“I like that the person I am taking pictures of can feel at home, peaceful and just be themselves. And I take care of capturing the rest.”
Martina Matencio is a talented photographer based in Barcelona, Spain. She’s been living and creating there since she was 20 years old. Today, she took some time off for Māgoa to answer a few of our questions about her career and creative process.
Can you briefly introduce yourself? How did you start with photography?
My name is Martina and I’m a photographer based in Barcelona. My bond with photography started, when I had to take care of a mentally ill child, while he was dying. It was then and there I’ve discovered that taking pictures (in this case of him) was the best thing I could do to bring something to the world.
What does your creative process look like? How do you work?
I don’t really have a specific creative process; I start creating everything from scratch and then step by step I create what comes to my mind at a particular time. Creating something is the best thing in the world, especially if you have freedom. When I’m working for a big client, there’s always a mood board behind it, but mainly I get really inspired by the moment.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
I don’t have a specific photographer who influenced me. I love to look through photography books, check on Instagram and absorb new things, but I never had a photographic referent. I have always felt very attracted to Klimt and Schiele and their very characteristic way of painting, really subtle but with so much strength. Maybe there’s some influence from these painters visible in my pictures 😉
What was the first job you ever got?
I really don’t remember. I started taking pictures for www.lunademarte.com, a second-hand clothes shop that I launched with a friend. I think that was “my first job” and from then onwards, I got new gigs, which contributed to where I am today.
You once said that you like to take pictures about the nostalgia of people, capturing their essence. What techniques do you use to get your photographs to do that?
I just ask the models to let go, to be calm and little by little they will end up feeling the way they really feel. Sometimes I’ve been told that a photo session with me is like a relaxing session (laughter). And it is true because it is very calm and chill. I like that the person I am taking pictures of can feel at home, peaceful and just be themselves. And I take care of capturing the rest.
Where, if at all, do you draw the line between what you might call ‘Art photography’ and fashion photography?
Luckily nowadays one can create very freely; and fashion photography can also be described as artistic. Yet there are always some limits, as the client sets what they want. If it was for me, I would spend all of my life taking artistic pictures, but there has to be some balance.
How important is it that people bring their own character to portraiture and not just the character that you as the photographer impose on them?
It’s important that everyone can be who they are. I don’t want anyone to do something that they don’t feel right with. Maybe what I do is just communicate my sensibility to others. Somehow, my pictures are always a reflection of myself.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?
I shoot with a Canon and for work I always work with digital and not analog.
You’ve been living in Barcelona since you were 16 years old. What was the connecting point for you? Has the city influenced your work in any way?
I came to Barcelona when I was 20. Barcelona is a city that I love and slowly I have created my own space and I feel wonderful here. I have a job, I have many people around me that I care about, etc. I really have a beautiful relationship with my city.
How would you describe the evolution of fashion photography, in your own perspective?
I feel like fashion is constantly changing, since what’s “in fashion” keeps changing and somehow all the people that work in the industry, we all follow the same common thread. Overall, I think the most important thing is to create what you like, without being tied. That is when you really find amazing things.
Any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
I am preparing a personal project which is called “Todos lloramos” (“We all cry”) where I have found 15 people on Instagram and I will shoot pictures of them crying and after crying. There will also be a video of the process. It all started because I felt quite enraged every time when someone told me “oh, why do you cry, woman?” Crying is freedom, it is natural, healthy and necessary. I will never understand those who repress their tears.
Martina, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects!
You can see Martina’s other works on her Instagram.
All credits go to Martina Matencio.