Join us in conversation as we talk to Nuno Serrão, who captures cinematic moments in time. Each photograph he creates hold an intense air of mystery, a fog that is wrapped in the never-ending eerie. Recently featured in Issue #27, Nuno tells us about his first time holding a camera, his attraction to all things minimal, and the beauty he finds in life’s mysteries.
Nuno Serrão is a Portuguese photographer and filmmaker born on Madeira Island.
My blank slate starts with a functional level of emotion, logic, minimalism, and curiosity; I consider them the building blocks of my creative process. Curiosity often leads me into documenting frameable stories that, in the end, will pose a whole new set of questions. With the sum of all relatable questions, I think I’ll get an answer.
When did you become interested in photography? Was this the first art medium you were interested in, or have you ever experimented with others?
I remember the first time I got interested in photography was when I was a kid, maybe five or six years old. My parents had a point-and-shoot film camera that I wasn't allowed to use because film was expensive. So, during the day, when they weren't home, I sneaked into their bedroom, grabbed the camera just so I could use its viewfinder to frame the world around me. I think it was then that I fell in love with that feeling you get when you look through a viewfinder. It's like the rest of the world doesn't exist.
My youth was primarily spent drawing, coding, and looking up to the stars. Later in my life, when I could afford to buy my own camera, I dived headfirst into photography. It wasn't that long ago, 10, 12 years maybe. Since then, photography, writing, and filmmaking have been my three primary forms of expression.
The landscapes you capture in your work are absolutely gorgeous! Where are some of the locations that you shoot?
Thank you. I can't tell you one particular location. I'm attracted to all things minimal, and I find these things wherever I go—not only visually, but with everything in my life. I love minimal music from composers like Philip Glass or Ligeti, cinema from directors like Kurosawa and Kubrick, and objects designed by Dieter Rams. I even get a kick out of moving unnecessary things out of my house.
What is it about these moody and eerie places that attract you?
I don't know. Where others see eerie, I see beautiful. Life is a mystery; it should always look like one.
Can you tell us about your interest in science and how it relates to your work?
A year ago, theoretical physicists from the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore asked me the same question. I give the same answer to scientists and artists alike. Whenever I see a brilliant movie, listen to a stunning symphony, or understand something about theoretical physics, I can almost feel my imagination stretch. It translates organically into my work, and it helps my creativity remain unbounded. I love to think. It may be my favorite thing in life. I believe artists and scientists should meet more often.
Much of your work appears to be cinematic/dramatic. Are you influenced at all by film? Where do you find inspiration?
I'm drawn to subjects that are bigger than ourselves. I find them in nature, arts, and science, as they are linked by ideas that live in our universe. I try to read, watch, and listen to everything about unanswered philosophical or scientific questions. In the end, we are the result of everything we have experienced and a bit more. That bit that is our own is the hardest thing to find and even harder to translate into art.