Words & Images by Miguel Neves
The sense of stillness is palpable, the scene before me otherworldly. In the archipelago of São Tomé e Príncipe the world is put on hold and time has no need to move forwards; the only real motion is the swaying of the banana trees and the Atlantic Ocean’s gentle waves that roll upon seemingly empty beaches.
This feeling of timelessness – of a land forgotten – is also present in the island’s colonial architecture. The tropical rainfalls of October to May leave their mark on São Tomé e Príncipe. They blemish the facades of the old Portuguese era buildings, leaving room for mould and vegetation to form between their cracks and tiles, blending the work of man and nature.
Perhaps the residents of São Tomé describe this sensation best with the islands’ motto of ‘leve, leve’, which translates to ‘lightly, lightly’. This seems to capture the idea that life here should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and that one should not trouble themselves with mundane problems that really do have no place among these parts.
It’s in this communion between man, nature and time that sets São Tomé e Príncipe apart and allows this place to consume you. You can get lost in thought here, free from worry, totally absorbed in a collage of green. You breath, hike up mountains, wander through villages and float in turquoise water, free from time’s constraints.
Miguel Neves is a travel photographer and videographer from Lisbon, Portugal who imbues his landscapes and portraits with genuine emotion, hoping to not only tell stories but shed light on the deeper connections that bind us to the world and to others.