Samuka Marinho creates comic books. I mean, really creates them – from coming up with the concept, to photographing, retouching, drawing, writing the script, modeling for his own shoots, and producing.
The self-taught photographer, who hails from Brazil, first started out as an art director in advertising agencies. In an effort to improve and expand his work, Samuka turned to illustrations and photo retouching. Then came photography and authoring. The “perfect alchemy” as he calls it, gives him the complete freedom of vision and control he desires to master his techniques, rather than limit them.
Samuka is the photographer, retoucher, illustrator, author, and producer behind “The Corsairs Project”, a tribute to the Golden Age of Piracy, which is composed of over 400 images. The project focuses on the English-hired privateer fleets, The Corsairs, in the early 18th century. It is the perfect blend of historical facts, imagined events, and incredibly detailed reimaginings of pirates and life during the era.
In our interview, Samuka talks more about the project, his process, and the importance of being completely self-sufficient.
How did you start “The Corsairs Project”?
I worked as a retoucher for other photographers for a long time. It was during that time that I realized I didn’t want to work only with customer requests, and I wanted to be able to make assemblies with images without lights and without correct image perspectives, so I decided to shoot to have greater creative and technical freedom. I fell in love with illumination.
Studying the camera and the lights, I created “The Corsairs Project” narrative photography project and turned it into a comic book. It was my first photographic essay and was a way to study and get to know my camera.
The initial idea was to produce an essay with a simple costume and background for a short session with my girlfriend over the weekend. In the end, it took 26 months and there were more than 400 scenes. I created and built my own set in my home. It was as if I had been living on a ship for two years. I also drew and sewed more than 50 costumes – that took three months. And, I was an extra in most of the scenes.
I work with retouching and I follow the work of many photographers and illustrators. But now, I’m starting to be the author of everything, including the script and all the fonts used in the comic book design. I needed to be complete and self-sufficient.