“Everyone knows that the inside is there, and few really know it” – Observer

What is your relationship to Murtosa, the village you have been working in for more than 20 years?
I almost didn’t go there when I went to observe animals in the São Jacinto Reserve, but when I passed through Torreira, where I currently live, I immediately thought: “This is where I will live.” I had this perception right away, and it felt like a good place to stay, and then had the opportunity to go to work in other parts of the country, but I never wanted to, the passion and affection I had with the people there always prevailed. If today I am so respected by my fellow physicians, who know my work, I owe to the farmers, that I can hardly imagine my life outside that area, it would be very sad for me to lose that connection. When I go to their house, they really treat me like a member of the family, they call me Jorge, I sit with them at the table, they talk to me, they tell me what they don’t tell anyone else.

In addition to being a doctor, he is also a type of psychologist. Was it always like this?
Yes, I have never felt resistance from them, it is an exchange and mutual respect. This exchange gave me the perception and sensitivity to space and light in a completely unconscious way, because I didn’t even know how to use the camera.

You started with the video, right?
Yes, a friend of mine created a YouTube video channel about Mortosa and asked me to record some interviews with farmers and fishermen I met at work. I started seeing the result and I felt like my face was showing a lot and I thought these people were more important than me, that’s when I jumped behind the camera and started making little videos. I got up early, looked for the best lighting, came home and adjusted like I knew how.

For any reason?
I wanted to record it for the future, I thought there were activities in Mortosa and Torreira that would disappear over time and it was necessary to document them. Then it was to show how beautiful that region, though very forgotten, is on the coast, near the great urban centres, has the sea, and the water, and the animals, and the plants, and the meat, and the fish, and contains everything, but it does not have it. t have a lot of projection. One day I was shooting a sailing regatta, in 2012, a group of photographers started giving me photography tips, I bought a cheap camera, I started experimenting and never stopped.

What do you value most in a photo?
Light, composition, landscape, contrasts. When I go shoot I have no idea, I’m not sure what I’ll find that day, I look around I see farmers’ clothes, I see animals, food in the kitchen and I’m playing with everything. I like that the picture has many elements that allow me to tell a story, there are few pictures that only depict someone’s face, I like to put hands on the table, animals interact with children, all of this helps bring us to that local. If we look at a farmer’s hand, it is a hand soiled with earth, full of wrinkles and prominent veins, from work, if it were a fisherman’s hand it would be clean because it walks in the sea. Although I am not making a comment, I hope these details will allow you to feel the harshness of this work and the respect and admiration I have for these people.

Animal photography shouldn’t be easy…
Yes, it is more difficult than photographing children, being a vet helps of course, but we have to be patient, know the behavior of the animal well, and know how it reacts to a certain situation or light. Even a large animal can recognize me as a doctor, when I come with the coat they react instantly, and I am also interested in showing how well they treat them. Sometimes there is the idea that animals are poorly treated in the countryside, and that the owners see them only as a means of survival, but no, they are really part of the family. When someone dies, the owners cry and scream. I try to make my photos real, so that there is nothing artificial.

Is there a story that particularly affected you?
I think all vets have great stories to tell, I usually don’t share much so as not to convince people to interpret my pictures somehow. I work during the week and on weekends, I schedule appointments with them and shoot them, often ask if they’re home or fieldwork, and I don’t intend to break the routine. When I don’t show up for a long time, they call me too [risos]. This is so much fun.

Do you have a favorite picture?
I can’t choose, I can’t even.

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