[ January 12, 2009 ]
Born and raised in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Alex Martinez moved to Europe
until deciding to study art in the United States. Switching to
full-time photography, he worked in fashion and portraiture in New York
City and now is currently based in Atlanta, GA. Alex's work can be seen
in national and international publications, some of his clients include:
Calvin Klein, Jaguar, Kenneth Cole, New York Times, St. Martin's Press
Yamaha to name a few. Stephanie Davis spoke with Alex about photography
and his career.
Describe the first time you took a photo and thought, "I want to make a living doing this?"
When I went back to art school after doing some traveling I just took a
class with a friend for fun. We would go in shoot and come back and look
at what we had created and I just thought, I love this, this is what I
want to get paid for. And I still go everyday with the same excitement I
had during that class and at the end of the day I just do it because I
enjoy it so much.
What is your favorite thing to take photos of, people, places or things? And why?
I love taking pictures of people because I can engage them. A huge part
of my photography is the talking the interaction, getting them to come
out. I don't know what a given picture will look like, even if I have
all the lights, the backdrop and everything meticulously planned, it's
when the person gets there and we start connecting is when the picture
really starts to come together.
What is your favorite shot you've ever taken? And why?
I don't have a favorite shot because people are so unique, I like them
all for different reason. But, I do think some shots have been more
successful than others. It's when I get a subject in there that is
really willing to open up and I try something new that I have the most fun.
What is your favorite shot someone else has taken? And why?
Again, its the same thing. There are so many shots and so many
photographers that I admire for so many different reasons. I can tell
you that I gravitate towards photographs with a good line, I like lines.
I look at Guy Bourdin, John Paul Goode, Richard Avedon for more
contemporary photographer David LaChapelle that I keep coming back to
and referencing for inspiration for my own shots. I love that sort of
aesthetics of Guy Bourdin 60/70s glam bordering on surreal.
What fancy, expensive piece of photo equipment do you covet and is completely worth every penny?
One of those new Hasselblad cameras, like an HD 4. Its something like
50,000 but worth every penny. I hope your asking so you know what I want
for my birthday.
Do you like having your photo taken? Why or why not?
Not particularly, because then I am not in the action. Every now and
again someone will take one after I have done the lighting and have
everything set up, then I'll let someone push the button.
What's your favorite camera to use?
The Canon line of cameras. Without a hesitation. Mark III and 5D Mark II.
How much of a great photograph is technique and how much is fate or serendipity?
I think technique is what takes you there, what gives you the confidence
to be in the spot to take that amazing picture. It's like half and half
- the lighting is the first 50, and if nothing else you have a nice
looking shot. If you can get the other 50 percent and get the person to
really come through or get the sun in that right spot then it because
100%, a work of pure art.
What has Photoshop done for photography? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Another 50/50 - a good and bad thing. It's a good thing in that you are
able to do and create new images and affect the composition in a way
that couldn't be done before. It is a bad thing in that it becomes a
crutch. Photographers take bad pictures and just think they can have
them retouched. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say
oh, don't worry about it you can retouch it later. And that's not just
for the photographer - the whole crew - hair, makeup, everyone.
If you weren't a photographer, what other career would you like to give a try?
I'd like to be an actor, but I guess if I were to make it big I would
have to get used to people taking my photo.
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