Interview with Inês d’Orey

The Portuguese Photographic artist Inês d’Orey is visiting Aarhus to make her contribution to the project FRESH EYES – EUROPEAN ARTISTS RETHINK AARHUS. The project is initiated by Galleri Image in cooperation with Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017.

10 artists are invited by Galleri Image to take part in the project, and Inês is one of them. The project will result in a coffee table art book, an exhibition at Galleri Image and a programme of photo and video installations in Aarhus’ urban spaces in 2017.

I had the privilege of meeting Inês the first day of her stay in Aarhus, and to go together with her to some sites where she was going to photograph.

Inês is interested in architecture and interior space and has chosen to photograph inside some of the most spectacular buildings in Aarhus.


Inês d’ Orey (b.1977 in Portugal), lives and works in Porto. She has a degree in photography from London College of Printing, 2002.

Interview by Heidi-Anett Haugen, intern at Galleri Image.

1. From where comes your fascination for architecture and interior?

Inês d’Orey: When I started with photography I wasn’t particularly interested in space and architecture, but when I finished my studies in London I found a job as an assistant to an architecture photographer. It made me have an intense contact with architecture and space, and it grew on me. At the same time I moved to the downtown of my city, Porto, and I started to just walk around and photograph staircases of buildings that were open, and buildings in general of the city. I began this project called Porto interior about public spaces of Porto. It was a coincidence I started to work as an assistant for an architecture photographer. I was mainly photographing people, so it just happened by chance. I find that interesting as well.


2. How do you choose the sites you photograph?

Inês d’Orey: I investigate and look for what spaces are available in the city. If I think they are interesting I try to get permition to photograph. Some places I already know, so I just go there. I walk around, and try to find places by chance. Sometimes people suggest me places as well.


3. What do you try to capture in your photographs?

Inês d’Orey: I want people to question and create their own stories behind what they see. I want people to imagine what could have happened there, what is happening and what will be happening there.


4. How is your working process? (You have told me that you only choose one photograph from each place you photograph, but I know you take a lot of pictures. Why is only one chosen? And how do you make that choice of the only one?)

Inês d’Orey: I think there is not a right one, the right picture. It depends; it can depend on your state of mind. Sometimes I enter a space and I see right away what I want to photograph, like if the image is there all ready. Then I just take the photograph really quickly. Sometimes I have to look for it. Looking means to take several photographs, with different angels, and to make sure afterwards I have enough options to see which one is the best. Sometimes it appears immediately, and sometimes I have to look for the right image. Sometimes it never happens.

– Do you take photos in a place, and sometimes think this should be a series of photographs, instead of just one photograph in the end?

Inês d’Orey: Ideally I think I prefer to have just one picture of a place.

-Why is that?

Inês d’Orey: Because the project is composed by various different places, and I want the group to be balanced, having each place a picture to represent it. Of course there are exceptions. Ideally I would like to have just one, the perfect picture from that place.


5. What inspires you?

Inês d’Orey: What inspires me when I am photographing space, or my work in general?

–       If you can answer both, it would be great.

Inês d’Orey: In general I think I am inspired mainly by film and illustration. I think they amaze and inspire me in my work. I try to transpose to my photography that type of imagery.

When I am photographing, it just happens. There’s a moment when everything seems in the right place: the light, the composition, and the history of the place.


6. You have a degree in photography from London College of Printing. Why did you choose to go to London? Could you have taken the same degree in Portugal?

Inês d’Orey: I investigated in what school would be the best place to study photography. I asked people, I searched the Internet, and I was told London College of Printing was the best one. London, the city itself, offers so much in terms of cultural activity. And that is inspirational. I think it is so important, when you study, to see other stuff that is happening, because you learn a lot just by looking and being in the center of things happening. I think London was perfect for that. And that is why Portugal wouldn’t be that good. Because Portugal is much smaller, and less is happening. I know my country already to well to be captivated. I think it is good to go abroad to study, because you get more involved in your life and in your work. If you are at home you get to comfortable.


7. Are there any characteristics of, or tendencies in Portugal contemporary art?

Inês d’Orey: Portuguese photography is not well known in terms of a specific identity. I don’t think there is a common aesthetic, or type of photography. Many photographers who get well known leave Portugal. I don’t think we can speak yet about a Portuguese art scene, but I think we are on our way, I hope.


8. Are there any art projects, initiatives or galleries driven by artists in Portugal you would like the world to know about?

Inês d’Orey: We have Encontros da Imagem, which is a photo festival hold on public funding. There is this collective of photographers called Kameraphoto. They have been doing interesting work, and publishing books together. They function as an agency of photographers, that I think has quality. There are always things happening, really interesting projects, but then they don’t last, because there is no market. It’s so sad because people are very enthusiastic, but then there is no money, and no buyers. Therefore, photography galleries are closing, they live only for three, four years, and then close.

–       Are you connected to a gallery?

Inês d’Orey: I’m represented by Presença Gallery, and I am part of Dear Sir agency as well, who represent two French photographers, and eight Portuguese photographers.

–       How did you become a part of the gallery and the agency?

Inês d’Orey: I was invited.


–       Are you connected to any Art Academy, do you teach?

Inês d’Orey: I did teach in the Portuguese Institute of Photography two years ago. I had the experience for one year, but then I stopped because it was to demanding for me. Now I just do my own work. I have an office and a studio in Porto. I have a working space that I share with my husband who is an architect. It is an office space in a really beautiful 19th century building in a main square of Porto.


–       If I would come to Portugal to see art, where should I go?

Inês d’Orey: In Lisbon there are a few galleries all over the city. But in Porto you have this main street, Miguel Bombarda, with a lot of galleries concentrated. There is a big old building that used to be a prison, which is now the Portuguese Center for Photography, where they always have photography exhibitions. In Porto you have this big contemporary art museum called Museu de Serralves, which has really good exhibitions from all over the world. In Lisbon you have CCB, a cultural center where big exhibitions happens, as well as concerts. You have Gulbenkian that is one of the main foundations that supports artists. They have a permanent collection, but they do exhibitions as well. In Coimbra, a city between Porto and Lisbon, where you can find the oldest university, they have this contemporary art center called CAV, with really good contemporary exhibitions, and a lot of photography. In Braga, a city in the North, you have The Museum of Image, a photography museum, where they have their own collection of old photographs of the city. But they also always have contemporary exhibitions from photographers from all over the world.

–       I have heard you are going to exhibit in Brazil, could you tell more about that?

Inês d’Orey: It is an initiative called Cycle of Photography, organised by two Brazilians living in Portugal. This is the second edition. It’s a group exhibition of 10 Portuguese artists in Curitiba, Brazil. The event includes talks and conversations between the artists and Brazilian experts on photography.

Thank you for the interview, we are looking so much forward to see the result of your photographic project of Aarhus architecture and interior spaces.

Pictures chronological from the top:

1. perpétuo socorro #1, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

2. Inês d’Orey

3. fenianos #2, 2007, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

4. igreja do foco #1, 2011, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

5. museu soares dos reis, 2010, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

6. fenianos #3, 2007, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

7. fenianos #1, 2007, by Inês d’Orey, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

8. hospital de são joão #1, 2011, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

9. casa de serralves #2, 2011, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

10. maus hábitos #1, 2011, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

11. faculdade de economia #4, 2011, 2011, part of the project Porto interior by Inês d’Orey

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