TIME Lightbox Follow Friday isa series featuring the work of photographers using Instagram in new, interesting and engaging ways.
This week on #LightBoxFF, TIME speaks to Brazilian architect and photographer Décio Araújo (@dearaujo). Inspired by his formal training as an architect, Araújo uses mobile apps to create fascinating images that illuminate issues of urban expansion in one of the world’s largest cities.
Lightbox: Tell us about yourself and how you became interested in photography?
Décio Araújo: I am an architect and I really love the relations between city, people and nature. Perhaps because of my passion for architecture, I like to photograph urban spaces and buildings. I try to capture a different point of view of the city and different perspectives on daily urban life.
Lightbox: Does photography offer creative freedom you might not have in your daily work as an architect?
Décio Araújo: My photography involves architectural elements, but it also involves other issues about the architecture – such as urban aspects of the city, social issues, and the relationship between built spaces, people and nature. I see relationships that go beyond architectural projects, problems that large cities have like chaos, sprawl and lack of planning, which influence the population of the city. Photography is a way to express elements that are not part of my daily work.
Lightbox: Has your understanding of the Instagram platform changed since you first started using it?
Décio Araújo: I started using Instagram four years ago. At the time, I did not have an idea of the size of the app and what could be [achieved] through it. Until then, my photos were more day-to-day [snaps] and did not follow any project. I realized the possibility of sharing my point of view about the city I live in with others, from [different] countries and Brazil itself. I had never published any of my photographs before Instagram.
Lightbox: Tell us about your creative and technical process. How do you make these images?
Décio Araújo: Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and is often judged by its uncontrolled growth and lack of planning—which are problems any city can [face]. I believe we can see beauty in many places where people think it does not exist—and it is through photography that I express this. All of my photos are made 100% on the phone, from the picture to the final treatment and sharing. I have a list of smartphone apps that I use to make collages (including UnionApp, FragmentApp, and Filterstorm) of mostly urban spaces and buildings in the city. I use different or identical photographs to develop the “deconstructed” image. After this, I take care of aesthetic elements such as symmetry, balance and proportion.
Lightbox: What do you hope viewers will see in your photographs?
Décio Araújo: I want to make people more critical of the space they live in, encourage them to look, to go to areas that are not attractive, to be more poetic and analytical.
Décio Araújo is an architect based in Sao Paulo. Follow him on Instagram @dearaujo.