I am a 35 years old Portuguese documentary photographer... © Joao Silva
I am a 35 years old Portuguese documentary photographer based in between Lisbon and London.

After studying Journalism at UCP in Lisbon (2007-2010) in December 2015 I completed an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, where I taught, first as a visitor lecturer and after as an associated lecturer, on the BA and MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography courses (2015 - 2019).

As a journalist, a film maker and a documentary photographer I am interested in covering topics related to social inequality and identity, analysing relevant contemporary world issues by focusing on people’s personal stories. I also focus my work on my street photography, documenting day-to-day life around me, analysing the changes of Urban and Social landscape.

Most recently I have been working on:
1. the Portuguese diaspora to Venezuela and the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis
2. on racism in Portugal towards the African / Portuguese diaspora or in topics related to housing, inequality and identity in Europe.
As a freelance photojournalist I have work on commission for The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian Weekend, Aljazeera, HISTORY Channel, HBO Max, Le Monde, Liberation, HUCK Magazine and Bloomberg. I have published my personal work in several  media outlets, such as, Newsweek, The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic and The New Yorker, and I have seen my film Jamaika screened in International film festivals.
In 2014 I completed my Masters degree in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at London College of Communication. Also in London, I started in 2013 my Documenting East London photography series, which was exhibited in Lisbon in March 2019, at Espaço Cultural das Mercês and published in The Lens Blog New York Times.

After my degree, in 2015, I was considered by Magnum Photos one of the best 30 photographers under the age of 30 in the world, with my project ‘Turning The Page’. Developed in Portugal, the project focused on the change in individuals who have been traumatised as a result of violent crimes. This project was in exhibition in different galleries in Portugal, from November 2015 until late 2016, and in 2015 it was exhibited in a United Nations exhibition in Paris with Dysturb.

Also in 2015 I was part of the Project Sea Change, a documentary photography collective about today’s young Europeans and how they were dealing with the social and financial crisis in Europe. The project was published in a book format and it was exhibited in galleries and venues in cities such as London, Oslo, Berlin, Stavanger and Vienna. 

From 2017 to 2019 I researched and focus on documenting the Portuguese diaspora in Venezuela, and the reversed emigration phenomenon currently happening to Portugal: ´Where do I belong? abandoning the Venezuelan Dream´, is a story about a migrant family and their loss of belonging and identity. This story was published by The Washington Post in June 2020. Also in 2020 I won the main prize of Prémio Estação Imagem with this story. Estação Imagem is the most important photojournalism award in Portugal.

In September 2020 I got a National Geographic funding to work on a project in Portugal related to COVID-19 and social inequality. I worked on a project with the Jamaica community, in Seixal, Portugal, on housing inequality in times of a pandemic. This collaboration resulted in a film shown at Doc Lisboa 2021 and a multimedia exhibition at MAAT museum, Lisbon, in the same year. In 2022, I won the Estação Imagem award daily life category with this project.

3 years after working in-depth with the community: documenting their battle for decent housing, their moving process and the demolishing of the neighbourhood, in 2024 I self-published the book JAMAIKA.

In addition to my photography practice, I am driven by sharing my own working experience through teaching and tutoring workshops. I taught Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication for 4 years (2016-2019) to the Masters degree and Bachelor degree. I have also been tutoring photography and visual storytelling workshops in the UK, with Leica, HUCK magazine and VANS. In January 2020 I started a new partnership with CANON Portugal to run workshops in Portugal. And also run one to one workshop on documentary and street photography.


  • JAMAIKA at Royal Photography Society in Bristol part of the International Exhibition (02/02/24 - 02/06/24)
  • JAMAIKA at NARRATIVA, Lisboa. (13/01/24 - (24/01/24)
  • “Jamaika também é Portugal” Maat Lisboa. (04/2021 - 09/2021)
  • Prémio Estação Imagem - as the winner of Prémio Estação Imagem the work “Where do I belong? Abandoning the Venezuelan Dream” is in exhibition at Galeria de Arte do Convento do Espírito Santo. Loulé, Portugal. (08/2020 - 09/2020)
  • “Documenting East London” - Espaço cultural das Mercês. Lisbon, Portugal. (03/2019)
  • “Brexit on the Rock - Gibraltar” - Photo Scratch. London, United Kingdom. (05/2018).
  • “How Can I help You?” - Espaço Santa Catarina, Lisboa, Portugal. (09/2017).
  • “Turning the Page” - Edifício dos CTT, Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal. (07/2017 - 08/2017).
  • “How Can I help you?” - Photo Scratch. London, United Kingdom. (11/2016).
  • “Turning the Page” - Espaço Atmosfera M, Porto, Portugal. (04/2016).
  • “Turning the Page” - Espaço Novo Banco, Lisboa, Portugal. (11/2015 - 02/2016).
  • “Project Sea Change” - Literaturhaus, Vienna, Austria. (10/2015).
  • Dysturb - 70th anniversary of the United Nations. France. (10/2015).
  • “Project Sea Change” - Stavanger Kulturhus, Stavanger, Norway. (09/2015).
  • “Magnum 30 under 30” - The Photography Show, The NEC. Birmingham, United Kingdom. (03/2015).
  • “Project Sea Change” - The House of Literature, Oslo, Norway. (01/2015).
  • “Consider this” - Final show of MAPJD 2014 students. London, United Kingdom. (01/2015).


Project Sea Change - Sold out.  

JAMAIKA - self published- 2024


  • Doc Lisboa - short doc Jamaika screened at International Cinema Festival. 2021-2022
  • National Geographic COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists - in 2020 I became a National Geographic Explorer and a grantee to work on a project about social, housing and racial inequality related to COVID-19 in Portugal.
  • Eddie Adams Bill Eppridge Memorial Award - October 2019.
  • Prémio Estação Imagem -  Daily life main award 2022, with project JAMAIKA
  • Prémio Estação Imagem -  Main prize of Estação Imagem Award 2020 with project “Where do I belong? Abandoning the Venezuelan Dream” about the Portuguese diaspora to Venezuela and its reversed emigration to Portugal. July 2020
  • London photo essay competition, Financial Times. Project Chasing London. September 2014
  • “30 under 30” Magnum award for ‘Young Documentary Photographers’. Project “Turning the Page”. January 2015.

Other working experience:

Associated Lecturer at London College of Communication, UAL. Teaching BA and MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism. (11/2015 - CURRENT).

Leica Akadamie Ambassador (09/2016 - CURRENT).

Photojournalist Intern, Público Newspaper, Portugal, Lisboa. (04/2013 - 08/2013).

Photographer, ALPINE PHOTOSHOP, Zermatt, Switzerland. (07/2012 - 03/2013).



  • University of the Arts London. London College of Communication, Photojournalism and Documentary photography - MA, London United Kingdom. (2014-2015).
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Media Studies and Communication — BA, Lisboa, Portugal. (2007) - (2010).
  • Universid Ramón Llull, Media Studies and Communication — Bachelor / Erasmus, Barcelona, Spain. (09-2009) - (02-2010)
  • Queensland International Business Academy, Academic English, IELTS — Coolangatta, Australia. (09-2010) - (02-2011).


José Sarmento Matos

José Sarmento Matos, is a Portuguese documentary photographer based in London
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