Adriano Pimenta

Mar 21st, 2017

Adriano Pimenta


Adriano Pimenta was born in 1968 in Porto, Portugal and graduated from the Porto University in the department of Architecture in 1994. Since 2013, Adriano has been living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia working as a Senior Architecture Consultant on the Riyadh Metro project. In 2015, Adriano won the Art Jameel Photography Award (AJPA), a Middle East GCC photo competition.

Tell us about the images that we’re featuring?

I arrived in Saudi Arabia, from Porto – Portugal, in 2013 to work for the Metro Riyadh Project as an Architect Consultant. My first steps were in Riyadh and its neighbourhoods as some western concerns were evident about safety in Saudi Arabia. After a while my level of confidence grew and I started to go further in my photo road trips around Saudi Arabia and surrounding countries such as the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman. I still cannot visit Kuwait and Yemen, for obvious war reasons. I try to be alert and to understand the signs that are given to me during a photo trip. If I am looking for something special I will loose something else. Saudi Arabia is about the lack of frontiers and where a small object can be the main purpose of the landscape, it is a country where infinite black straight roads drive you through something already lost in the past.

I always keep in mind a quote by Wim Wenders in the Economist, October 2015

“(…) I am interested in our civilisation. I am interested in what traces we leave in landscapes, in cities and places. But I wait until people have gone, until they are out of the shot. So the place can start talking about us. Places are so much more able to evoke people when people are out. (…).”

Does technology affect your photography?

For sure, as we live surrounded by sophisticated technology. First I use a digital camera(s) with all the advantages and disadvantages of this technology compared to the old system.

I still remember film cameras and the number of photos that we used to be able to take. Now,  the problem is to become more selective.

(How) does social media affect you and your art?

I started with Facebook and I used and abused this tool to share my photos. First the iPhone photos and then the ones with my camera…after a while I was pushed to try Instagram.

Recently, I stopped posting so many photos as I am trying to understand what to do with the archive that I am adding to every weekend. At the moment I am posting in this new platform Ello, It is very well designed, people on it are looking for and chasing something new, no ads and lots of sharing.

Why did you start taking photos?

I remember the first camera that I received from my father. I was maybe 14 years old. It was an Agfa 110 Mini from 1982.

I used to take photos for professional purposes as an architect, things that I could use as future reference for my work. It could be a modern building or a heritage site or just something like a painting or a corner. Then I started to look for something more in the uninhabited spaces that I love.

How do you determine if a work has been a success?

For architecture and photography the concern is the same, you must love it and it must always be a gift to someone. Another way to measure success are competitions. I was in a middle eastern competition with countries from the region and judged by an international jury. I won, so it was rewarding and encouraging.

What does the future hold for your work?

My dream is to publish a book.