Yangshuo, China

Yangshuo, China

As the years have passed, many other books (and movies) heat helping me to see life in a wide, humble, curious and compassionate way.

I wanted to make a positive change in society, which seemed very inequitable to me, so studying Law made perfect sense. 

However, disappointed by the Brazilian Law system and aware of this inner call for wandering through different cultures, after five years of study, I got my diploma and was ready to explore the world so off to South Africa I went. 

"The Twelve Apostles", Cape Town, South Africa

"The Twelve Apostles", Cape Town, South Africa

Doing a Masters in "Human Ecology and Contemporary Social Issues" at the Nova University of Lisbon, Portugal, was an opportunity I could not refuse, and I am glad I didn't. It solidified my holistic understanding of the intrinsic relations between Nature, Culture and Society, and I am not afraid to say that my work as a travel photojournalist highly benefits from this broad perception.

Photography became a profession only in February 2013, when I joined i7, a photography agency located in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.

After an amazing year with them, it was time to discover Asia and try to build my own path as a freelance photographer. For two years, I was based in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, but my work there took me to many countries in the region: The Philippines, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Timor Leste, China and India.

I had an absolutely wonderful time there and I feel very fortunate for having had the chance to experience (and photograph) that beautiful kaleidoscope of stories, cultures, colors, landscapes and traditions. 

From March to July 2016, I cycled over 5,000km from Bogota (Colombia) to Lima (Peru), an adventure that profoundly changed me for better. 

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

I might be a dreamer, but I certainly would not be living such a wonderful adventure for the past eight years if I had not dreamed - and believed in my skills, hard work and perseverance to make my dreams come true. So I take that as a compliment. Thank you, mom! :) 

And as Thoreau once wrote: "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see".

Bernardo Salce

To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
— James Thurber

My Story

My mom still calls me a dreamer.

"You are like Don Quixote", she is always telling me.

Well, I suppose I am indeed a dreamer. How can I not be, after all, when I grew up surrounded by countless inspiring books?

I remember when my mom gave me "Robinson Crusoe" to read, I was perhaps 14 years old. This was book that opened my mind to the beauty of diversity and strangeness. The seeds for exploration, adventure and discovery were planted in my heart.

Precious moments with my brothers Lucas and Tiago, long ago in Brazil

Precious moments with my brothers Lucas and Tiago, long ago in Brazil

It was there where I woke up to this so far hidden passion of mine: photography.

["Let me take the pictures, I am the one who knows how to take good photos!", it's what I used to tell my mom every time we traveled together with my brothers, during our childhood.]

After almost two years in that gorgeous country, I went back to Brazil a different person. I no longer wanted to work as a lawyer; I wanted to see the world and photograph its many different cultures. And I was already sure by then that photography could also be a very powerful tool in the process of raising awareness and inspiring/promoting positive change. 

Amer, Rajasthan, India

Amer, Rajasthan, India

Sunset over the Li river, China

Sunset over the Li river, China

For the remaining of the year I was based in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, land of Magical Realism and a very rich place in terms of history and cultural influences.

So much so that it was there where I found the inspiration I needed to start writing the novel I am currently working on. I will share more about it on my blog soon... 

I am currently in Southern California, USA, exploring the many wonderful natural attractions in the region and researching about current American social-environmental issues.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA, USA

Joshua Tree National Park, CA, USA


Awards and Exhibitions

2015 - 2nd Prize Winner at Capture Corruption Photo Competition (Transparency International)

2015 - Mystical India solo exhibition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2014, 2015 - Where is my Justice? solo exhibition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2014 - Life after Haiyan exhibition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2013 - Morocco in Red solo exhibition in Uberaba, MG, Brazil

2013 - Morocco in Red solo exhibition in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil


FAQ

1. How did you get into professional photography?

I had made a travel series about Morocco, and I thought I had some good pictures, so I put together a small portfolio and emailed it to every photography agency I could find in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, the city where I was living at that moment. It took months before receiving a reply. Meanwhile, I worked at several different jobs to pay the bills. One day, around February 2013, I received an email from i7. Pedro, its owner, was looking for an aspiring photographer to be mentored by him and later become part of his nationally renowned agency. That was the beginning of my journey into professional photography. I followed and assisted him for several weeks before being able to go on an assignment on my own. I worked with them for one year, and in April 2014 I decided to try my own path as a freelance travel photographer, so I booked a one-way ticket to Cambodia. 

2. Why travel photography?

Travel photography is my passport to different cultures, it's the tool that is constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone, and it is a bridge that connects me to people, their culture and stories. Travel photography push us into unfamiliar environments, and I do believe that it's only when we are challenged that we can grow, both personal and professionally. The experiences and encounters it provides me expand my understanding of life, and it certainly gives me a very compassionate view of the world and its many different cultural manifestations. I love the feeling of freedom for being able to live and work anywhere in the planet, and I also feel I have a kind of responsibility of showing a bit of the world to those who are not fortunate enough to be able to travel. Travel photography, for me, is a tool of understanding; it's a window to the amazingly vast and rich cultural tapestry of this beautiful planet we are lucky to inhabit. 

3. How would you define your style and what are your influences?

It's always hard to talk about our own work, but I guess I can say I strive to capture fleeting, "decisive" fragments of daily life unfolding naturally in front of me. I never stage any picture; I have an ever attentive, observer eye; and I like to include a human element to give some life to the image. My editing process is extremely basic, as I prefer natural-looking images. Henri Cartier-Bresson is amongst my very favorite photographers, and I follow and admire the work of many other Magnum and National Geographic photographers, such as Alex Webb, Steve McCurry, Ami Vitale, Michael Yamashita and David Alan Harvey, to name a few.  

4. Would you have any tips on how to plan a photo trip? How about once we are on location?

When I am planning my next trip, I try to read a lot of news, articles and (travel/documentary) stories about place I'm going to. I look for pictures that have been taken there, to have some inspiration, but especially to find out what has been done - so I can do it differently. I'm not on the luxury side, so I travel cheap. I sleep in local ho(s)tels, eat local food in markets (authentic, good, cheap and always a great theme for pictures), take night buses/trains, etc. I also have a look at Worldpackers, this website through which we can exchange our skills for accommodation (and sometimes even food as well). However, to be honest, I do not over plan. I prefer to embrace serendipity, and the best way to photograph a place for me is by simply wandering around its streets, without any real, actual plan in mind. Of course you do want to cover some famous landmarks and locations, but I find that it's only when we are walking around the city (not just the main touristic areas) is that we can get a real sense of that place, and therefore make pictures that do it more justice. I start before sunrise and work until about 10am. Then I get some rest, grab a good coffee, visit museums, galleries, bookshops, have lunch, shoot something indoors. I get outside again after 3pm, and work all the way till dark. Having a local fixer who knows the area and can help you with contacts and the local language can be a very good idea as well. 

5. What tips do you have for an aspiring photographer?

Photograph everyday; experiment new techniques; study the work of the masters of your photography field; find out what is being done; take part in workshops with good, renowned professionals; find your visual style and try to make something unique. I get a lot of inspiration from books, movies, paintings, and I think it's important to make photographs that are truthful to the way we see the world around us. Do not photograph just to have "likes"; see it as a way to truly express yourself, and seek to create images that reflect your very personal interpretation of that specific subject you are photographing. 

6. Where should I show my work?

Having a good, clean website is essential to make you look more professional. A good social media presence is also crucial. There are many platforms these days, but since I do not want to spend all my day doing social media work, I stick to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, apart from my website. I believe it is better to have less social media channels, but work them properly; than to have too many of them, but fail to use them satisfactorily. Having a blog page on your website is also a great way to engage with your audience and bring more people to your page on a regular basis. Leaving the virtual world, local stores, galleries, bookshops and etc. are also good options to show your work at a more local level.

7. What's in your camera bag?

I started my photography journey with an entry-level Nikon D5000, then moved to the Canon system (5D Mark II, III and a few Canon L lenses), and I'm now shooting exclusively with Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. Besides their great image quality, I love their size, weight and vintage look. I find them the perfect tools for the type of photography I do. Camera wise, I currently have: X-Pro2, X-T1 and X100S. In terms of lenses, I only use Fuji primes: 14mm, 23mm, 35mm and 56mm. I have UV filters on all them for protection, and I also have some circular-polarizing, neutral density and gradual neutral density filters. In my Langly bag I also carry extra batteries, cleaning tools, a few 64GB memory cards, my Macbook Pro, a Manfrotto tripod and a few other accessories. I use Lightroom to catalog and edit my pictures.

8. Do you sell prints?

Absolutely! All my pictures are available for purchase as signed fine art prints, either framed or unframed. For more information, please contact me directly at contato@bernardosalce.com

9. Do you offer workshops, guidance, photo tours or portfolio reviews?

Definitely! Please email me at contato@bernardosalce.com for more personalized information based on your specific needs.

10. What are the challenges of being a professional photographer and what skills must I have in order to be successful?

The photography market is extremely competitive these days, regardless the type of photography you do. Therefore, one needs a lot of passion, hard work and persistence, as well as excellent business skills. A common jargon nowadays says that the modern successful photographer is about "20% photography and 80% business". So try to master your field, create your own visual identity, understand the market and promote your work throughout the many social media channels available. Knowing how to market and sell your work is absolutely crucial.