17th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Peninsula Images
"View from Fort Funston"
By Fausto Araujo
About Fausto Araujo
Click on photo for larger image.
At the age of 15, Fausto Araujo had decided that photography would be his life's work. The year was 1959, and Araujo, who was raised in rural Brazil, had saved enough money to buy his very own Lumiere French box camera.
"However, my parents had different ideas, and there was no questioning at that time. I ended up being a university professor and a medical researcher. Photography almost disappeared from my life until a few years ago," Araujo said.
This year Araujo's atmospheric photograph of hang gliders at Fort Funston was a judges' pick for first place in the Peninsula Images category.
"It's not an easy place to photograph. The wind is constant, and fog covers the area for most of the year. There are a few windows in the weather, especially in the early spring, which is when I go there. When I shot 'View From Fort Funston,' it was one of those rare days. Fantastic afternoon light, moderate wind and the fog coming off the sea," Araujo said.
After years of lying dormant, Araujo's passion for photography began to reemerge as his professional life slowed down. "I've enjoyed photography all my life, but I never took it seriously until I joined the Palo Alto Camera Club around 1990," Araujo said.
"When I got my first camera as a teenager I was hooked. Film and processing were very expensive at that time in Brazil, but I always found a way to use my precious camera. I still have it," he added.
Aside from a few seminars and workshops he has attended over the years, Araujo has no formal training in photography. His passion for taking pictures and his years of scientific training have sufficed, and today Araujo is an accomplished and mostly self-taught amateur photographer.
"For many years I used photography to document my work when I was a student and when working for scientific publications. I did a lot of microphotography using a microscope and did all the processing myself in a darkroom," Araujo said.
Over the years, Araujo's photos have won him awards in microphotography competitions and have been published in scientific and floral society journals.
Araujo first came to the United States in 1964 to attend Tulane University in New Orleans. After returning briefly to Brazil, Araujo moved to California to work and to study medicine at Stanford and later went to work for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
As a senior investigator at the PAMF Research Institute's Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Araujo dedicated 25 years to the study of infectious disease. He was drawn to the cause after witnessing firsthand the needless suffering and calamity they caused in his native country.
"I come from an area in Brazil where I saw many people dying from parasitic diseases caused by poor food and water quality. I wanted to do something to help," he said.
Since his retirement in 2003, Araujo has had more time to pursue his love for photography, and he speaks passionately about what drives him to record what he sees.
"I have always been an outdoor person and have visited many places to enjoy nature both visually and physically. Photography allows me to keep a record of my emotions when visiting places I enjoy. It provides me with a means to reenact the emotional satisfaction I felt at the occasion of the visit. As an art, I love that photography is a means by which the photographer can express himself and convey his feelings to others," Araujo said.
Araujo says that he has been inspired over the years by landscape photographers David Muench, William Neill and Ansel Adams. There are however, a few photographers closer to home who have encouraged Araujo's renewed passion for photography.
"In our camera club here in Palo Alto I admire Raphael Riquelme for his landscapes and portraits. Also, Anne McKenzie, who passed away recently, for her ability to make trivial things look beautiful. They influenced me to work more seriously on my photography," Araujo said.
In the future Araujo hopes to return to Central America to photograph the Mayan ruins at Tical and Caracol.
"I visited the Riviera Maya once and photographed Tulum and Chichen Itza. I was fascinated by those places and plan to go back again someday to photograph the ruins at Caracol in Belize and Tical in Guatemala."