Interview: Conchi Martínez, photographer
Conchi Martínez was born in Soria (Spain) but shortly after, her family moved to Barcelona where she’s lived since then.
You can find her here:
She studied Maths at the University and worked as a Secondary School teacher until she decided to quit becoming a full-time photographer, specialising mainly in the editorial field, as a contributor to the Anaya Publishing house and to stock photography, and developing her personal projects.
She’s also published several photographic reportages and portfolios in different magazines and catalogues and in the book collection Viatge a la Conca de Barberà.
Her artistic training comes from diverse photography schools in Barcelona and from workshops given by the MOMA or artists like Fontcuberta, Esclusa, Caujolle, Parr, Sluban, Webb…
She enjoys taking photos if she has a clear reason to do it, an idea to develop. Her work is systematic and methodical, maybe due to her scientific background.
Since 2004 she’s exhibited in galleries and Spanish Festivals like Fotonoviembre, Olot Biennial, FineArt, Mirades, Outono Fotográfico, Revela-T and Photogenic, and also in Istanbul, Portland, Washington State, the Rencontres d’Arles, tBerlin Biennial, Photolux Festival in Lucca and Kaunas Photo Festival.
In 2007 she received her first important artistic recognition, a MUSAC scholarship to her work Interiors.
After that, Hortus Botanicus, Diagonal-Cornellà, Landscapes of my memory, Barcepoly and Mediterráneo received respectively the Emergent Festival (2008), Passanant Foto (2011), Julia Margaret Cameron (2015), Young Curator Photolux Contest (2017) and Eurostars Photography (2017) awards and she was invited to do an artist residence in Kaunas in 2018.
- Hi Conchi, how long have you been working as a photographer now?
Hi Jernej! It’s nice to meet you.
I always say I started taking photography seriously in 2000. At that time I attended to my first important course in a photo school while I was teaching Maths in a Secondary School, but It was not until 2004 I made my first exhibition.
- What inspired you to become a photographer? What were your first steps?
I´ve always loved images.
I started watching all kind of movies when I was a child and I keep doing it know. Of course I’m interested in the plot but also in their soundtracks and photography.
I became a compulsive postcard collector when I was a teenager. I enjoyed looking at the images and transporting myself to the places that appeared in the photographs.
One day I decided I had to try doing it by myself and I took a brief photo course about the developing process. The magic I discovered there hasn’t abandoned me yet.
- Are you a professional or an amateur photographer?
I’m professional since 2013.
- What is your favorite subject to photograph?
I’m interested in daily matters, the identity, the trace of time and trips. I like to photograph my day to day and the things that surround me.
- What kit do you shoot with?
I have always used a Canon camera, analogue when I began with photography and digital since some years ago.
My current kit consists of a Canon 5D Mark III with several lenses (my favorite ones are a 24mm, a 50mm and a 90mm macro) and a mirrorless Fuji X-t100 to travel lighter.
- How would you define your photographic style?
I work mainly in the editorial field, especially in travel photography, but I also enjoy developing my personal projects about different subjects and experimenting with old and alternative processes to emphasize the ideas I want to transmit.
- Which editing software do you usually use?
I always use Photoshop.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
I don’t usually advertise myself, I contact directly with the clients I interested in.
- How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working? What do you do in your free time?
I usually work 5 days per week, spending lots of hours in front of the computer (normally around 8 each day) when I’m not taking photos, which is most of the time. Take into consideration that I mainly work in stock photography.
When I’m not working I love spending my time with my couple and friends, travelling and, of course, going to the cinema or visiting some interesting exhibitions.
- What would you do differently if you would start again?
I’m quite satisfied about my current life and the decisions I’ve made. I think I’d not change anything.
- A professional photographer is also an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have many things in common. They read a lot. What about you? What are your favorite books?
I’m not an enthusiastic book reader, I prefer to read articles or having a look at interesting photo books.
I personally recommend you to read an excellent book about photography: La vision fotográfica by Eduardo Momeñe. The problem is that it’s in Spanish and I don’t know if its English translation also exists …
- What was the best advice you have ever received as a photographer? Do you have any advice for other photographers?
We have to be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to arrive wherever you want to. Photography is a long distance race.
- Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
I don’t have a smartphone!!
- Top 3 websites?
I enjoy a lot having a look to these:
- Your last vacation?
It was a marvelous road trip through Midwest USA
For several months, I took photographs through the journey from home to work and from work to home I always did by metro in Barcelona. The main objective of the work was returning prominence to the anonymous characters whom we share trip every day but who go so unnoticed that, when we arrive at destination, we can hardly remember an insignificant detail related to their appearance.
To do this I came back to the photography origins, to the magic of the unpredictable results that provides a pinhole camera.
I have always been interested in human behaviour.
I thought photographing ordinary drawers without manipulating them was a good way to come closer to the daily life of the owner.
Interiors is a work about identity that gives a free rein to voyeurist instinct that everybody carry inside themselves and satisfies our human curiosity about the others, through the physical description of the drawers’ content and the owner’s behaviour by means of the objects he has and the way he arranges them.
In nature we find lines that I unconsciously relate with the ones that we find in our body. Melting together the body lines with the ones suggested by the branches and trunks of the trees our mind tries to look for continuity imagining a real unity in each of the images created for this imaginative vegetal universe called Hortus botanicus.
LANDSCAPES OF MY MEMORY
Intimate approach to some of the most emblematic places in Soria, my hometown.
It’s universally known that our mind modifies memories without our consent. It’s sometimes a self-defence mechanism that helps us to partially forget what hurts us or simply an effect caused by the passing of time. Memory is submitted to disruptions, to amnesias that led to information gaps. This makes us lose a part of our vital experience, but it also enriches it making it unique and personal.
Polaroid emulsion transfers