Today we are honored to chat with marta1901 about her well-known feminine portraits. Read on to know what hides behind her shots and to get to know this amazing Lomographer a bit more.
Hi Marta! Tell us a little bit about yourself, a brief introduction!
I think I am a contradiction myself :) I am shy and a chatterbox at the same time. I am an architect but I do not think I will be one my whole my life. I am the tallest of my friends but they all call me Martita… I love music (every year at Christmas I give a compilation cd to my friends that I have been recording during the whole year). I enjoy going to the Reina Sofia, watching a good movie or discovering new typography. Ah! And, of course, travelling. I definitely consider myself a world citizen.
When and why did you start doing these wonderful feminine portraits shots?
The truth is that it started as a pretty botched job haha. I was very eager to see the photos I had taken with my Horizon Perfekt during a trip, but I still had 7 photos left… I surrendered to impatience and I asked my sister to help me with a small portrait shoot. It was spring and there were some amazing flowers close to my house. And surprise, surprise! It turned out that I liked those pics from the shooting better than the ones I took during the trip :)
So far, which is your favourite portrait session, photographically speaking?
I would choose the portrait session with one of my best friends, Rosana, Sister Golden Hair. I cannot choose photographically speaking without taking into consideration personal reasons. I reckon I am not that professional yet and so I cannot put those two worlds aside! Thus, that session is special for different reasons. I had not seen my model for a rather long time and I knew that the shooting would be the only moment we could have together. So it was some sort of “now I shoot, now we chat” thing that got us in-tune. Plus, it was my first indoor shoot using artificial light and it was quite exciting. That is with regards to the process. Regarding the results, I think that, although the camera decided to overlap some images, I managed to create the delicate atmosphere I had in mind. And the film! I declare myself an unconditional fan of the Kodak Portra 800!
Which one did you enjoy the most?
Undoubtedly, f-e-e-l-i-n-g. Quite often, I use photography to cheer myself up – lately I have had some ups and downs. That day I came back home, dead tired after a revision at uni and decided that somehow I had to end that Monday on a high note. I convinced my sister, we took the car and drove all the way to Silla de Felipe II, in El Escorial. Since it is quite touristic, we almost had to do a clandestine photoshoot! Besides, the location did not help… trying to frame every single shot was a challenge! At some point we even put our lives at risk! ;)
And more specifically, under your point of view, which is your best portrait?
Maybe, photographically speaking, it would not be the one most would choose, because it is not framed or focused in the “typical” way. However, I look for other things when taking pictures. Flickr, for instance, is filled with photos taken with super expensive cameras, amazingly focused and with a classic framing, which I think are dead. Adrian (tall_bastard in Lomography) once told me that when making portraits, I should search for those images with soul. That is why I would say this is one of the photos I feel most proud of. It is very dynamic and its expression is both sincere and fun. As Tyra Banks would say (yes, my sister and I are hooked on American Next Top Model, hard declarations) we got a nice “ugly pretty” haha.
Do you believe in muses? Does marta1901 have one?
Of course! My sister has been part of my evolution and I could say that we both have learned to improve together. Moreover, I think she is a very special and expressive person. 100% chameleon-like and that is very inspiring! I must confess that every time I come up with an idea for a shoot I have her in mind. We work well together, she always proposes things but also lets you guide her and believes in what I do.
I reckon that I will not be the same for everybody. It depends on how everyone handles their creativity, but I believe that external contributions enrich one’s work and when it comes to muses, their character/personality can modify and improve the initial idea. Pollution in art produces amazing results and I am a big fan of the unexpected.
Any favourite camera to make portraits or does it depend on the shoot? What about the films?
In all honesty, I think I am rather new to this, so my answer is based on what I have within reach. Nevertheless, among all cameras I have shot with, I think I specially like the Zorki 4K and its lens, the Jupiter 8. I do not know why, but let’s say that since the first moment I took it, I felt comfortable with it and the results always live up to my expectations. So far, it has not let me down and the combination with the Kodak Portra 160 that I used for my last shoot has won me over.
What have you learned after all these wonderful shoots? Do you think you are developing your own style?
I consider it highly important to create an atmosphere of which the model is part of. I think that is not easy, because loads of things depend on the details. For instance, with regards to my personal style, I like shoots with contrast. If the location is a romantic one, I want my model’s expressions to be aggressive or I include details that break the harmony. I love to take fresh but elegant photos.
Any tips for those Lomographers willing to get into this type of photography?
I have always been the one asking for advice so it is odd to be on the other side! haha. I am going to re-use the tips some friends i really admire gave me. For instance, Michelle (blueskyandhardrock) always tries to tell stories and I think that is basic. When a shoot has a meaning, the relation with the model has a more specific direction and the photos are much more intense. Axel (suizidekid) and Mery (atria007) always pick the films they use very carefully. From them I learned that one can boost the character of the photos if the film and the location are chosen wisely.
And a made-in-Marta tip?
Positive/creative predisposition :) You have to make those involved feel comfortable, create unexpected situations and steal those magical moments.
Only when everybody is relaxed, they will feel comfortable and will take part in the process.
If you could shoot any person alive or dead, famous or not, who would it be?
Oh, I really like that question! I’m going to be cheeky and pick one for each option haha
Alive: Kinga, Adrian’s muse. I find her attitude, her expressions and everything about her just fascinating! I hope that now that I am working with him at Whattaroll he will be nice and let me borrow her when I go visit Warsaw :)
Dead: Julio Cortázar. He is my favorite writer and I always picture a situation in which I could discover a bit more about his amazing inner world. He had a strong personality, so I am sure the shooting would be incredible.
Famous: The band Local Natives. As I said before, I love creating an atmosphere and now their music makes me shiver. I had not found such fragility and intensity concentrated in 3 minutes in a very long time. I am going to a concert soon in Madrid and I always think (in a Utopian way) how happy I would be if I could work with them.
Not famous: I would like to make a portrait of a ballerina. By and large, I find the expressiveness I need in the model’s gestures. However, I would like to experiment more with the body language and see if I also hold my own with that language. Only out of one’s comfort zone will one grow up and improve, both as an artist and as a person.
Thanks for sharing your work with our Community and for letting us get to know you a bit better!
You now have to visit marta1901’s fantastic lomohome to enjoy her shots.