Lisbon-based photographer Ruben Vicente has been to countries all over Europe and Asia, from Iceland to India, Myanmar to Japan, and yet some of his most enchanting work has been created just a stone’s throw from home, amidst the mountains and coastal shores of western Portugal.
In addition the the serene forests and dizzying cliffs of Sintra Cascais Natural Park, the photographer has set his sights on the volcanos of in Azores. After braving Faial’s Capelinhos Volcano, which erupted as recently as the late 1950s, he made his way to the top of Mount Pico. Extending far above all the other mountains in Azores, the colossal mountain boasts a volcanic pinnacle, or Piquinho, that reaches the highest point in all of Portugal. Vicente remembers gazing below at the landscape, dotted with lush lagoons and veiled in looming clouds, as one of the most remarkable of his lifetime thus far.
In Pico, cows can be spotted roaming the streets, allowed free rein by their shepherd guardians. They graze in the open fields and travel on the open road alongside motor vehicles. Not unlike the roaming cattle, Vicente travels throughout the country in search of moments awash in the sparkling light of Portugal. Even in weather not suited for shooting, he will search the diverse landscape for hidden treasures to revisit in better light, normally at sunrise and sundown.
When shooting his home country, Vicente hopes to convey the sense of belonging and kinship that the environment inspires. Says the artist of Portugal, “It is small indeed, but with a huge diversity. I can be shooting in the mountains and a couple of hours later be near the coast.”
All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is a category partner on Feature Shoot.