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Thiago Vargas Neubau Eyewear

Thiago Vargas on his travels: from Brazil to Berlin, how one photographer found his passion

We invited the Brasilia-born photographer and model scout Thiago Vargas to shoot our newest frames on some of his current favourite male model faces.

From his posi­tion in front of the lens, Thi­a­go Var­gas saw his future. Spend­ing his child­hood walk­ing in Brazil­ian Beau­ty Pageants and pos­ing as a kid-mod­el, with his moth­er sup­port­ing him from beyond the stage, Var­gas, ear­ly on learned what it takes to turn heads and what makes a good image, excep­tion­al. Tran­si­tion­ing out from the world of IT, cod­ing and com­put­ers, and into the flash­ing lights and spon­tane­ity of fash­ion, Var­gas felt com­pelled to exper­i­ment. It was upon pur­chas­ing his first DSLR cam­era back in 2016 that his pas­sion and tal­ent for pho­tog­ra­phy was made clear. 

We invit­ed Thi­a­go to shoot a selec­tion of our cur­rent design high­lights on three male mod­el faces he cur­rent­ly worked with in his role as scout and book­er and want­ed to know more about his cre­ative process and his travels. 

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You’re from Brazil orig­i­nal­ly, where did you grow up and at what point did you real­ize your love for tak­ing photos? 

I grew up in Brasil­ia, the cap­i­tal, spend­ing my child­hood and youth there. I’ve been always some­how involved with pho­tog­ra­phy but at an ear­ly age I was most­ly in the front of the cam­era. Sur­pris­ing­ly, I was a mod­el as a child, tak­ing part in children’s beau­ty pageants. It was fun­ny to see all the hys­ter­i­cal moth­ers scream­ing at their chil­dren back­stage, try­ing to act out all the moves they should do… but amidst this my own moth­er was kind to me.
I swapped sides, mov­ing behind the cam­era, as an adult, now liv­ing in Ger­many. In 2016 I got my first DSLR cam­era and start­ed exper­i­ment­ing. I fell in love with tak­ing pic­tures, how it invit­ed peo­ple to see the world through my eyes. 

What draws you to tak­ing por­traits, as this seems to make up the body of your work? I have to admit, tak­ing por­traits was not a con­scious choice. 

I love fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy but it is much more about the scenery and the clothes. I like to cap­ture all spec­trums of emo­tion, and por­trai­ture-pho­tog­ra­phy helped to shape my work and it was then that I start­ed get­ting noticed. 

In terms of your role as a mod­el scout, can you recall any faces or per­son­al­i­ties that stood out to you the most? What qual­i­ties do you look for when scout­ing for talent/​models/​new faces? 

There are a lot of faces that have impressed me. But for sure one of the faces that have stuck in my mind belongs to the stun­ning Russ­ian mod­el, Nastya Kiriko­va, of whom I had the plea­sure to work with, as her book­er here in Ger­many. I caught myself look­ing at her pic­tures, on min­i­mum once a day. She is very edgy but some­how also has com­mer­cial appeal, which is what makes her very ver­sa­tile.
When scout­ing, I try to keep some stan­dards in mind, like mea­sure­ments. But what shapes you as a scout most­ly is your per­son­al taste and your vision on what is or is not beau­ti­ful. I per­son­al­ly tend to stay some­where between edgy and beau­ty – and faces always get me first, rather than body shape. 

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As an expat your­self, could you offer any advice for cre­atives look­ing to refine & sharp­en their skills and art abroad?

In my expe­ri­ence I would say, place the same effort into build­ing your net­work wher­ev­er you go. Just as you would put in to fin­ish your mas­ters or to work on your art. Most artists neglect this, which I believe is some­thing cru­cial to their suc­cess. Also, it often feels as though indi­vid­u­als in the arts field, from fash­ion to paint­ing, are using peo­ple, or that they them­selves are being used or abused. Because of that, they don’t net­work prop­er­ly. I also felt like that in some occa­sions, but I’m prag­mat­ic and so, after some time I real­ized, we all have doors, each with a vari­able amount of oppor­tu­ni­ties behind them, which can be opened with the right force. Every­body wants some­thing from you and you from them as well. Your only con­cern is to see how peo­ple behave once you’ve opened the door.

How did leav­ing your home shape your artis­tic identity?

I told myself from a young age that I wasn’t a cre­ative per­son, I was a com­put­er nerd basi­cal­ly. So I end­ed up study­ing infor­mat­ics and lat­er became an IT Man­ag­er. But, I start­ed to per­ceive myself dif­fer­ent­ly whilst liv­ing in Ger­many. The moment I saw that I did indeed have some cre­ative activ­i­ty” in my life was when I got mar­ried to a Ger­man Film direc­tor, pro­duc­er and script writer. Being so often sur­round­ed by cre­ative peo­ple made me see that I actu­al­ly had this with­in me all the time, I just wasn’t able to let it flow. To start, I was doing singing class­es, then music writ­ing and then began read­ing dif­fer­ent books about sto­ry­telling. For a peri­od of two years, I was an assis­tant for a Brazil­ian Painter friend of mine who lives in Berlin, I learned a lot about the art world in this peri­od. On the oth­er hand, I was help­ing a fel­low pho­tog­ra­ph­er friend of mine by some­times assist­ing or pos­ing for her art­works; and it was at that point that I decid­ed I would pur­sue pho­tog­ra­phy. She was men­tor­ing me in the begin­ning and at some point I nat­u­ral­ly became very com­mit­ted to it. 

23 Jun 2019 · neubau eyewear