Gerard Castello-Lopes began making photographs in 1955 when, as an avid skin-diver, he sought to capture on film the underwater world that so fascinated him. The immense technical difficulties of such an endeavor soon became apparent, and he began to pursue his art on shore-in the cities, towns, and countryside of Portugal. Early on, Castello-Lopes consciously adopted the style and technique-down to the same type of camera and film-of the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson to create his images of people and life in Portugal. Since the 1980s, Castello-Lopes, now himself one of the masters of the medium, has pursued his art in a more purely aesthetic manner, without the documentary impetus of his earlier work. The exhibition of twenty-two works on view in the Theater Gallery presents a short survey of Castello-Lopes's career. Some historians have in retrospect referred to the 1950s as "the golden age of Portuguese photography." A book published in 1959 that proved to be seminal for future generations of the nation's photographers-Lisbon Mournful, Lisbon Joyful-included images by Castello-Lopes as well as Sena da Silva, Carlos Calvet, and Carlos Afonso Dias. However, the development of photography as a freely expressive medium faced many hindrances in Portugal of the 1950s-as indeed it had throughout the century. Most significant among them was the long rule (1926-1968) of the dictator Salazar. Censorship laws greatly restricted the creation and publication of photographs. Like the nineteenth-century pioneers of the medium, Castello-Lopes had to learn for himself how to take and print photographs, as nowhere was photography offered as a course of study. The political situation, coupled with the geographic isolation of the nation situated on the western edge of the Iberian peninsula-blocked by Franco's Spain from the rest of Europe and by the Atlantic from the rest of the world-make the accomplishments of the photographers in 1950s Portugal even more amazing. The growing renown of his art in his own country was not enough to sustain Castello-Lopes. The difficulties of censorship and the limited professional opportunities offered to a photographer in Portugal at that time led him to pursue photography only as an avocation. In his own words, he "became a Sunday photographer." It was not until the end of Salazar's reign in 1968-and really until the 1974 revolution ended dictatorship altogether-that the situation for photographers, artists, and freethinkers began to improve. In the early 1980s, as a new generation of photographers began to seek out the roots of their practice, Castello-Lopes was approached by a young photography historian to present his work publicly once more. Spurred on by this interest in his early photographs, he began new explorations of his medium-this time, however, seeking out the expressive, often paradoxical and poetic nuances of his subjects, rather than, as he had earlier, clearly documenting his world. In writing about his chosen field of creativity, Castello-Lopes has proclaimed: If I reflect on what I experience each time I contemplate a "great" photograph, I note that in this fugitive instant I am filled with a sense of wonder, a sense of communion, and reencounter, as though for the length of that moment nothing bad could happen to me, the image itself bestowing, for a split second, the illusion of immortality. These jubilant findings led me to conclude that the goal of a photographic image should be that of transmitting this euphoria independently of its specific content.