I am    a Lisbon and London based documentary... © Joao Silva
I am a Lisbon and London based documentary photographer, born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1988.
Aside of working on my personal projects I have been a freelance contributor to The New York Times since 2017, shooting assignments in Europe, mostly in Portugal and in the United Kingdom. Other of my major clients include: Bloomberg News, Le Monde, A+E Networks (for whom I  regularly shoot set photography in Europe and in North Africa), HISTORY channel, The Guardian Weekend, Aljazeera, HUCK magazine, NZZ, Newsweek, WIRED and TROUW.

I focus my independent photography work on long / medium term projects.  “How can I help You?”, photographed in 2016, is a story about the life of the faceless workers of Call Centres in India and in the Philippines, which was published in The New York Times, Wired, Newsweek, and in Süddeutsche Zeitung. This project was also exhibited in Lisbon, at Espaço Santo Catarina, in 2017. “Manila before Duterte” - a photography essay shot in 2016 in the Philippines - is  a project about how the city of Manila was before President Rodrigo Duterte was elected, which was featured in the New Yorker.

As a journalist and a 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.

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. 

Since 2017 I have been researching and 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 2020 I got a National Geographic funding to work on a project in Portugal related to COVID-19 and social inequality.

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.


  • “Where do I belong?” - Part of the exhibition Prémio Estação Imagem. Galeria de Arte do Convento do Espírito Santo, Loulé.  (08-2020 - 09-2020)

  • “Documenting East London” - Espaço Cultural das Mercês, Lisboa. (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.  


  • 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 inequality related to COVID-19 in Portugal.

  • Prémio Estação Imagem - Main prize of Prémio Estação Imagem 2020, with project "Where do I belong?". July 2020

  •  “30 under 30” Magnum award for ‘Young Documentary Photographers’ with project “Turning The Page”. January 2015.

  • London photo essay competition, Financial Times. With project Chasing London. September 2014.

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 and a Leica Ambassador.
Website via Visura

José Sarmento Matos is integrated to:
Visura site builder, a tool to grow your photography business
Visura's network for visual storytellers and journalists
A photography & film archive by Visura
Photography grants, open calls, and contests
A newsfeed for visual storytellers