Who is Rafael Moura, the photographer behind our story in Rio?

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci

A bottle shaped like an apple in a bright and happy yellow hue with stripes reminiscent of the parasols lining the seashore... a fresh and airy scent, evocative of whipped cream, mandarin orange and gardenia...  Nina Soleil, the new fragrance by Nina Ricci, is an oriental citrus that expresses the joy of life and sun-drenched light of summer days. Brazilian photographer Rafael Moura has captured this joy and light in the streets of Rio.

Amidst the perfect contours of Oscar Niemeyer's architectural complexes, models dressed in the colourful graphic creations of the Nina Ricci brand eagerly indulge in the floral and fruity scent. Here, we see the world of perfume, urban masterpieces and the lively soul of Rio meet to create a unique and playful atmosphere where the sun illuminates each shot with its incandescent heat.

To celebrate the launch of Nina Soleil, we asked the spirited artist behind these vibrant images to tell us more about his convictions, his love for the ocean and his definition of the perfect photo.

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci

When did you start photography and what do you like to capture most in an image?

I started taking photos at a very young age using my father’s analogue camera, but it was just a hobby then. About eleven years ago I got serious about photography and I think ‘Anak di Bali’ (which means ‘Child of Bali’) was the first of my pictures to make an impact. I like to photograph people and nature most of all. I take pictures in big cities like New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro...but also in the Hawaiian ocean, in an African jungle or the fjords in Norway.

I like to connect with the people and places I visit and capture authentic scenes and situations of these humans in their environment, in a natural way. I always seek to show ‘the real world’ in my photos and integrate this concept into different themes such as fashion, journalism, documentary, surfing, landscape and portraits.

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci

What inspires you most?

The ocean plays a big role in my photography. I’m a beach boy, born and raised in Rio.

I’ve lived in places like the Gold Coast in Australia, Bali in Indonesia and the Algarve in Portugal. I’ve also spent many seasons in Hawaii and travelled around the Galapagos Islands and the Mediterranean sea. I’m a huge fan of surfing and free diving. Sometimes I spend hours swimming with dolphins or observing sharks, orcas and sea lions, much like on my recent trip to the Galapagos to make a short documentary film.

I also enjoy filming surfers watching perfect waves break. Being in water is about being free, there’s no better feeling! I also take inspiration from nature, people, fashion, design, music, film, architecture, animals and books... everything is art. I can take inspiration from anything and create my own world view from it.

My motto in life is: think it, feel it, do it.

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci

What is your definition of a successful photograph?

Social networks have made photography very popular and it has become commonplace to see photos void of meaning. Yet, my father always told me that images should always tell a story. And in my creative view, they should have a soul, a meaning, send a message. Whether it be a message to inspire or to raise awareness.

Photography is a way of expressing ideologies or a point of view through emotions, feelings and sensitivity. Photos can be used to convey freedom of expression, political opinions, to report on situations, to become the voice of the voiceless or to convey unrest. That’s why I’m so passionate about photojournalism and documentary photography too.

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci

Why do you prefer film camera?

The beauty of analogue photography lies in the artist's ability to create an intentional, real and authentic image. Photographic film teaches you to be intentional, not only with your subject but with your content, with what you create. When you understand how film can be used to create emotion and how it reflects the relationship you have with your subject, you are able to really feel what your subject feels.

Only analogue photography is able to capture raw and pure emotion in my view. You always focus on the next photo instead of looking at the one you just took. And the anticipation you feel waiting to develop the rolls of film is exciting. I find it much better than getting to see your photos instantly.

You build big hopes and worries while you wait to unveil the ‘mystery’ because you can never quite remember exactly everything you photographed.

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci

Where are the most beautiful places to take photos in Rio?

The beach. The people of Rio - Cariocas - love the beach, it’s part of our culture.  We spend the whole day on the beach and celebrate sunsets as if they were a grand concert. Despite discrimination still being a big issue, the sandy beaches of Rio remain the most democratic area of our city. That’s where you’ll see a businessman playing footvolley next to a young boy selling coconuts for a living. Where boys from the Cantagalo favela surf the same waves as the rich residents of Ipanema or Arpoador. They all come together to share the same environment.


Rafael Moura's Instagram account:

Interview Rafael Moura - Nina Ricci
Nina Soleil - Nina Ricci
Nina Soleil - Nina Ricci

Nina Soleil

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