Julio Borhidan

By Hugh Carslaw

“Good Music Soothes the Savaged Breast”, William Congreve (1670–1629)

If we substitute photography for music, this quote is a perfect start to getting an insight into the life, work and talent of Julio Borhidan. Until our interview, I only knew him as that cheery waiter at Salema’s Atlantico restaurant, but a “tip off” prompted me to become a bit more inquisitive and I’m glad I did.

Originally from north-west Romania, Julio has been coming to Salema since 2006 and, until 2011, would work here for six months each year. In 2012, he elected to make the Algarve his permanent home. With Salema being such a small and seasonal place, it is quite remarkable that Julio met his Romanian wife here.

They married in 2012 and now have two children, a son and a daughter. Their son, who is now five, proved to be the catalyst for Julio’s ever-increasing level of skill as a photographer. His pictures can now be viewed in exhibitions as far afield as Berlin and Amsterdam.

Julio explains: “Our son was born with a malformation of the heart and had his first operation 16 hours after being born. Since then, he has had three open-heart surgeries along with several other procedures. He has a malformation on the right side of his heart known as the Ebstein anomaly.  The specialist hospital – Santa Cruz, Carnaxide in Lisbon – has been absolutely fantastic. The staff treat us like family. We have found this incredibly stressful, but I discovered photography and it has proven to be a great stress reliever. I now have an outlet that is incredibly enjoyable and, perhaps more importantly, one which helps me to relax. Having had some success with my photographs makes me want to keep developing my skills.”

Mobile phone technology has transformed the way we take photographs and this is how Julio got started. He entered his mobile pictures into competitions on Instagram (GuruShots) and won the competition photo trigger. His success with just his mobile saw him winning not one but three cameras in separate competitions and he now has a Sony, a Canon and a Nikon.

“I now concentrate on three aspects of photography – landscape, portrait and macro (close-ups). With the cameras I have won, I have been able to be much more adventurous and creative with my pictures and this is why my photos have found themselves in major exhibitions in Lisbon, Amsterdam and Berlin.”

“I now sell my prints of Salema and sometimes I will get asked to do some specialist work. I am always thinking and worrying about our son, but if I am feeling calm and fulfilled, I think this helps me and in turn with the rest of our family life.“

One cannot help but admire the quality of Julio’s work. Who knows whether his photography will become a full-time career, but, in the meantime, one can only hope that his son’s treatments continue to meet with success and that Julio’s photographic talents will continue to be in receipt of even more much-deserved plaudits and recognition.


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