I had the pleasure of visiting this newly founded gallery in the most glorious pink palacete recently, which is located on Praça da República in Loulé, having only opened in June of this year.
The gallery is over three floors and focuses on national and international fine art photography. I was warmly welcomed by owners, Anja and Philip Burks along with their enthusiastic team, who showed me around the gallery, where they have the most astounding pieces in the limelight.
When asked about the couple’s ambition to reignite the historic building, Anja Burks told The Portugal News that “We have been coming to the Algarve for many years and it is actually where we met and got married. We used to come here for vacations and we always loved this building, we would walk past and thought no one seems to be doing it up and it’s so beautiful, so we were in the lucky situation to be able to buy it.”
Philip added “We have been seeing what has been happening in Loulé over the years, and it has changed so much. Like Anja said we just loved the building and we have been collecting photography for the last 10 years and so it was becoming a bigger part of our lives so we thought how can we pursue this passion, why not open a gallery!”
Most curiously, they learnt that the building already had consent as a gallery, which made it easier for the couple to decide what to do with it once they did buy the building.
Their first successful exhibition focused on the theme of Fashion with three different photographers in the limelight: Kristian Schuller, Albert Watson and Bastiaan Woudt. With Anja adding that “We actually visited Albert Watson in New York last year to exhibit with us and we learnt that he came to the Algarve in the 1970’s. We chose to exhibit many photos which he took for Vogue Portugal over the years and put him in contact with the editor of Vogue. It resulted in a big interview and having one of his photos on the cover of their June issue.”
In The Pink have recently opened their second exhibition up to the public which features photography by Steve Schapiro. For some background, “renowned photographer Steve Schapiro who was born in New York, actually started out as a freelance photojournalist who captured defining moments of American history including capturing images of Martin Luther King, which are considered one of the most famous documentations of the civil rights movement.” Schapiro also achieved a reputation as an excellent portraitist where he photographed over 400 Hollywood films, which I won’t spoil but you can see at the gallery.
The layout at the gallery was perfect and I also really enjoyed the fact that they have incorporated photography books within the exhibition, with some available to buy, including a book about Steve Schapiro and Andy Warhol, where they are the first gallery to have exclusive access to this new book. Anja told The Portugal News that “It makes for the perfect gift for those who are interested in photography but may not be able to purchase original artwork.” Philip then added “We want to encourage everyone to become more interested in photography.”
Anja explained that “Andy Warhol was very shy and normally quite serious and Steve Schapiro has taken some shots where you get an in-depth view of the person, he has captured him laughing with his entourage and I think that is what is so special about him. Steve Schapiro always called himself the fly on the wall, and that is why artists liked him, because he wasn’t so present. He passed away at the beginning of the year so we never got to meet him, unfortunately.”
Regarding the exhibitions opening night, both Anja and Philip affirmed it had been a successful night, with photography enthusiasts “coming from quite far away just to visit the gallery”. “It is obviously a bit of a passion project for us but also because we have spent so much time here, it is our way of giving back to the community and bringing a new cultural place for those who are interested in photography or even art in general”, explained Anja.
Exploring different possibilities
Anja told The Portugal News “We want to take people on a journey to learn about art photography, photography is a more recent art form and people don’t really know that all the works we have here are editioned so we only have a certain amount and we work with world-class artists who guarantee that.” “We started with fashion, where the photographs are mainly staged in a studio or outside, and now we are showing Steve Schapiro, who has a completely different approach, where we are looking at unstaged work. He is photographing one special moment when you look into the soul of the people by spending a lot of time with them and it is a very personal way to get to know people.”
Vision for the future
When asked about whether the gallery will be focusing on Portuguese artists going forward, Anja explained that “we are currently trying to put this gallery on the map as a higher-end gallery for photography so that we have the possibility of attracting the likes of Steve Schapiro and Albert Watson but once we are a bit more established, we will want to look for talent in Portugal". Philip reiterated that “if we could find and represent two or three up-and-coming Portuguese photographers that would be amazing".
This ambitious gallery has a promising future and I am excited to see their upcoming exhibitions but for now I do urge art enthusiasts to visit their gallery next time you are in Loulé.
In The Pink Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am until 7pm and on Saturdays from 10am until 4pm. For more information and to get in touch please visit https://www.in-the-pink.com/