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Interview - Beatriz Mota da Rocha

5 years ago

At only 15 years old, Beatriz Mota da Rocha was one of the youngest ever winners of the Sony World Photography Awards. She received 1st place in the Youth Culture Award in this year's competition with her image "Cante Alentejano", documenting the traditional singing performance of amateur choral groups in southern Portugal. Here she tells us about her aspirations as a photographer, her interest in cosmology and her desire to study at Cambridge.

Describe what is happening in your successful image "Cante Alentejano"
In the picture we can see the reunion between two World Heritages. Évora, World Heritage and Cante Alentejano, intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Portuguese, 15 years old, I am in the 9th grade and I live in Alentejo, Évora. Photography will always be an important part of my life. I want to became a better photographer, learn new skills and make new projects. Besides that I would like to have a career in cosmology, so I could do two things that fascinate me.

You are just 15 years old, but your winning image shows a style that sometimes takes years to master. When did you start taking pictures?
I have been taking pictures since I was a little girl, but at the age of 13 I began “thinking about the picture”. I started to reflect on what I was doing more, what was the point, what was the feeling that I wanted people to get when they looked at my pictures.

Which photographers are you influenced by?
I’m very influenced by my father Telmo Rocha and Carlos Gasparinho, they are both great photographers. Furthermore I’m a fan of David Lachapelle, Ansel Adams, Joel Santos and Sebastião Salgado.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I imagine myself inaugurating exhibitions, taking photos around the globe,  and challenging people with my pictures. I would also like to be studying in Cambridge.

What do you think makes a great photograph?
The eye; the way the photographer sees the world and the way he shows it to people.

Do you have a photographic philosophy?
“You don't take a photograph, you make it.” - Ansel Adams

What's next for you?
In the near future I want to do my first solo exhibition. I have a project about Auschwitz that is already concluded, I only need to get financing to expose it.