‘The Flying Photographer’: a documentary showcasing Fernando Guerra

‘The Flying Photographer’: a documentary showcasing Fernando Guerra
Still from 'The Flying Photographer' showing Fernando Guerra behind his camera.
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‘The Flying Photographer’ is a new film that brings architecture, photography, and documentary together into one beautiful package. The documentary sheds light on the elusive Fernando Guerra, one of the world’s most well-known architectural photographers. Despite being internationally recognized and sought after – despite his photographs being the centre of much dialogue and writing – Guerra has pretty well succeeded in avoiding the limelight when it comes to himself. Sara Nunes, a director at the Building Pictures firm behind the documentary, hopes ‘The Flying Photographer’ will allow insight into the creative’s life and work. It stands to be one of the rare times that the cameras are turned on the photographer.

Born in Lisbon, Guerra has been taking photos since he was 16 and then trained as an architect before focusing more on photography. His work highlights people and the spaces they inhabit in stunning compositions. Contrary to what you would think, Guerra disclosed in a 2013 interview that it took him a while to combine his love for photography and architecture having ‘never took photos of [his work] seriously.’ He has photographed the architectural prowess of many renowned photography Álvaro Siza, Isay Weinfeld, ArthurCasas, and Zaha Hadid. If you haven’t seen works by Guerra, or think you haven’t, he and his brother, Sérgio, created an image bank in 2004, called Ulitmas Reportagens, that highlights the works by Guerra and allows the works he captures to be disseminated and shared.

The documentary follows Guerra through a year of traveling, photographing buildings and the people they contain. Nunes grafted the title from a comment by Alvaro Siza at the Valmor Prize quite literally describing the style of Guerra’s work schedule, which spans the world. Nunes followed Guerra to Brazil and Dubai to begin the documentary. While there, architects like Weinfeld, Casas, Márcio Kogan and the X-Architects of the United Arab Emirates.

Nunes feels that what Guerra captures in Asia where Siza and Carlos Castanheira are creating intriguing new architectural feats, will most captivate audiences. For Nunes, the experience ‘is still a dream’ that she hasn’t quite woken up from, yet.

‘I go to many places,’ says Guerra in the film. ‘But I never have time.’

‘I asked him: “Fernando, how was it?” And he was like […]’ recalls Weinfeld in the documentary indicating Guerra’s continuous search for perfection. ‘Maybe he doesn’t realise how beautiful his work is.’

The project has been facilitated through the sponsorship of O Feliz and panoramah! and the partnership of the Casa da Arquitectura. ‘The Flying Photographer’ will debut at Porto’s Arquitecturas Film Festival. The documentary will also start out as Canon, Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa, Ordem dos Arquitectos, UTEP, Archdaily, FAUP, and FAUL. Nunes hopes that the documentary will find its way to Netflix to inspire viewers on a wider scale and offer a glimpse at the talent and humanity of Guerra.