Interview #45: Carlos Garcia Martinez
CUS: First of all, the most standard question in the book: how did you get into photography?
Carlos Garcia Martinez: Well I’ve always been a person who’s been interested in photography and general visual arts. One day I just decided to take it to the next level and started reading some photography books, basic technical and composition theory. I really liked what I was learning so in the next days I bought a DSLR and started from there.
In a few months time I won a local photography contest, but maybe because I am a very competitive person I never felt like I was done with it so I’ve always tried to keep getting better and better since then. I now work with 35mm film mostly and take much more less pictures than back then but I still have this “never enough” spirit in me.
CUS: Tell us a little about where you live.
CGM: Well, during the course I live in Madrid where I study Audiovisual Communication, and in summer I live in Alicante, my hometown, which is a quiet city in the east of Spain though very touristic. I think that for my photography it’s very nice to have such a huge contrast between these both cities, Madrid being an extremely busy city while Alicante being much quieter. I like going out to the city with some B&W film, while in Alicante I enjoy riding my bike around empty neighborhoods with some color film trying to capture it’s mood.
CUS: Do you have a favorite photographer?
CGM: I really couldn’t say one. I really enjoy old street/documental photographers like Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank and William Klein, but then I also love color photographers like Martin Parr and Joel Sternfeld.
There are also some spectacular photographers that I’ve found on places like Flickr, too many to name them here actually, but one should always be looking for new sources of ideas everywhere.
CUS: Did you study, or are you studying, photography? If not, how did you learn?
CGM: I am totally self-taught in photography, using the web as my main resource to get books, videos and documentals. Anything you could need is really out there and it is also a limitless source of inspiration for me. I have done my first year of Audiovisual Communication but it is now in the second one where I have photography, though it’s just really basic stuff like using the manual controls and developing black and white film.
Some online communities are also really useful, but you have really know what comments you should pay attention to and which ones you should ignore.
CUS: What is your most treasured possession?
CGM: I guess my camera. It’s not very expensive and I don’t really take much care of it, but it’s what I try to take everywhere and the thing I really couldn’t live without.
CUS: What are five things you can’t live without?
CGM: I’m not a guy who likes actually NEEDING lots of stuff to live; I sometimes enjoy having short trips and leaving everything behind. But it’d be my camera I guess and some film, guitar, computer, hard-drive and headphones.
CUS: Describe your average day.
CGM: Get up at 8 and go to uni, come back at 13:00 and chill for a bit before lunch. In the afternoon I take a nap, go to the gym or just chill with some mates of my dorm. After dinner we usually watch a couple of films and fool around, or go out if we’re in the mood for it. Now in summer time we go to play football some afternoons and then enjoy the beach or some swimming pool.
CUS: What are your other hobbies besides photography?
CGM: I love cinema and always try to watch a movie every day. I also can’t live without music, it’s on practically all the time, and I play the guitar a bit myself. Also I love art in general, so Madrid is an ideal place for me to be with such beautiful museums like El Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia.
CUS: Favorite part of the summer so far?
CGM: My favorite part of the summer is actually just about to start. I’m leaving to Hungary on the 9th, then going to Madrid on the 16th, and then leaving again on the 21st for a trip around The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
CUS: If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go?
CGM: I love travelling and really I’m happy anywhere I go. If I could choose though, It’d be between Paris and the US, because most of my favorite photographers have worked in those places, both are very inspirational.
CUS: What are some of your favorite films?
CGM: I love cinema and especially classic films. Orson Welles, Kubrick, Fellini and Billy Wilder are some of my favorite directors. As to favorite films, I love Fellini’s La Strada and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, but then again I love many other movies.
CUS: If every photograph should contain one key element, what would it be in your opinion?
CGM: I always think of “people” as the key element to my pictures. I think they always boost the interest of any picture; we can’t help to wonder what’s the story behind the person, what he’s doing there, etc. I like having leaving those questions unanswered so the viewer stops at the picture and tries to answer them himself. So yeah, for me it’d be people.
CUS: What is your fondest childhood memory?
CGM: I remember very happily my child times playing in some local football tournament with my school friends. There was this team from the other class in the tournament that always used to beat us at school, but when we played them in the tournament we actually won after a though match. I remember them all crying and us having one of the best time of our lives. We won that tournament at the end but most of all we always had a great time together.
CUS: Where does your inspiration usually come from?
CGM: I think artists should never let their artistic part relax. Usually, for a photographer, inspiration comes from other photographers, but quite a lot of the time it also comes from movies, paintings, books, TV and real life experience . . . Anything could make an idea pop on your mind. If you’re not always paying attention these sources of inspiration might get ignored.
CUS: What would you like to ask the next interviewee?
CGM: I’m always very interested in the artistic process that goes through the mind of other artists. I’d like to know how people get their ideas about new projects and pictures, how they decide if a project is worth doing or not, how they decide what pictures to use, etc.