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About Us

That the familiar world is often unsatisfactory cannot be denied, but it is not, for all that, one that we need abandon. We need not be seduced into evasion of it any more than we need be appalled by it into silence… Bad as it is, the world is potentially full of good photographs. But to be good, photographs have to be full of the world.

— Dorothea Lange

Paper Ghosts, also known as Fantasmas de Papel, is a Portugal-based collection of vintage photos and modern stories, a project conceived by Melinda Misuraca, an American writer, and Russell Porcas, a British photographer.

We created Paper Ghosts to share our photos of Portuguese everyday life, snapped a long time ago by ordinary people. Often tiny enough to nestle in the palm of a hand, each vintage snapshot is scanned and digitally restored — a meticulous process of many hours — while respecting its original integrity. In addition to our thrice-weekly photo postings, we publish stories in both English and Portuguese, about the power of found photos and other ephemera to haunt those of us still breathing.

Boy With Baby, Luanda, Angola - Circa 1950's
Album V: Girl In Window, Porto Santo, Madeira,1934

Please join us in reviving our paper family and catching a glimpse of their past shenanigans. Let us know what stories they stir up in you. And wherever it is that you find yourself beached during these strange and difficult days, we hope it’s a soulful place where you might revive your own dormant qualities. Perhaps those aspects aren’t truly dead, but merely sleeping. May we each wake our own gorgeous ghosts, and reacquaint ourselves with them. Desfrutar!

Melinda and Russell


Headshot Russell Porcas

Russell Porcas

Founder and Photo Editor

Russell is an award-winning British advertising photographer. As a lad he was an assistant to Annie Liebovitz, followed by three decades spent chasing the perfect shot, back during the last golden days of film photography. He lives in Portugal.

Headshot Melinda Misuraca

Melinda Misuraca

Founder, Literary Mistress and Art Director

Melinda is a writer, adventurer, kitchen witch, old photo fisherwoman and maker of (mostly good) trouble. Melinda lives in Portugal and California.

Headshot Paulo Abreu

Paulo Abreu


Paulo is a physicist and a clumsy motorcyclist. He works in Plasma Physics in the UK and loves the north Atlantic waters. He lives in Portugal and the UK.

Headshot Britta Szymczak

Britta Szymczak


Britta is a mystic at heart, on a lifelong path of learning what it means to be human. She loves to support fellow humans on their adventurous journeys through their inner landscapes, dark and light. She lives in Portugal.

Headshot Vinicius Miazaki

Vinícius Miazaki

Web Maestro

Vinícius is a web designer and developer. Born in Brazil into a Japanese family, exploring different cultures and learning new languages are two of his biggest interests. He lives in California.

Headshot David McConkie

David McConkie

Project Sponsor

David McConkie is a machinist, photographer, social justice warrior, woodcarver, father and loyal friend who would peel his own skin off for you if you needed it.