{the interview series} twiggs' photography

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hoje trago-vos uma criadora portuguesa verdadeiramente multifacetada. A Cláudia, mais conhecida por Twiggs, começou por ser psicóloga, mas é na fotografia que encontra a sua maior fonte de inspiração.
O seu trabalho divide-se entre o filme e o digital, entre a fotografia e o design, entre a imagem e a palavra, mas é através das suas lentes que Twiggs mais nos faz viajar - as suas fotografias levam-nos a percorrer os recantos favoritos da sua cidade e os detalhes que a apaixonam no mundo que a rodeia... e que bom que é viajar assim!

[Este post pertence à rubrica semanal {the interview series}, onde publico uma nova entrevista todas as quartas-feiras, com artistas e bloggers inspiradores que admiro, de acordo com o espírito handmade e um estilo de vida criativo. Tornem-se fãs no facebook e não percam nada!
Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês.]


Today I bring you a truly multi-faceted Portuguese artist. Claudia, better known as Twiggs, began as a psychologist, but it's the photography world that gives her the greatest source of inspiration.
Her work is divided between film and digital, between photography and design, between images and words, but it's through her lenses that Twiggs makes us travel far - her photos walk us around the favorite corners of her city ​​and through the details that make her fall in love in the world that surrounds her... and how nice it is to travel like this!

[This post belongs to the weekly feature {the interview series} where I publish a new interview every wednesday with inspiring artists and bloggers I admire, according to the spirit of handmade and a creative lifestyle. Become a facebook fan and don't miss a bit!]

Cláudia Casal aka Twiggs | twiggs’ photography
Lisbon, Portugal
site | blog | shop | facebook

{the break} :: august 6th

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Cláudia Casal or Twiggs. Tell us a bit about yourself and the reason for this nickname Twiggs.
Hello Ana, thank you so much for inviting me to these amazing series of interviews! It is such an honor! Well, my name is Claudia, I’m 31 and I live in Lisbon. I am also known as Twiggs and all this began in the time where we all connected through MSN Messenger. I used to change names from time to time, according to something that was inspiring me at the moment. I always loved Twiggy for her look and different personality that stands out from all the models. So I became Twiggy… and later Twiggs. When I felt the need to create a blog, I took a while figuring out the name… until I thought about “a place for twiggs”, because I needed to write to find my place in this world.

2. You’re a psychologist who found a big passion in photography and is now taking some steps in graphic design and webdesign. How was this creative passion born and what was the journey that brought you here?
I can say that in the past I never ever thought I would be doing this by now. I graduated in Organizational Psychology, started to work as an Educational Psychologist on a High School and then moved to Lisbon to work in Human Resources. Photography was always a bit present, but never serious. After visiting NY in 2007 and receiving a digital camera, my love developed… and I found myself joining Flickr and that was the beginning of everything. I started to feel like I wanted to do something else… to understand what kind of life I wanted for myself, instead of that one I was living at that time. I started the blog a few months later and opened my first online shop. When I found myself unemployed I saw it as an opportunity to actually devote all my time to this project and make it work. I am completely self-taught in everything I do, and thought I could be helping others with those things I learned along the way, like the notions of aesthetics, colours, composition… and web-design.

ready to {ride}
7 :: 365
6 :: 365

3. Let’s now talk about your big passion: photography. You create dreamy images that reflect some of the things you love: Lisbon, vespas, nature, vintage details… Tell us about what inspires you the most, the themes you prefer to portray… share your creative process with us.
Actually I don’t see it as a creative process, at least a process itself. I work every day on my laptop, running online shops + blog, just like anyone else working at an office. I have a routine and a schedule. Then on my free time, weekends or time I leave on the week for that matter, I go out and wander the streets of Lisbon along with my camera, having nothing in particular to shoot on my mind. I just go and take a walk. On the weekends that also happens, even when I’m not in Lisbon. I just carry my cameras with me. And what I see around inspires me or I find myself driven to the same sort of things, like the narrow streets of Lisbon, vintage cars and motorcycles… nature details… I like the idea of showing someone something that was always there, but people never noticed it. As once a customer said when looking at a picture of some raspberries in a cup “Wow these look so beautiful, I never looked at raspberries like this… I just eat them, without even noticing their beauty!”

4. It must be really difficult to capture the personality of a person or the intimacy of a relationship in photography, but you accomplish it! Would you share with us the biggest challenges you face? Share some useful photography tips with us!
Well, the biggest challenge I think any Portrait Photographer has is to connect with the clients, because they are someone they never met before… so if we wish the results to portray the person itself or the intimacy of a relationship, as you say, we need to connect, and connecting is something I actually love to do and do it quite naturally, I think. On the other hand a photographer may also be a bit nervous, because he wants to do a good job and he needs the client to relax, and the client is not a professional model so he expects the photographer to tell him what to do, so the photographer has to be calm, has to connect with the client and tell the client what to do, what works better. During the whole session, you just need to talk with the client about something pleasant, so you can find a smile or a laughter… therefore natural gestures!

he will be born in {february}

5. Tell us now about your most recent shop: twiggs designs, where you sell inspiring paper goods. You must really be an optimist person, your posters are always filled with bright thoughts! What made you want to embrace this new creative field?
Oh well, sometimes I actually need some refrainment myself, as I have all these ideas coming into my mind, which can be turned into a business, so I need to think about the effort to make something and if it is worthwhile to announce it to the world as a new branch. For example, I secretly wish I could have the time to design wedding invitations, because I have all these ideas and I love to play around the illustrator! Twiggs’ Designs was born like that… I had all these ideas of other products that I liked to create, but they didn’t fit any of my fine art shops, and I like to separate things that are different. So, I gathered all the posters, cotton totes and notebooks into one shop and now I create as I wish… and add the new products to this shop… that also has a branch on Society6!

{the break} :: august 20th53 :: 365

6. a place for twiggs is the name of your inspiring blog, which started out as a personal journal but is now a space you use to share your work and other artists, along with interviews and other great features. Tell us about all things that keep you inspired to post and share your thoughts with us.
As I told you before, I spend my whole day on the computer, mostly on the Internet… usually my browser has almost ten pages opened, because I am always thinking of something to see, to read, to check, and I click on everything that I find interesting, even if it’s just a name! Having a schedule on the blog helps me to organize all these things I find interesting, or else, I would be a very confused blogger! Nowadays I tend to be very inspired by small Nordic blogs, Scandinavian women/moms/wives that share their house, day and work with the readers. I found myself stepping away from the huge blogs lately, because I was in need for something more personal. So anything with a good design, a good house, a good story behind will inspire me! A good photographer will inspire me… a small business in chocolate or wedding invitations will inspire me…

7. You really enjoy wearing different hats and your brand is always growing with the birth of new ideas and products! How do you manage to combine all these tasks? What gives you more pleasure to do?
If only I knew how I manage all this I would tell you! Sometimes I don’t know where to start either… Now seriously speaking, I was working a lot in these last months… like 16h a day, until one day I realized I was feeling anxious and nervous about my day all day long. And so I thought to myself that something was going very wrong, if I was doing what I loved. So I realized that working 16h a day was not a good idea, so I stopped and started to organize my day, in order to work from 9h30am to dinner time. Usually I schedule web-design projects to Monday + Tuesday and then work around all the other things on the other days. I started to be a little more organized and things worked out pretty well! Anxiety and stress were no longer a part of my day… well, at least anxiety, because a little bit of stress is welcome and usual, when there are deadlines. Regarding the pleasure part, well… I love to go out and take pictures, edit them (sharing them with the clients is awesome as they see how beautiful they are!!) and to web-design… (I love to work around CSS and see things happening and turning them into beautiful layouts!), but on the other hand… I also love to connect through the blog…

{the break} :: august 2nd
48 :: 365{the break} :: august 10th

8. You’re not just an artist but an entrepreneur. What means do you use to promote your work? Tell us about the challenges of it.
Well it has been a challenge every day as I think we all learn along the process… when I started my first Etsy shop, I thought all I had to was listing the photos and wait… Now I know that is not enough at all! So I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Newsletters, Blog… to promote my work… I try not to promote the same things at the same time, but I try to be present in several networks. However, I need to work around the way I reach my customers, even when shipping… I think that I need to work the communication tools on that part! The challenge is to manage all the means we have currently… there are way too many social networks!

9. Would you share with us a regular day at work? Besides working, what else are you passionate about doing?
Playing with my dog for sure! Having a dog actually helps me to relax and he forces me to stop sometimes to play with him, and he just makes me relax and laugh! A regular day starts around 8h30 with me taking Mr Kobe outside, breakfast for all, then I sit on my computer and start working. I stop for lunch, for about an hour, play with Mr Kobe, and then start working again… by the end of the afternoon, I need a snack and Mr Kobe needs to go outside again and this is a way for me to relax and leave the house, taking a walk and get some fresh air! Then I go back to work until dinner time… and after that part, I love to spend time reading my favorite blogs, and do whatever I love to do…

45 :: 365
10 :: 365
46 :: 365

10. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
Well, it all started with our dinner table… being occupied by a laptop, then a few things extra for pens and things to wrap my orders… and then I actually changed my whole living-room, in order to be left without a dinner table, but a pretty nice working table (two months later we actually bought another dinner table)! So my working space has a cork board in front of me with things I like, photography tips, ribbons and photos from other photographer friends! On the left I have a very unattractive black printer and a basket with some stock prints. What I love the most about it? It’s a dinner table, all mine, and that was a very impossible idea in the first place, living in such a small apartment!

11. You were born in Leiria, but now live in Lisbon and I know that you’re in love with New York! Would you tell us about what you love most about these different cities? Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
For starters, in Portugal I don’t see myself living anywhere else but Lisbon. I love this city and everything it has to offer. I love the fact that I can pick a movie to see and it doesn’t have to be a blockbuster, I will find a place to see it. I love the fact that if I decide at 11pm that I want to go out for dinner and I will find an open restaurant… if I decide to go to a concert, I don’t have to change my whole day to go to that concert, which would happen if I lived in Leiria, for example. I like that Leiria is a small, but very pretty city. I traveled a lot through the country for training sessions and I noticed, than unlike other similar cities, Leiria has a very rich social life. People go out for a cup of coffee… and not just the young people, families go out with their kids… Leiria is a charming city, though it could be more… New York… well, what can I say? It would be my city, if things worked out that way. I love that city since the very first day I walked into those streets when I was 12… I love everything about it, the skyscrapers, the wide avenues, the different people in the streets, the multicultural feeling, the fact that you could go out dressed as a pink bunny and no one would even look at you, because they don’t care! I like the feeling of being anonymous, which happens in Lisbon as well… most of the times (it’s a lot easier to bump into someone you know, than anyone thinks!). New York City is not America… it has its own nationality and soul. And it’s like you’re in the center of the world. You can find anything there! That is why I am going there again for the 4th time… and hopefully, not the last!

the yellow {twins}
A trip to Guggenheim

12. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
I love the 20’s… because you can’t beat those dresses, hairdos and pearls! Even smoking was charming back then! But other than that I can confess that when I was young and saw Robyn Hood with Kevin Costner, I wished very hard that I could live in those times… I thought it was charming and romantic as well! Though if we think straight… there is no charm in being a woman and poor in those times!

13. We are both Portuguese, so I don’t resist asking: what are the main problems you face being an artist in our country, Portugal?
Social Security rules! Today I was actually watching the news and thinking about that! How can anyone start being a freelance in something it is not stable at all, if you have bills to pay, like rent, water, light, gas… and if Social Security demands you to pay at least 125€ every month? And of course, you should work on your taxes every month, so that you have the money when the time to pay comes. There should be another way to pay Social Security according to what you earn each month… the rules are not created thinking about small businesses, or at least these kind of small businesses… not those small companies that have 5 employees. And let’s not even start on the lack of promotion of artists in our country… we are very small, but very creative, but somehow people step away from handmade things… based on the reason that it is more expensive… but maybe it will last longer…

13 :: 365
{the break} :: august 13th

14. What advices would you give to someone who would also like to become a photographer?
Work hard, and take photos every day. Practice with your family and friends… Try different occasions to practice, try different equipment to practice and read a lot about photography. I buy magazines every month, I read tips about photography, I practice a lot… and I see myself growing as time goes by, learning new things very frequently! Talk with other photographers, ask for help and if someone is not that happy to help out, try someone else, but don’t give up and be humble!

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
Well, I would love if in 8/12 months I could be a freelance photographer, keeping with all those businesses I have with design and web-design. That is my main goal for one year… and most unrealistic would be having a small shop with my work and a huge iMac to work, not this slow laptop I own!

the lagido {boat}

Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes!
Tell us one:

book: My last one, written by Jose Villa about being a Fine Art Wedding Photographer
music: Christmas Music by Bing Crosby
movie: Mary Poppins and Love Actually for Christmas time
personality/artist: Jonas Peterson (photographer from Australia)
color: Green
object: My cameras
animal: Mr Kobe, the dog
drink: Tea and Coffee
food: Almost everything portuguese, give me some typical snacks and I’m a very happy lady!
season of the year: All of them, though I get tired very fast…
travel destination: New York (oh yeah!)
piece of clothing: Scarves
secret: Sometimes I’m afraid of not accomplishing these dreams I work for every single day

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful world of beauty with us Twiggs!

6 comments:

  1. oh my ana, i loved this!!! ups, agora em português! adorei o resultado final! gostei imenso das fotografias que escolheste, entre as profissionais e as que mostram um bocadinho do que gosto de fazer e o meu mundo! ;) muito obrigada por esta honra! fico mesmo orgulhosa de ser recebida assim! um grande beijinho!

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  2. WOW ! this is so beautiful photographs.
    I love your photos , thanks for sharing this photography.Great work.......
    Stock Photo

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  3. I love Claudia's work, thanks for the great interview!

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  4. adorei! uma belissima entrevista, palavras para que o trabalho da Claudia e uma verdadeira inspiracao :)

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  5. Amazing Blog ! this is great interview .
    Thanks for sharing this article and interview photography and its nice photos .You are doing nice work man , i really like it .........

    ReplyDelete

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