The watchful eye of Jessé Manuel


“Maybe I am a dreamer because I believe in love between human beings.”

Art and travel, summarize, as a whole, the being of Jessé Manuel, a 26 year-old Angolan, known by the way he looks through the lens, capturing with detail and delicacy the most astonishing pictures.  Jessé Manuel affirms that his art is a way to express what goes inside him, what he thinks and what he lives.

Even though his works have more emphasis, Jessé assumes that his impulse to photography arose from a strong artistic vein that is present in the family as a heritage. Before discovering the love of photography, Jesse explored painting and drawing, with the necessity to express and portray aspects from the inside world, aspects that he saw and felt. “With the passage of time and the increase of school obligations and work, painting became more complicated because to paint I needed to be confined in a space, while the photography is a world that enables me to do so without necessarily being trapped in a place and as I had the need to express myself, photography emerged as a window that offered wings to this need that I had, “he said.


As a Civil Engineer student, Jessé found fulfilment in photography, to go out and photograph everything from landscapes to portraits of people, photographs that capture social aspects of the country (Angola). He also tries to capture beauty and aesthetic elements as well as feelings of poverty repulsion.
According to Jessé, it is on the social photography where he tries to capture the emotion of human beings, especially those who are part of the excluded minority, helping to raise awareness among those who don’t live in the same circumstances.

“If I don’t feel anything, I don’t photograph.”

When he used to paint, most of his works were the result of the inner journeys that he used to do. Even though he knew that these were abstractions, the surrealism of the canvas was mostly because of the dreams he had and what he thought about the way people could interact with animals and the way the smells could interfere in the physical things.


Jessé recently received the “Foto-Rali” (Photo-Rally) award, which is a photography prize of a contest that is embedded in the National Rally Rai Championship. He was awarded the champion for winning the majority of the tests, 5 out of 8.

When asked about books, Jesse answered that he grew up reading for the fact that books were a way of entertainment since there was no Internet and the television was limited. The books that most influenced the photographer were of Jules Verne but he assumed that his Reading list is vast ranging from Angolan to foreigner writers and from novels to academic books.


Being a true believer of the world, the photography for him starts inside of his heart. He likes to create inner worlds and to travel in the utopia. The camera is just a way to freeze and keep what he feels. As he acknowledges the beauty of the sunset in his hometown, the photographer affirms that most of his pictures have this relation between the social, the landscape and the sunset, portraying messages of peace and hope.

With his artistic vein and obvious talent, Jessé Manuel still has a lot to travel, to explore and to offer beauty through his photographs to the world.


Article: José Africano Vemba e Luaia Gomes Pereira

Translation: Luaia Gomes Pereira