I visited Portugal during the middle of February to work in the factory on new products we will launch at ICFF in New York in May. I also had a day photographing new pieces with Alexandre Kumagai, a talented Portugese designer who has worked as De La Espada's product developer for six years. Kuma (as we know him) is now based in a small town near the factory.
The De La Espada factory is on the edge of a very small village called Lentisqueira of about 200 inhabitants, many of whom have lived there all their lives and know each other. On the morning of the day of our photoshoot we loaded the four Windsor chairs into a small white van and drove around the vicinity of the village, we stopped on the side of small country lanes and jumped out with chairs. I took photos, Kuma helped me carry and set up, we explored 3 or 4 sites around the village.
Quite a few cars stopped or slowed down to near walking pace and people inside looked enquiringly at us, two elderly gentlemen on bicycles discussed our activities at distance for some time. At some point Kuma walked into the village to get a coffee.
Later in the afternoon I walked out from the factory alone with my camera and two Windsor chairs. I walked around the woods near the factory, I suppose I looked fairly odd. I said hello to a woman working in a field and a man wheeling his bicycle. I found a good site for photography and was absorbed in the production of images. I eventually became aware that a group of around eight villagers had gathered and were stood talking about seventy meters away from me. Eventually a man walked from the group and through the woods toward me. I was feeling a little nervous, maybe I had upset them, was I trespassing?
The man said in quite a loud voice "This isn't a good place to take photos." I thought I must be on someone's private land, I began to apologise, he said "No no its ok, but why? Why take photos here, it isnt good?!" I began explaining, I liked the effect of the trees and the light...he looked disbelievingly at me as if to ask did I think he was a fool? He then told me, in a fast running and quite animated stream of words, "This morning you were seen out at Señor [so and so's] field, then at the barn, then at the woods, then the Japanese man went to get coffee, then you are walking around with chairs on your back and in the trees here taking photos.....what are you doing?!"