Interview with photographer Virgilio Silva

This week we are featuring an interview with Virgilio Silva. Virgilio, born in mainland Portugal, in Cascais, and lives for almost 15 years on Madeira Island, since August 1998.

Virgilio, thank you for the opportunity that you allow us a ‘peek’ into your relationship with the Green Pearl of the Atlantic also known as Madeira. Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
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Interview with photographer Phil

We are very happy that Phil has agreed on taking part in an interview for the Levadeiros of Madeira. Phil is a photographer from Manchester, UK.

Phil, first of all we want to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with the readers of Levadeiros of Madeira. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
I’ve always had a love of photography but only recently bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D60. I like to photograph scenery, people and nature or anything quirky I see from day to day. I found having to switch from one lense to another an inconvenience so bought a second Nikon, a D5100.

Do you work as a professional photographer or is photography mainly a hobby for you?
It’s just a hobby. Some friends have said my work is good enough to sell, but I’ve never got round to it.

shimmering Festa do Piexe Espada, Camara de Lobos, Madeira
shimmering Festa do Piexe Espada, Camara de Lobos, Madeira

We see on your Flickr stream that you have a very large collection of Madeira images, captured with your cameras. Can you describe Madeira in just only one sentence?
Surprising! There’s always something happening around the corner!

How many times have you visited Madeira Island? And how did you hear (or read) about the island?
I’ve always wanted to visit Madeira, it seemed so intriguing. In 2007 I got married and we took our honeymoon the following year to Funchal and got hooked from day one.

“There is colour everywhere, around every corner. The least favourite thing, of course, is coming home!”

After discovering the island through your eyes and camera-lens, what would be your reason to visit it again?
I like the natural beauty, the light and the fact that we always find something new and exciting as we travel the island.

We say that Madeira Island is an excellent destination for photographers. Do you agree? If so, why?
Madeira is full of surprises. From Funchal with it’s Old Town to the mountains and scenery. There is always something going on in the villages and towns around the island.

When is the best season (for you) to travel to Madeira Island?
I think spring or summer are best. Although it’s a beautiful place, the weather can be a bit unpredictable in the winter.

Tell us about your most favourite, and also the least favourite thing about Madeira.
There is colour everywhere, around every corner. The least favourite thing, of course, is coming home!

St Benedict, Ribeira Brava
St Benedict, Ribeira Brava

What is the first thing you recommend people to do when they arrive in Madeira?
I’d say hire a car and explore the island.

Where do you recommend other photographers to go for the best pictures on Madeira Island?
The villages, mountains and never drive past a ‘Miradouro’ (viewpoint) sign.

Can you compare your Madeira photo collection with the other photo collections you have on your Flickr stream?
Before my first visit I looked at what other people had posted on Flickr, but in reality, there is no shortage of subjects to photograph

What do you think of the locals/people from Madeira?
The Madeiran people are very friendly. The place is clean and there is virtually no crime.

Any other thing about Madeira that travellers/photographers should know?
Just keep your eyes open. All the villages have their own ‘Festas’. The churches are well worth exploring too. Most are un-locked and you can wander inside and admire the decorations and architecture.

Where can our readers find you on the web?
Flickr: philra08