Who is Camilla Watson?

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We were wandering the streets of Lisbon, making our way uphill to the castle that overlooks the central part of the city, when we spotted a series of photographs mounted on the walls of the houses in a neighbourhood. Each of the images had a name and a date and pictured an older person in a door, window or just walking on the street. As we walked a little further, we saw a plaque identifying these images as a tribute to the elderly who live in the neighbourhood by a photographer called Camilla Watson.

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It turns out that Camilla has a website: http://www.camillawatsonphotography.net/. She was born in the UK in 1967, became a photographer at age 25, spent 8 years as a theatre photographer before moving to Brazil in 2000. She spent 7 years in Sao Paulo photographing kids in the favelas before moving to Lisbon in 2007. In Camilla’s words,

“Since moving to Lisbon in 2007 I have focused on projects collaborating with communities and exhibiting in outdoor spaces which are linked to the people I am photographing or to the local history.. To do this has meant learning to print onto different surfaces including wood and stone. I am interested in people, communities and their history.  How can we keep a communities history alive? How can we hold onto their memories in rapidly changing environments? I want to bring the past into the present in a way that is visual, creative and accessible to all; especially in historic neighbourhoods and in areas in a process of change. My intention is to find the best materials to challenge the weather and the sun. Most recently this has been limestone. To print on these surfaces I work from my darkroom in Mouraria, Lisbon.”

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These are wonderful, touching photographs and, due to the way they are mounted on stone, seem to be weathering very well despite their outdoor location.

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