it’s been a long time since the last post, which means this one will be gigantic!
So after my long stay in Switzerland I traveled to Torino, in Italy. There I would have a place to stay in the house of Catarina, sister of a long time friend from Portugal, Gonçalo Almeida. He’s currently finishing a degree in London Film School and she’s doing an erasmus studying medicine in Turin.
I know Catarina since she was a small child, really. From the times I went to hang around Gonçalo’s house when we were kids. She’s four years younger than me. She lives with other 2 medicine students. Elena and Joana, italian and portuguese respectively. This was my second time in Italy, which is a country I really like. I had been there 2 years ago, doing a Leonardo DaVinci internship at the studio of Luca Masarà, working on retouching with him and Georgina. If you need photographic services near Padua, look them up! They do some amazing work and I learned quite a bit while there, besides being treated in a very pleasant way. I was never in Turin before, I had been to Padua, Venice, Bologna, Verona and Parma. I was there through Check-in, a Lisbon based interchange association providing young people with opportunities to go abroad and do voluntary services or internships in creative areas. They in hand coordinated with XENA, the italian association headquartered in Padua.
This time, like I said I, arrived by train, at 13 of May, around 22h, and luckily their house was just one street away from Torino Porta Nuova train station. Catarina even had a meal prepared upon my arrival – now that’s sweet.
Even though we went out for a walk and also at night to have a drink most of the time I was actually working on some retouching projects and video stuff. I cooked sometimes (risotto – which I really like and I’m getting better at it each time I repeat it – as well as tuna-fish à brás – since I was unable to find cod there – it’s a mixed-up traditional portuguese dish, that takes chips, cod, eggs and parsley, all mixed together). I stayed for 3 nights at their house and then took a flight to Berlin, from Milan, since it was really cheaper and much more comfortable to do that instead of doing full day trip on bus coach.
I really like Italy, from the food, to the language, to the sun and everything in between. Many of its cities are real works of art and display such an astounding number of beautiful things to see that it’s really difficult to not enjoy it there, no matter what you’re looking for, be it architecture, fine art, contemporary art, sex, historical feeling or just curiosity for the southerner style of life. It’s true, even though I haven’t been to the major attractions of Italy, like Rome or Florence, nor to the beautiful coastal parts at the south, independently from that, I really like the country. It’s in a way relaxed and uplifting and not too expensive. You can get lost just visiting buildings, mostly religious, and have a sense of the power Italy at some point had.
It’s interesting to visit churches, up to an extent of course, I’m not that much into it, but in Italy I sometimes enter one to marvel myself with how much work went into it. It’s fairly easy to understand the power and grip the Church had in people some centuries ago. You just have to imagine, if you were a person of the lower classes, how would it feel to enter such a place? The scale, the ridiculous amount of detailed work, the statues, windows, paintings, ornaments and so on must have had a great impact in how people perceived the institution. For someone who didn’t live in opulence, as the great majority of the people, it was certainly a “sign” that the church was somehow godly commanded, because, how could they do (the right word would be commissioned) such magnificent works of art? Architecturally speaking, many of which apparently set new limits to human capability.
It’s one of the ways the elites use their money, replicating the extent of their power in material achievements, be it through architecture, fine arts or other, in order to create an impression on those who look or experience such endeavours. It’s the same as when we meet someone who’s riding on the top of the wave in his life. You perceive it, be it through the calmness, assertiveness, looks or the major exhibition of symbols and signs. And somehow, you are “impressed” by it. Sometimes you think – I want to be like that, or I want to know that person, or I want that person. I think it goes the same way with institutions and how they present themselves to their audiences. In the case of the Church it was also cultural, but the extent to which it was opulent in it’s material dimension is quite clearly an endeavour to impress its audience and hold tight the herd it mastered and shaped.
When you actually start thinking about this you become in a sense free, because you actually aren’t concerned with how something presents itself, but rather what is the content of it. I think that for a large part of people it’s fairly difficult to get away from the crowd. To actually be aware of what it is that they want and of that what it is that has been printed in them by their social and cultural surroundings and what is their true wanting. To break free from such a mind-set actually takes a bit of courage – not an heroic kind of courage, but the courage to actually be wrong – to learn about oneself without the pre-conceived ideas we consciously or unconsciously have been re-projecting and programming our minds with for our whole lives. Some people think we are born with certain qualities and gifts. Up to a small extent, I think that to be true, but I really believe that 95% of what we are or what we can do comes from what has been printed in our minds and how we decide to relate with our limitations and capabilities. You see, it’s not like that when you are born you have a completely empty canvas. It’s pretty much empty for most of what matters, but in a sense you have already spent 9 months in the womb of your mother so all that has printed directly not only into your brain but also into your nerve system and organism. So when you are born you are already shaped by a multitude of habits and events that your mother (and consequently the environment) has printed in you. And then, you start being shaped once again by those who spend the most time with you and by your environment and culture. You learn the language you are spoken to, not a particular language that’s somehow correlated to your supposed nationality or birthplace, but the one that’s repeated daily. The same goes for a lot of other things.
And because besides our genetic mapping (which I really think doesn’t account that much to what we become) everything that we become can either be a natural absorbing of the ways of life and thinking we are exposed to regularly or a reaction to that, by means of rational thought. So in a sense to become free (and I’m borrowing some ideas of Jiddu Krishnamurti here) you have to undergo a process of acknowledgement of your own self, of your own way of thinking and how that translates into the person you are. The good thing about this is it’s not dogmatic, because you can’t read about yourself, you have to pay attention, to deliberately focus on perceiving how your way of being comes into existence, how your thoughts come to the surface of your conscious being. So how do they start? Because thinking is in a way a death activity, as it’s always based on the past. You can’t think without the past. Thoughts just don’t come about what you don’t know, they can only come about what you already experienced. You can project this knowledge into an unknown field, or into the idea of the “future”, something that hasn’t yet happened, but still, the source of thought is always in the past. So if one breaks free from the past, if one settles in the moment, then one consciously refuses to think, the same goes regarding projecting the future. In a sense this is also counterproductive depending on what you want to achieve. If you really want to achieve something you have to think about it. But if you are looking to break the bondage of time, or the idea of time, then you have to let go of thought, in a sense.
And how can one actually do that? I think meditation is a fairly good way of doing it. I mean you can just go and live in the moment and let it to chance the fact that you become clarified about yourself. The difference is, you’re actually letting it to fortune, to chance, something that is important. Because you may just find out, or you may not, whereas if you actually practice meditation you’ll at some point understand how your mind works, due to the simple process of it. I mean, I’m not much into the discourse that goes with most of meditation proponents, all pinky and beautiful. I think if you go into it searching for some sort of fulfilment, or searching to fill in a void in yourself, you’ll be quite disappointed. Actually you may just widen the void, because you become aware of how void things are, how much emptiness there is, both in material and psychological aspects of reality. But if you start doing it, not to reach a certain state, not in search of an objective thing, but instead just for the sake of sitting still and looking at yourself (metaphorically speaking of course) you might just be surprised by what comes from it and, most importantly, you’ll be surprised at your own power – because you see, this is not knowledge that’s been handed down to you by others, it’s knowledge you get directly from yourself and this is empowering.
And why is it important? Well, in a sense it’s your life you know. You live it once, that’s it. As soon as you understand yourself you are actually more able to steer in the direction you want, to do what brings you joy, because you’ll be aware of what brings you joy. And it seems it really helps your body, mind and brain altogether, besides the know thyself part. So why not?
In one of the afternoons we did a walk through the city, visiting some things in the city center, eating some sweet treats at a coffee and then visiting the river side and public park near it. It’s a fairly interesting area, although I think it probably was much funnier when they allowed small bars all the way along the river. Now, by what Catarina told me, they don’t, so it probably died a bit regarding nightlife fun.
It definitively looks like a cool spot to go chill at night or even during the day and have a drink (or a couple of them), but now you can’t do that anymore.
So many people wonder how I’m travelling, if I have money I’m just burning, if I do something along the way or if I get financed somehow to do it.
Mostly I’m working through freelancing platforms for some clients all over the world. Some are continuous collaborations other are one time jobs alone. I also sell some photography through micro-stock agencies which earn me a very tiny bit of money from time to time, but the thing is, when it’s all taken into account it allows for this.
I’m going to show you some of what I do. I started working with Nils while still on Switzerland and then I kept on working with him while on Turin and I still worked with him in Berlin and even now in Prague. He’s from Belgium, is a photographer but also an entrepreneur.
He produces some beautiful handmade cases for apple products, from iPad to Macbook Pro. They’re quite classy, practical and beautifully made. You can check his website and order one for you if you would like to give your dear macbook a solid yet aesthetically pleasant case. Check them HERE
So this is one of the type of works I do. But I also do architecture/real state image retouching, preparing images for catalogs and website presentations, such as this
And while in Turin I was also doing some video editing for Brian Sloan, who’s an american entrepreneur actually living in China. The product he invented is something quite particular, I mean, it’s a male vibrator that doesn’t require you to stroke it. I had done him the original presentation video (green screen keying, color balancing and editing) and now he had set up a small video commenting on the most funny comments people all over the web made about his “product”. It’s funny and if you want one – I haven’t really tried one yet but I mean, it probably is pleasant – just check the video and find out all about his crowd funding campaign and how to order one.
Most of the people I work with I find them through freelancing platforms such as Elance.com, oDesk.com, Peopleperhour.com or freelancer.com . It’s amazing the range of services people outsource or search through these platforms. It actually is a pretty good idea also, because in a way you get free from the usual job routine and just do freelancing, keeping and changing clients as it seems fit or happens. You can also develop quite a decent feedback online that can grant you newer clients, besides people with whom you work, if happy, will certainly spread the word to people they know.
I really like the liberty it gives you, in a sense that you can decide to move to someplace, where the cost of living isn’t that high for instance and work through the internet for clients who pay higher (relatively) to what you would make doing the same for local clients. So this opens up a whole new world of opportunities and it may just be the beginning of a slow revolution regarding the way most people work. It’s one of the amazing things about the internet is it’s potential to create these structures of interaction. Because, even though it’s all virtual, or most of it virtual, in the end it translates into the material world, as work, as money that enters your account and also in possible networking or new acquaintances in real life. So it does spread from the virtual to the real world and we shouldn’t be naive regarding the implications of such systems – It’s gonna revolutionise the world I’m pretty sure.
Also, it kinda takes of the middle man in many senses, meaning a more direct interaction between service providers and clients in need of those services.
I’ll develop a bit this topic in the next post, also giving you some ideas and tips I’ve found successful in working through the internet.
It’s not like you can become millionaire, but you can actually create a steady income and the good thing is, you can work at what you like and that translates into an ever increasing portfolio and an ever increasing knowledge in your field of action. If you’re an entrepreneur then a whole new world also opens up because you can quickly and efficiently set up teams across the world of different people working with different skills. You can even maximize your current activities by relying on outsourcing and playing with time-zone differences, jumping over many limitations regarding services you can provide. Just think for instance. If you’re a photographer you can outsource part of the editing to someone on the opposite side of the world, so while you’re asleep they can be doing work in their regular working hours and when you wake up you actually just saved a ton of time.
If you want to know some more about working online please comment and I’ll try my best to help you.
Thank you so much for making the stay so pleasant!
Keep tuned! And if you need some image editing services or photography feel free to contact me!
And … occupy the present!