Originally from small town Belgium, Gautier Houba now calls Lisbon home. Since his move, Gautier and his camera have taken to the streets of his new home, exploring the streets and subtleties as much as possible. In only a few months, Gautier’s captured Lisbon in captivating fashion, formulating images that are sure to make you start planning your trip to Portugal’s capital. To find out more about the up-and-coming photographer, we decided to ask him a few questions.
You’re originally from Belgium. What brought you to Lisbon?
I recently developed an interest in architecture photography and, after a bit of research, I stumbled upon the work of Francisco Nogueira. I was given the chance to go on a six-month internship anywhere in Europe, as he happened to be overwhelmed with a huge amount of work and was in need of someone to help him. So I booked a flight on January 1st and here I am.
How did you find this opportunity? How is your position related to photography?
I got the opportunity through Actiris, which is Brussel’s employment office. They help people under 30 find internships in their desired field, which led me to Francisco.
So far I’ve been mostly editing his pictures in Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ve also assisted him on a few photoshoots. But over the next few months, my role will probably expand, which I’m looking forward to!
What was your first impression of the city? What have you enjoyed most since moving there?
When I was in the plane, before we landed, we started circling the city at a low altitude. It was late afternoon and the sun was getting ready to set. The scene was absolutely gorgeous — especially coming from grey, rainy Brussels! I knew right away that I would have a good time exploring and shooting here.
I love the fact that Lisbon is so hilly, because it creates so many amazing views. I’ve never shot as many sunsets and sunrises since moving to Lisbon. I also really appreciate being so close to the sea. Oh, and of course the pasteis de nata! They’re the most delicious treats ever.
How has living in a new city influenced your photography?
Being in a new city makes you see things differently. In Brussels, I became kind of blasé about the things a visitor would’ve found extraordinary. In Lisbon, I’m now the visitor. But being in such a popular city does add the challenge of finding creative ways to shoot the places that have been photographed thousands of times before. It’s easy to let yourself be influenced by what you see on Instagram, but it’s very rewarding when you stray from that, and that’s also one of the best ways to grow as a photographer.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I struggle to describe my style because I’m constantly learning and evolving. My photos show a part of me. I tend to be slightly obsessive with how things are arranged (especially at home) and that translates to my photos, as they’re usually carefully constructed, with everything nice and straight. But I’m often cheesy and emotional too, which is shown in my work sometimes.
Recently, I’ve been a bit more true to myself with the pictures I take, and people seem to respond to that. I’m still tempted to post more “Instagram friendly” pictures, so it’s a constant fight between my ego wanting more likes and attention and my conscience trying to stay true to my style.
How do you try to capture Lisbon’s culture and vibrant atmosphere in your photos?
I still feel very new here and I have so much more to discover in and around Lisbon. For now, I’m trying to work my way around the city in order to understand it a bit better. I think as time goes by and as I meet more local people, I’ll get a better sense of the city and I’m sure that will translate into my pictures.
I feel that, in order to capture something best, you need to know it well and really be part of it. These things take time, but I’ll get to that place soon.
For those stumbling across your Instagram for the first time, you appear to travel quite a bit. Do photography and travel going hand-in-hand for you?
Definitely! In 2006, at 18 years old, I was privileged to be able to travel to Brazil for one year through Rotary Youth Exchange. That was a life defining year that sparked my desire to explore the world and learn about other cultures.
Travel within Europe is easy. In a few hours you can be in another country for almost nothing when using low cost companies. Even though I’ve never been a full-time photographer (I’ve been freelancing for a while with part time jobs on the side), there’s nothing more rewarding than managing to capture a new place and to make the viewer feel the same way I felt when I was there.