José Ramos is a landscape photographer and doctor from Portugal, currently living in Lisbon. He started his photographic career eighteen years ago, captivated by the newly developed digital technology in visual creative arts. This passion for digital art and photography became the artistic medium he has chosen to express himself; the goal of his art is to pay homage to the beauty and power of the world which surrounds us.
His images have been published several times in National Geographic printed magazine and in many other international photography magazines. He has received several international photo awards and his work has been featured on Discovery, The Telegraph, CNN Travel, Sony and others. José leads photography tours in Portugal and he greatly enjoys helping other photographers on their own path of artistic discovery. Beyond image making and teaching, he has also collaborated with many international photography brands, including BenQ, LG, Thinktank, Nisi, FLM, Huawei, Honor, Vivo, Vallerret and others. His work is sold as fine art prints worldwide and is now also available for sale as exclusive NFTs.
José divides his time between two careers – working as a professional photographer and as a physician specialized in psychiatry. He strongly feels that there is a creative synergy between his work as a photographer and a psychiatrist; the commonalities and differences of each discipline mutually enrich and foster his work.
Iceland, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon during the midnight sun, 2016
Conceptually speaking, José very often offers his personal thoughts, experiences and creative or philosophical reflections about his images. In his work, the image creation process is just beginning when he captures his landscapes with the press of a shutter button. This process continues during his selection and final editing of portfolio images, is documented in his own written words, and later is carried on by the reactions, thoughts, and emotions of each person who views the final image. In a way, his audience re-creates the image inside themselves, made unique by their own experiences and viewpoints. For José, his images are intrinsically intended to raise awareness of the natural world and to support protection of the environment. Each image contains embedded concepts, stories, and philosophies, acknowledging both the fragility and the power of Humankind in an ever changing and intensely fascinating world.
Headshot made in Iceland 2016
“I was born in a small town in the south of Portugal, and during my childhood, I automatically developed a strong connection to the outdoor world. Nature has always been a safe place where my mind and heart can feel free and heal. At the same time, I have always had a strong creative urge inside me, first channeled through music, later replaced by the discovery of photography, 18 years ago. Photography represented a perfect symbiosis between love for nature and love for art and creation, so I quickly got addicted to it.
I was in my second year of Med School back then, and I had to invest a lot of time into medical graduation, which in Portugal corresponds to a 6-year university degree, plus one year of generalized hospital practice and then a further 5 years working full time and becoming a specialist. Photography remained for long just a passionate hobby, but things smoothly progressed and photography took off as a serious parallel career 6-7 years ago.
I was able to devote more time to the craft, which brought so many opportunities related to magazine publishing, licensing, collaborations and workshops. During my residency in Psychiatry, I also had the pleasure of creating a Photo Therapy project for psychiatric patients, which taught me a lot about the power of photography to channel emotions and provide opportunities for reflection and inner change.
Photography can be both used as a therapeutic tool to improve well-being and mental health, with no specific guidelines to do it, or as a tool in a formal psycho-therapeutic setting coordinated by a mental health professional, directed to people with mental illness. Both approaches are based on the immense power of images to effectively communicate with our emotional core, triggering sensations, memories, feelings, thoughts, and all kinds of insights. According to most theories that study the therapeutic power of images, there is a consensus that visual inputs can quite often bypass our cognitive defenses, being able to establish a deeper connection with the self, opening doors to enhance the exploration of situations that trigger suffering, acting as a “catalyst” of deep-seated memories and emotions. As you might imagine, this has tremendous potential and can be used in all sorts of contexts, from individual self-expression and self-knowledge to coordinated treatment approaches to those who need help. For example, the creation of my own images is definitely therapeutic to me, but they also contain a profound wish to also help others, even if it’s just to let them relax for a brief moment while they delve into the scene or, even better, to make viewers stop, watch, read, integrate, feel, and reach deeper levels of significance that will enrich their present moment.
It is obviously extremely difficult to manage both careers at the same time, but I cannot imagine one without the other, so I just try as hard as I can to keep pushing forward. My manifesto on my website says: When the aesthetic power of Nature meets a man’s vision of the world, creation takes place and images become the crystallized hybrid product of this encounter. Traveling and endlessly searching for the light, the silence, and the lessons of the landscape”. I love to present my vision of the world as seen through my eyes and soul, hoping I can at least take others there just for a moment, to the moment which lies so intense in my memory, and that’s what really keeps me going.
Landscape photography has given me many gifts: it allowed me to channel my creative urges into the depiction of the natural beauty of the world and gave me the freedom of expression, translated through both my aesthetic approach to images, but also through the stories I embed on each one. Even though quite often most of the photographic process is a struggle, with endless hours of waiting, frustration with climate, physical suffering and so much time devoted to finding the best light, the truth is that there is always a deep sense of meaning for me in doing this.
Photography makes you infinitely more conscious of the world you live in, as you start seeing all its details and subtleties, not only thinking about how it would look through the viewfinder of your camera but also incorporating the world you see into yourself, crossing the boundaries of your ego and merging with the outside world. Nature becomes a part of you, you become a part of nature, increasing the deep and often forgotten conscience that we are all part of a big “whole”. “
Dettifoss waterfall area in Iceland, 2016
Workshops and Photo Tours:
- I’ve been running custom Photographic Workshops and Photo Tours in Portugal landscapes since 2012, with national and foreign clients. Contact me if you are interested in booking.
I decided to start participating in selected contests since the end of 2014, having won:
- TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) Trophy Award – Third Prize (2000 eur). Part of one of the world’s largest photo contests – Trierenberg Super Circuit 2015
- 16 images selected for exhibition at the four Salons of the Trierenberg Super Circuit Contest
- Contrast 2015 Photo Club Infinity Contest – Honourable Mention by the Photographic Society of America – Nature category
- Fstoppers Volume 5 2015 contest – Grand Jury Winner
- “Slow Landscapes Competition” – Photography Week Magazine – First place
- “Landscapes 101 Contest” – Digital Photography School – First prize among 26.000 submissions
Jokulsarlon ice beach in 2015
- Featured on the “200 Best Photos of Portugal on Instagram” book, published by Primebooks, with a selection of 12 photos, including cover image
- Featured on the “50 Best Spots of Portugal” book, published by Primebooks, with a selection of 5 photos
- Soon to be published selected Portfolio Book in Portugal
International Photo Magazines and Online Publishing:
- National Geographic – November 2021 – Double page photo feature
- National Geographic – June 2019 – Two double page photo feature
- National Geographic – May 2019 – Double page photo feature
- National Geographic – August 2018 – Singe page photo feature
- National Geographic – December 2017 – Double page photo feature
- National Geographic – October 2017 – Double page photo feature
- National Geographic – July 2017 – Single page photo feature
- National Geographic – May 2017 – Single page photo feature
- “Destinations” Travel Magazine – Milan Presse, 2012 – Published images
- Digital SLR Photography Magazine – December 2013 – Published images
- Cameracraft Photography Magazine – Q3 2014 – Cover image and full portfolio
- f2 Freelance Photographer Magazine – April 2014 – Cover image, full portfolio inside
- f2 Freelance Photographer Magazine – January/February 2015 – Two published photos, Article about tripods
- Photography Week: Issue 75, 2014 – Cover image
- Photography Week: Issue 80, 2014 – Cover image
- Photography Week: Issue 101, 2014 – Cover image
- Photography Week: Issue 160, 2015 – Cover image
- Photography Week: Issue 108, 2014 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 110, 2014 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 114, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 127, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 129, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 133, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 139, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 143, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 167, 2015 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 191, 2016 – Published image
- Photography Week: Issue 220, 2016 – Published image
- Camerapixo Magazine – “Diverse Subject Matters”, 2014 – Published portfolio
- Camperapixo HotShots Magazine – Vol 4 “We Inspire” – Published image
- Camerapixo Magazine – “Exploring Landscapes” edition, 2015 – Two published images
- Camerapixo Planet Earth – Vol 4 – Four published images
- Camperapixo HotShots Magazine – Vol 6 “We Inspire” – Published image
- Camerapixo Photography Awards – Vol 02 – Published Image
- Practical Photography Magazine – December 2015 – Published image, with interview and technical details
- The Telegraph – Photo of the Day – 4th January 2016 (Northern Lights photo in Jokulsarlon, Iceland)
- National Geographic Portugal Magazine – June 2017 – Published printed image
- National Geographic Portugal Magazine – August 2017 – Published printed image
- “Caras” – Portuguese National Magazine – featured photo “Colossus” – August 2016
- “Visão” – Portuguese National News Magazine – featured photo “The Broken Promise” – April 2016
- Cidade 21 – Portuguese Lifestyle Magazine – Cover and Selected Portfolio – December 2016
- NCultura – National Cultural Website – Featured in the monthly page “Best Portuguese Photographers”
- Photography Masterclass Magazine – Issue 50 – featured photo
- Climar – Specialized Interior Lighting – 2017 Catalogue – featured photo
- Cameracraft f2 Photography Magazine – January/February 2017 – featured article with selected portfolio
- “Seven Tips for Fine Art Landscape Photography” – Published on Petapixel, Viewbug, Vanguard offical page
- Live presentation, as part of the “Portugal Talents” panel, at the National Geographic Exodus Festival, in Aveiro, November 2019
- Ambassador for the On a Mission Reforestation Project
- Ambassador / Profit donor for the Give Back to Nature Reforestation Project
- World Photography Day – 19th August 2015 – Image featured on major portuguese TV Channel (SIC), as part of the Olhares.com gallery 2015 selection feature
Pro Bono Collaborations:
- Background image for Poster about Palliative Care – National Palliative Care Congress 2013 – Lisbon
- Cover image for advertising purposes of a workshop at Hospital Fernando Fonseca (Lisbon) about “Ageing“
- Guest photographic mentorship during March, July and October 2015 at the photo critique website Photoforte
Using Photography as a Therapeutic Tool:
- PhotoTherapy Project at my Department’s Psychiatric Day Hospital during 2012 – work presented at the International PhotoTherapy simposium in Turku, Finland (2013) and published on Poster in the Portuguese National Psychiatry Congress (2014)
Ursa Beach in 2017, with the new FLM Tripod
Photo Press Writer:
- Writer for the f2 Freelance Photographer Magazine – Icon Publications
- Interviewed by Viewbug, IcelandMag, PhotographyArt, Serfreelancer, NCultura.pt; LatinosBehindTheLens, InterestingPhotographers, VerEFicar, Whispers Magazine. Enjoy The Algarve Magazine. Featured in many other websites.
- Selling prints in medium and large print formats, as well as canvas prints. Shipping to all the world.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in 2015
- Participated in seven individual and collective exhibitions in Portugal
José has extensive experience in collaborating with brands and creating synergies with them. Over the years he has collaborated with the following brands:
- BenQ Europe – Ambassador; reviewer, prototype tester
- Huawei Portugal Ambassador and Next Image Contest Judge in 2020
- Vivo Smartphones – invitation to create landscape images with the newly launched Vivo X23 Smartphone in 2019. Images were used in the Main World Launch Event.
- Huawei Smartphones – invitation to create landscape images with the newly launched Nova Series Smartphones in 2019. Images were used in the Main World Launch Event.
- Honor Smartphones – invitation to create landscape images with the newly launched Honor Smartphones in 2019. Images were used in the Main World Launch Event.
- Nisi Filters – Ambassador, product tester
- Venus Optics Laowa – Ambassador
- LG Portugal – former Portugal landscape photography ambassador
- Mindshift Backpacks
- FLM Tripods – Premium tripods handcrafted in Germany – Ambassador for the brand
- Vallerret Gloves – Ambassador, product tester
- Skylum International – one of the quickest growing photo editing companies – product tester, image licensing
- Former extensive collaborations with brands like Manfrotto, Vanguard and Formatt Hitech filters