How did your artistic journey start?
I first picked up a camera shortly after I moved here from Portugal in 2015. A good friend who’s been a photographer for decades took a group of us out for a photo day in an abandoned industrial estate in Edinburgh. We took photos, developed them and printed them and prepared an exhibition. Since then I gained an interest and started collecting my own cameras and taking photos whenever I can.

How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
My work doesn’t follow a specific theme so much as it just reflects my experience. Since most of my photos are unplanned, it’s hard to find a cohesive theme that unites them. I like taking portraits, people as subjects are probably the most interesting and my favourite type of subject.

Can you walk us through your creative process?
Most of my photos are not planned or staged, I just look for them in the world around me and if I’m lucky I’ll see them on time, pull out the camera and snap it. I look for surreal, often dark and unusual things in the world around me and try to compose a frame that highlights what caught my attention.

How has your practice changed over time?
I stopped caring about gear as much. It took taking photos I really like with really bad cameras to realise it’s important to know and understand the tools you have at your disposal but ultimately they don’t matter and won’t define how good a photo is. A camera is a box that lets light in, that’s all. I also became less precious about my work. The analog process is extremely lenient, but the DIY aspect of developing everything myself means mistakes will happen, so I have to be ready for a blank roll every once in a while. Never get too attached to a photo that hasn’t come out yet.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
Focus on a different art. I have an absolute love for music, as a listener and creator. I find it very helpful to switch between interests when I’m facing creative blocks. Ideas are fluid and will definitely seep out of where they originated and infiltrate other creative processes. A song can spark an idea for a photo and vice versa.

Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love? 
Absolute love for Ian Allaway, the friend who got me into photography in the first place. We have very different styles but having learnt so much from him it’s undeniable he’s an influence. Diane Arbus is an inspiration, for having the eye to see things and people in a way they wouldn’t be seen by most other people. Also the whole Japanese Provoke era/movement, for teaching me focus is overrated and grain is great.

What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
It’s a big cliche, but just do it and do it often. I feel like for every photo of mine I really like there are 35 others in the same roll that are just okay, pedestrian terrible even sometimes. But that’s why we keep taking more. Hopefully with time and with every roll we start getting less than 35 bad ones. I would say I’m probably averaging 5 good ones per roll nowadays, which is big gains!

Is there anything else you would like people to know about your work or your experiences as an artist?
Nothing in particular about my work, get out there and buy film, it’s really expensive because no one buys it.

You can see more of Antero’s work on Instagram @tntero

Our Winter Show, Warm Voices, runs at Six Foot Gallery until 9 January 2024.

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