Behind the lens of Lalovenenoso we find Martina Matencio, one of the most relevant and captivating photographers of the contemporary Barcelona scene. Her melancholic gaze, her way of interpreting natural light, and the aura she manages to capture around nude female bodies, turn her photographs into such intimate poems that they can only be recited in whispers.
Adored on social networks, sought-after by big brands, and acclaimed by girls all over, dying to be photographed by her, Martina manages to stay calm and maintain her ability to recognise the fragile delicateness of beauty. In addition to working on her own projects and portfolio, she collaborates with women’s fashion campaigns and other initiatives which motivate her. The image of Together, our special piece of jewellery for Valentine’s Day, is hers. As is this interview:
Martina, define yourself in three words.
Sensitive, creative and curious.
Tell us how you began in the world of photography.
I was offered a job working nights in a hospital, caring for a mentally ill child who had an intestinal illness and was dying. It’s a long story, but to sum it up, my inexperience led to me not knowing what else to do but to bring along my camera to give us both something to do. It turned out to be a good idea. There was nothing that relaxed Daniel as much as having photographs taken. The first thing he said when he saw me coming in was: Martina, where’s the camera? He let himself go when I took photos of him and I felt totally happy with the peacefulness we had found between the bed and the light that filtered into the hospital room. When Daniel died I realised that photography was for me. He was the one who showed me the way.
Can you tell us about your artistic and professional background?
I did arts subjects in high school and when I finished I went to Brighton for a year for a breather. When I came back I started studying artistic photography. I always knew I had to do something creative, it didn’t particularly matter what, just creating. I finished studying and set up Luna de Marte with a friend. We saw that it was working and so we carried on fearlessly. Although I’m a bit out of touch with Luna now due to the amount of work I have, even now I always saw that it’s been a fantastic tool for me, and even a window onto the world to help me practise, gain experience, take photos non-stop. One thing always leads to another and, as I always say, you reap what you sow. I’ve worked a lot and I still do. But I can honestly say that I’m happy with my work: I do what I enjoy and I can make a living out of it. I couldn’t live without taking photos. It’s the best tool I have for expressing myself.
Why did you choose Lalovenenoso as your artistic name?
At first I put Lovenenoso, but they closed my account. It came from Love and Venenoso (poisonous in Spanish). Love and poison are two words that are always present in life. I had to add the LA because my account had been closed.
You run the online second-hand shop Luna de Marte. What is your role in the project?
At the moment it’s at a bit of a standstill because I’ve got so much work on and I don’t have time to spend hours on it, but up to now I’ve been running it alone. Luna is a shop that started with a friend and I ended up running it myself because my friend went to France on an Erasmus and ended up staying there. There have been some people who’ve helped me with it, but most of the time I’ve been running it alone, in terms of choosing the garments, managing the emails, the social networks, the photos… everything. Luna has been the best showcase to make myself known as a photographer and I’m really proud of this much-loved Luna.
Your photographs are almost always of women. What criteria do you follow when choosing them?
The only criteria I follow is that of feeling good when taking photographs. I love women. I believe that we can create a different force with them. I even think that women are different from men. I believe in connections, I believe in us.
Who are your benchmarks and influences?
I don’t have any benchmarks. I do look at a lot of webpages and Instagrams, but I don’t have any particular figures of reference, I just like photography in general.
How do you contemplate each photograph?
I don’t tend to give each image a lot of thought. If the work is personal, like Luna de Marte or a shoot I’ve organised myself, I don’t tend to prepare anything. I think about the woman for a few days before in case I need to buy any props, I imagine the scene, and that’s it, the rest happens on its own. I don’t like planning things because nothing ever comes out as you think; that’s why I like working on my own so much and having that freedom. My work is driven by what’s happening to me at any particular moment. If I have to say something I will. I don’t prepare what I’m going to say. But it is true that I do have to justify my ideas, or at least explain them, to clients. I develop them, I explain them and then the rest happens on its own. This has worked up to now. Being a photographer is not just about taking shots, I think you have to have something inside that you want to express.
What would you highlight of all your work and collaborations? Why?
Some time ago I photographed a new collection of a brand called Le t-shirt fantastique. It’s not a very well-known brand. Two young designers called me and asked me to do the shoot. And without even realising, it became one of my best works. I loved the light we had, the looks, the silence of the models: the photos remind me of paintings.
Joid’art has used one of your images in their campaign for the new piece of jewellery Together for Saint Valentine’s Day. How would you define this photograph?
Warm, tender, bright, even happy.
Could you see yourself photographing jewellery one day?
Yes, of course. In fact I’ve already done several jewellery projects.
What would the pictures be like?
Natural images with a lot of light; simple, but also different. I’d play around with two bodies, two very similar girls with white skin and very minimalistic hairstyles, but in fairly strange poses. For me Joid’art is all about that; complexity in simplicity. It reminds me of ordered chaos.
Soft yet perceptible.
Space with light, large and white.
A work of art.
Any by Egon Schiele.
What are your favourite pieces of Joid’art jewellery? Why?
I like those from the Ilusiona collection because it’s like wearing nature. I’m particularly attracted to their shapes.I also find the simplicity of the Boletes earrings really beautiful and I love the organic form of the little pearl shapes inside them.
I love wearing rings! I really like the shape of those in the Teulats collection. I love their colours and the disorder within the order. I also love those in the Blumen collection because of their colours, the shape of their textured circles, and especially the way they are placed and juxtaposed on top of each other.