Pedro Cabral (photographer)

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Pedro M Cabral
Born 1955 (age 58–59)
Lourenço Marques, Mozambique
Nationality Portuguese
Education IPF (Portuguese Institut of Photography)
Known for photography

Pedro M Cabral (Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, 20 June 1955) is a Portuguese photographer who attempts to capture images revealing the effects of time on life and environment in the region where he lives, Peniche, a fishermen town on the western central shoreline of Portugal.


He leaves Maputo in 1966 and starts living in Carcavelos, a small town not far from Lisbon. He attends courses of physical education at INEF (National Institut of Physical Education), later called Faculdade de Motricidade Humana (Faculty of Human Motricity).[1][2] He moves to Peniche where he will live since 1976. He works at a cooperative institution dealing with handicapped persons, mainly children (CERCI Peniche), for about fifteen years as director of the department for “technical and pedagogic matters”. He is the founder of a magazine published by a confederation of similar institutions called FENACERCI (National Federation of Cooperative Organizations For Social Solidarity) in which he takes charge of graphic conception, and publishes many of his photographs and others’[3]>.[4][5] He becomes one of the founding members of the ALA (Local Artisans Association),[6] located at the Fortress of Peniche, ancient prison converted into town’s museum.[7][8][9] He opens in Peniche the Número Um (Number One) where he makes exhibitions of works by local artists including himself.

His father, Augusto Cabral, biologist and director of the Natural History Museum of Maputo between 2007 and 2011, a colleague of the writer Mia Couto and close friend to the painter Malangatana [10] illustrated his books with drawings of plants and animals. He would inculcate in his soon the passion for art and photography. When living in Carcavelos, Cabral attends two courses at the IPF (Portuguese Institut of Photography) (en).[11]


Pedro Cabral starts devoting himself to photography since 1976. He is the author of a vast and diversified work. He prefers taking photos of fishermen houses, fishing boats, specific respects of fishing activities, illustrating the dominant economic activities of the place where he lives,[12] rocks, in short much of what has been generated by the sea influence and to which the erosion of Time gave origin and form.

He makes photographic registers [13] inspired by the purposes of the so-called salvage ethnography but, more than that, he questions what he registers unveiling the intimate meaning of the captured thing. Being figurative, any photographic register is a projection from the world. Bound to such condition, Cabral attempts in the meantime to transcend simple representation and unravel what “resonates” in a different dimension, containing a different meaning. It is there, in such dimension, that the mysteries of time and life that haunt the photographers’ eyes will be revealed. Abstract photography, experimental art issued from several inspirations, reveals details, patterns, lines, forms, colors. It «does not represent the subject in a literal way», it «communicates primarily through form, color, and curves rather than image detail[14][15][16][17]

Like with those who first practiced abstractionism, which is said to have been a reaction against the horrors of the Second World War,[18] silencing the pains suffered with the Portuguese Colonial War, which he lived on his own way, Pedro Cabral improvises facing the wounds he discovers on the matter of things dramatically reached by the effects of that time. He reacts with an impulsion dictated by his eyes, his and not other´s: "These artists valued spontaneity and improvisation, and they accorded the highest importance to process".[19] For instance, he captures the red dashes made by someone who has cleaned his brush on the macerated boards of a dead boat when painting a living one. Why does he do that? Because the boat died fighting for life, because someone forced it to die with no glory, because the tradition, which gave food to many, little or none gives now. So, pain turns into a kind of denounce, of which ambiguous figuration questions you with an explosion of colors and forms.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (pt) Faculdade de Motricidade Humana
  2. ^ Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, WIkimapia
  3. ^ Magazine cover with photo
  4. ^ Magazine cover with photo
  5. ^ (pt) FENACERCI
  6. ^ (pt) ALA
  7. ^ Fortress of Peniche at Flickr
  8. ^ (pt) Peniche Museum
  9. ^ (pt) Museu do Mar, museu imaginário
  10. ^ Malangatana at Southworld,net
  11. ^ IPF (Portuguese Institut of Photography
  12. ^ (pt) News 31 August 2001 at newspaper Oeste Online
  13. ^ Pictures at blog
  14. ^ Article at Photo Tuts
  15. ^ Abstract Photography Definition, article series by Ron Bigelow
  16. ^ Topics at Abstract Photography, Photohconnection
  17. ^ 40 examples of abstract photography by Bill Jones
  18. ^ Article by Mark Scott Abeln at Abstract Expressionistic Photography
  19. ^ Abstract Expressionism – Article by Stella Paul, Department of Education, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Web Museum at Ibiblio
  20. ^ Pedro Cabral, photographer – Illustrated article by Ricardo Costa

External links[edit]