Pedro Oliveira is a Brazilian photographer who moved to the United States at the young age of 22. His initial goal was to further his education and find new opportunities to improve himself as a human being. Little did he know that his journey in photography would lead him to create a series of photographic essays called “Careful: Soul Inside.”

He aimed to portray the lives of homeless people through his photos. He believes that even the most vulnerable members of the population have stories to share. His project remains relevant to this day, especially when considering that California ranks number one for the most number of Americans sleeping on the streets. Things took a turn for the worse when the coronavirus outbreak hit the US. Without any form of shelter, the homeless population finds themselves exposed to the elements while lacking access to adequate healthcare.

Through his photos, Pedro’s mission resonates louder now more than ever. Pedro mingled with the homeless, listened to their stories in detail, and took their pictures. His project had one goal: to depict the fine line that separates the homeless from the rest of society.

Pedro’s journey

Pedro didn’t know anything about photography before coming to the US. He never thought that he would fall in love with the idea of capturing emotions. After coming to the US, his friend had suggested him to buy a camera if he wanted to take up photography as his profession. He used a significant portion of his savings to buy a Canon 6D, along with four lenses: Canon 50mm f/1.2, Canon 85mm f/1.2, 24-105mm f/4, and 35mm f/1.4.  

Now that Pedro is widely popular in the US, he feels that it’s high time he upgraded his camera. He has shortlisted Canon 5D Mark IV to shoot his next project.

Inspiration for Careful: Soul Inside

Pedro, in many of his interviews, had shared that the inspiration for Careful: Soul Inside came from his childhood. He almost became homeless when he was just 8. His father had passed away, leaving two siblings and his mother. With no shelter over their head, Pedro and his family had to live in a place that was previously the garage of their neighbor. This was a painful experience for Pedro. He feels that no one cared about their existence. It was as if they were invisible to society. 

Pedro and his family did manage to find shelter. But he feels that most homeless people aren’t as lucky as they were. And with time, their conditions get worse.

The success of Careful: Soul Inside

Careful: Soul Inside has already touched the hearts of thousands. Pedro has won many awards for this project and he publicly said that he owes the awards to all the homeless who shared their stories. He went on to say that the success of the project is dedicated to the millions of homeless people who don’t have a shelter to sleep at night.

What started as a one-time project has now become a part of Pedro’s life. He had begun shooting in Portland and New York, but his passion for telling the story of the homeless through his lenses took him to Sao Paulo, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Rio de Janerio. 

Pedro is not one of those who like to simply snap photos of the homeless and leave. He tries to share the processed images with his subjects. If he manages to reconnect with them, he shows the pictures and wants to know their reactions. So far, Pedro has only received positive responses from them and that, for him, is the biggest award.

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