Chagas was born in 1977 in Luanda, Angola, where he lives.
He studied photography at the University of Wales in Newport (2008); London College of Communication (2007); Portugal's Escola Técnica de Imagem e Comunicação (2002), and Centro Comunitário de Arcena (1999). In 2013 his Found Not Taken series was exhibited in Luanda, Encyclopedic City, the Angolan Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, winning the Golden Lion for best national pavilion. He was one of three artists shortlisted for the 11th Novo Banco Photo Award, with an exhibition at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2015).
Solo exhibitions have taken place at Kunst Haus Wien, Museum Hundertwasser in Vienna (2016); Instituto Camões - Centro Cultural Português, Luanda (2014); Belfast Exposed Photography, Belfast (2014); and Memorial Agostinho Neto, Luanda (2013). Notable group exhibitions include Recent Histories - New African Photography at the Walther Collection in Ulm (2017); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art at Seattle Art Museum and other venues (2015-16); Ocean of Images, the New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, MMK Frankfurt, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, and other venues (2014-15); Journal, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2014); NO FLY ZONE, Unlimited Mileage, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2013); Transit, OCA, São Paulo (2013); RAVY Visual Arts Festival, Yaoundé (2012); Future-makers, LVR-LandesMuseum, Bonn (2012); and the second Luanda Triennial (2010).