Rinaldo Coelho: Using photography (and restlessness) to highlight the beauty of simplicity

Atualizado: 25 de nov.

Leo Saldanha created original NFoTo content

Photographer Rinaldo Coelho (Rio de Janeiro) fell in love with photography very early in his life. Something was directly influenced by the camera that his father gave him. Rinaldo had previous experience in photography, shooting events, and, above all, artistic photography. Photography is part of the artist's life because of his concern to see beauty in everyday life.

Today, as a photographer with consistent experience in fine art and film analog photography, Rinaldo continues not only to shoot but also to be very focused on photography studies and projects.

More recently, he has delved into blockchain photography and experimented with artificial intelligence by making inventive reinterpretations of his own images. In the end, Rinaldo shows a facet of sensitivity and an ingenious mix of analog photography that now expands to NFTs and their infinite possibilities. Check out the interview!

Rinaldo Coelho is an NFoTo member and released the single edition as part of the NFoTo 1/1 initiative. The work Lost Childhood is unique, even though it is digital, and represents the artist's work and legacy very well.

NFoTo: How did you start in photography?

Rinaldo Coelho: "My background in photography goes back a long way, because my father, although he was not a professional, was passionate about photography."

I was a teenager, back in the mid-70s, and my father gave me his Yashica 6x6, which, in addition to 120mm film, also accepted 35mm film with the use of an adapter. I still have this camera and want to use it in the near future.

Regarding my experience, I only started to develop myself in photography when I started working and having my own income. That's when I was able to buy my first 35mm SLR camera, a Canon AE1 Program. Later I bought several lenses and another 35mm, also from Canon, and an A1.

With these two cameras, I tried to enter the world of event photography, like birthday parties and weddings, with the help of a friend who is also a photographer. However, my main job as an employee of a state-owned bank kept me busy and made it difficult to reconcile the two activities. I ended up favoring technology within the public institution, and photography definitely became a hobby.

But even as a hobby, I continued to develop my passion for photography and deepened my studies in the analog lab, developing black-and-white at home and even doing some freelance work in the world of visual arts and photojournalism.

I photographed musicians and visual artists to compose books and catalogs of works and some cultural events in Rio de Janeiro, such as Viva Rio with Betinho and Rio Cult in Rio Centro.

But what really launched me into fine art photography was participating in a joint effort in the Engenheiro Pedreira region of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro to help build the house of a very poor family that attended the church I belonged to. This family lived in a small favela (shanty town) in the middle of a garbage dump, and it was quite impressive to see the reality of that community.

I was able to photograph the people working while it was all happening in that environment, which generated the first material and later many others on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. All that work led me to my first exhibition, which was held at the Rio de Janeiro State Library in October 1996 and was called "A Força de um Detalhe."

I often say that this exhibition was my "genesis" as a photographer and opened my eyes to the possibility of developing artistic work.

At the time, I was starting to grow in the technology field, which led me to step away from the life of a professional photographer. I even received proposals from curators who saw possibilities in the type of work I did, but it was not possible to work on both activities.

As I said, even though I'm not working professionally, photography has always had a very special place in my life. And today I'm on my way to step away from the corporate world that I've been engaged in for about 35 years and finally focus on the art that I love so much.

NFoTo: What do you look for in the creative process, and what is special for you while creating in photography?

Rinaldo Coelho - I have a restless way of seeing the world. I am not satisfied contemplating something common without thinking, imagining, and trying to see it from another perspective. Yet the common beauty of many themes continues to dazzle me, no matter how commonplace they may be. The simple beauty of a flower seen up close, a sunset and sunrise contrasting with the green and relief of the mountains or a beach, classic and modern architectural aesthetics—all of this is sometimes just a glimpse in front of us, and we take it for granted and it becomes commonplace, but they have a beauty of their own that continues to delight and inspire us.

This is the starting point of my creative process and where all my motivation lies. looking at the ordinary and looking for something original and unique that enchants or excites me.

In the end, the force that drives me in photography is definitely curiosity. I want to discover something new—something that surprises me and captivates my attention and emotions. And in that sense, everyday scenes are also one of the themes that I most appreciate. Seeing people in common everyday situations and trying to capture the details that are overshadowed is a challenge I take on whenever I have a camera in my hands.

NFoTo: Why are you interested in NFT photography?

Rinaldo Coelho: "My biggest interest in photography is the image itself." From analogue photography to digital photography and reaching the present day with the NFT standard, everything revolves around the image and the pleasure of contemplating it.

In this sense, NFT is the natural evolution of film, photographic paper, fine art prints, raw files, and more.

I see in the NFT an embryo of something larger that has yet to be created or thought of, but it contains important elements that have the potential to revolutionize the entire photography and arts market in general.

It is important to understand that there is no NFT photograph; there is NFT that reproduces it. Photography will always be the protagonist, but it cannot stand alone and needs to be attentive to technological developments as well as ways of consuming art. Under penalty of reproducing historical errors, where in the past art itself was not considered art and today occupies spaces in museums, galleries, and public and private spaces along with paintings, sculptures, engravings, and many other forms of artistic expression,

As I am very involved in the technological environment, in a way, it was natural to envision the NFTs as a new dimension of photography, and this feels very natural. Although still very connected to analog, the infinity of possibilities that open up in the world of blockchains is enormous, and we still have no way of predicting where photography will go. Anyway, wherever she goes, I want to be there.