village is really worth a visit - located only 90 km north of Lisbon it’s a “haven of well-being”.

It was also the perfect spot to sort all the experiences we’ve collected in the last days; a place where stress seems to be nothing more than a word in a dictionary, unlike "tranquilo", which is more like an attitude towards life in Foz do Arelho (and in so many other places in Portugal) - I can’t wait to go there again!

We lived in the beautiful building on the left (see photo #2). The charming apartment house is now called Casa do Miguel (or how I like to call it: Hotel International - some kind of an in-joke).

Lúcio, the manager, is such a wonderful, funny person! If you go there he will make your stay even more pleasant. My tip: don’t call him Miguel (or even Carlos like I did; I have to admit that I’m very bad with names), I think he hears that quite a lot.

Thanks for the wonderful chats Lúcio, we hope to see you again soon!

#1: Unknown photographer, undated, "Vista das duas praias (Lagoa de Óbidos e mar) de Foz do Arelho" (view of two beaches - lagoon and sea - in Foz do Arelho)
#2: José da Silva Dias, ca. 1912, "Chalet de Joaquim Frutuoso (now: Casa do Miguel) e escola primária (primary school)”, Foz do Arelho

» read all of my Portugal stories here «


Welcome to Part 1 of a “Portugal Photography Series” here on my blog. In the next days I’ll bring some pictures of this wonderful country onto your screens and tell a few of my vacation stories - no worries: not the usual tourist stuff ;)

So, if you would like to virtually follow me on my journey through Portugal -> feel free to hop on the B-Train. Next stop: Foz do Arelho.

IMAGE INFO: © Toni Frissell, ca. 1946, Medieval street in Alfama, Lisbon / Portugal

This photograph was shot by Toni Frissell (also known as Antoinette Frissell Bacon), an American photographer who was known for her fashion photography, World War II photographs, portraits of famous Americans and Europeans, children, and women from all walks of life.

Antoinette Frissell was born in 1907 in New York City, New York, but took photos under the name Toni Frissell, even after her marriage to Manhattan socialite McNeil Bacon. She worked with many famous photographers of the day, as an apprentice to Cecil Beaton, and with advice from Edward Steichen. Her initial job, as a fashion photographer for Vogue in 1931, was due to Condé Montrose Nast personally. She later took photographs for Harper’s Bazaar. Her fashion photos, even of evening gowns and such, were often notable for their outdoor settings, emphasizing active women. (+)

» read all of my Portugal stories here «

© Alfred Ehrhardt

#1: "Uralte Windmühlen am Atlantik", 1951
#2: "Ericeira. Fischerboote im Hafen", 1951
#3: "Das Boot von Torreira", 1951 
"Der Kampf beginnt", Fisher in Portugal, 1951

In 1951 the documentary filmmaker Alfred Ehrhardt spent five months in Portugal to make the 82-minute black and white film Portugal – Unbekanntes Land am Meer (Unknown Land by the Sea) for which he received his third German National Film Award. It was the first feature-length cultural documentary to have been made outside the country by a German filmmaker since 1945.

As he so often did, Ehrhardt also took photographs in Portugal while shooting his films. A selection from this collection of almost 400 photographs is now being presented to the public for the first time.

Portugal in the 1950s—these are images from a time when people still carried heavy loads on their heads and went barefoot, when the corn in the field was still cut by hand with a sickle, when the wine was harvested to the accompaniment of music, and grapes were trampled with by foot. Nets of sardines and tuna were hauled in by hand, and cork was the only material used to plug bottles. Even in Ehrhardt’s time there was exotic aura surrounding such archaic production methods, which appear—not only to today’s viewers—to be images from another world; they also obviously held great fascination for Ehrhardt. To him the life of the Portuguese seemed to be "of Biblical simplicity and tranquil cheer." Although the emphasis of the films and photographs lies on the folkloric tradition of manual crafts, Portugal is nevertheless show as a land of contradiction between the past and the present. Ehrhardt films and photographs the luxury liners and airboat landing field in the harbor of Lisbon, the newly constructed districts in the northern areas of the capital as well as the industrial fabrication of canned sardines and cork products. (read more)

Find more pictures here.

The exhibition Portugal 1951–1961. Photography and Film is on view at the Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung in Berlin until July 15th, 2012.

» find more exhibitions here «

© Christelle Landais, June 3, 2011, Between The Lines, Rossio Station, Lisbon

“How soon country people forget. When they fall in love with a city it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn’t love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it. There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves: their stronger, riskier selves.” (Toni Morrison)