Hugo Suíssas positioned the feathers, crossing them at the bottom, holding them in place firmly. He asked his friend to jump into the air, sending seagulls scattering across the cloudy sky. At just the right moment, he snapped a shot: his favorite, which he calls “Human Seagull.”

Perspective is Hugo’s friend, the catalyst for his foray into the world of photography. As an art director at an advertising agency, for a long time he was more involved with organizing photographs than taking them. But when a friend asked for his assistance, Hugo realized that perspective and photography could alter the way he viewed the world.

Getting the right shot interests Hugo more than the quality of camera it’s taken with. The entirety of his feed has been shot with his smartphone, disproving the notion that the gear makes the photographer.

What he lacks in high-tech equipment, he makes up for in preparation. Hugo painstakingly scouts locations for his photos. Then he photographs the background, trying to glean the perfect angle or perspective. Sometimes, though his camera roll is filled with hundreds of images, he will even commit to coming back the next day until he captures the perfect shot.

It’s this perseverance that makes shots like “Superman” possible. One day, on a lunch break, he strolled past a narrow alleyway that was illuminated nicely by a beam of light. The street fascinated him as a prospective shooting location.

So he continued to walk past the alleyway, eventually recognizing that it was lit perfectly for 15 minutes during the day — from 2:00 to 2:15 p.m. He began calling it “The 15 Minutes Street.”  

After noticing a work colleague dressed in red and blue, a photo came together in his mind. Ushering his friend to the alleyway, he waited for the clock to strike 2. When it did, Hugo convinced the coworker to lay down next to the wall and raise his arm. A shadow rippled out, looking exactly like a cape fluttering in the wind. Click.

The street went dark a few minutes later, just another insignificant alleyway. But Hugo knows that if you wait long enough, even the most mundane location can become the setting for a magical photograph.

Hugo Suíssas is a photographer and art director from Portugal. You can find more of his work on his Instagram.