Today we’ll talk to Dr. Martín, an Argentinian/UK photographer who also happens to have PhD in Computer Science. After this interview, we realized how Martín is a perfect intersection between both areas and how it makes sense when you read about his workflow and see his work.
Martín, you create pieces that evoke the very fabric of dreams. However they come from the same mind that got you a PhD in Computer Science. How does your mind make the bridge between the analytical and the surreal?
As more than 50 years of my life were dedicated to my profession as a software engineer and I have been a photographer since my early age of 9 years old, I have asked myself several times, what is the relation between these two life passions? Software on the one hand, and Photography on the other. Two activities apparently distinct, non overlapping and yet, they both define me.
It took me a while to arrive at the following.
The creative process is a release of emotions and imagination. I take a photo, and unhappy with the relation of that image with my emotions, I bring it to my desk and start a search process. It is like traveling through a dark tunnel. I know the light is at the end of the tunnel, but I cannot see it yet. I explore, take one lane, backtrack and take another, search for something that emanates from my inside. Until something happens in the conversation between the image and me that sounds a bell. A fulfilment that explodes during the “eureka” moment.
In the software arena, the main activity I have been involved with was “problem solving”. How do you solve an engineering problem? You search for a solution. If the solution was known, there would be no problem.
Searching for a solution is precisely what I described above when talking about a “dark tunnel”. And that is the relationship. What I do manipulating photography and what I did solving software problems are equivalent “problem solving” activities.
Your first contact with photography comes from film and darkrooms. Today you’re deep into digital photography, manipulation and AI. How do you feel this evolution in image making is changing the way photographers create?
Ever since the early days, I felt that the reality captured photographically did not match the emotions I felt while taking the photo. But, in the darkroom, I was able to modify that reality to match my emotions. I “discovered” that I could mask the light beam when enlarging a photo using my own hands. I was able to “manage” light. I only learned years after, that that method was a well known and accepted photographic technique.
Later on, I used to manipulate the reality by sandwiching different color slides superimposing different times and locations making the surreal possible.
These days, with the aid of a computer, I continue applying similar manipulation processes but with a much wider tool set.
The mediums and tools at each stage above were different, however the creative process is the same, allowing my emotions to surface.
When did you realize you were an artist?
During many years I showed my photographic work just to friends and family. Only later on at the age of 65 I exhibited for the first time at a gallery (Brick Lane, in London). That was the first time, when observing the emotions a stranger expressed while looking at my work that I understood what Art is. Everybody has a different explanation for what Art is. What I understood that day is that art emanates from the interaction between an observer and a piece. Before that interaction, my photos where just a piece of color hanging on a wall. After the observer said “wow” the colors in the wall became art, and hence the creator became an artist.
What’s your favorite piece among your creations?
Favorites vary at different times. But perhaps “Blue Roof” has been a favorite the longest. Also Mermaid, so favorite that I have not minted it yet.
When and how did you learn about NFTs?
I came across NFTs early in 2021. Because of my “digital manipulation” the medium was very attractive. Then “lock down” happened, and like many, I embraced the new technologies.
How do you think NFTs are changing the way we experience art?
Like written words that became massively popular with the invention of the print machine (Gutenberg 1450). The digital medium through a blockchain is massively giving access to digitalisable art.
What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?
Continue expressing my emotions, imagination and dreams.
Dr., it was a pleasure talking to you. You’re a lesson about how it’s never too late to pursue our goals. A true inspiration indeed. Thank you for being a part of the Vessel Drop.