Spanish photographer Luis S Martin sets a high standard when it comes to black and white photography. Being a fine artist himself, he loves being able to bring out tone-rich monochromatic gradients with fine grain. Images that are captured in crisp quality and fine finish. As part of his experimentations, he tries out two hot Lomography gears for this series. Let's see what Luis came up with his session with the Neptune Art Lens System attached and the Berlin Kino film 35 mm loaded on his Nikon FM2.
Hello Luis and welcome to our Magazine! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello and thank you for the interview, I am a Spanish photographer currently based in Valladolid, a nice historic town close to Madrid. I usually like to introduce myself as a photographer, despite my formal background is that of an industrial engineer having collaborated with some well-known international food companies. At present I am fully focused on photography, using film extensively in most of my works and projects. I love messing around with all kinds of analogue cameras and film stocks.
What made you become a photographer?
My first introduction to photography was years ago when I got my first SLR camera whilst recovering at home from illness. In the beginning, I faced it with just a bit of curiosity, but immediately it turned into a big passion, almost an obsession. I started an intense, continuous, self-taught activity consuming most of my spare time. It just seemed such a natural fit for me creatively! My first motivation was street photography, I could be in the colorful and crowded Coney Island, walking on the streets of Budapest, or even wandering around isolated rural areas in Zamora, Soria, or Teruel. I was given new eyes – everyplace was so inspiring.
Can you tell us about this photo series – is there a story behind it?
I wanted to test the Neptune lenses and Berlin Kino film on several aspects and in different conditions (bokeh, landscape, portrait, different focal lengths, harsh and dim light). Delicate and pretty Rebeca together with the beautiful surrounding area of Tierra de Campos proved to be perfect for it, and most importantly a great combination to convey a special mood through the 36 frames.
This was your first time experimenting with one of our Art Lenses. How was your experience with the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System? Was it different from the lenses you normally use?
I love trying new things, but I must admit that I was a bit hesitant at first. I looked at Neptune Lenses thinking to myself “wow.. gorgeous lenses no doubt!”, but how would they render and how easy would it be to work with them? I have to say that I got positively surprised, they not only looked great on my camera, they also were optically excellent and quite easy to use (changing lenses process, manual focusing). I am not a big enthusiast of messy backgrounds, but I found some bokeh shapes that created a really beautiful artsy pattern.
Your work is filled with delicate, rare portraits. With this series, you seemed to put an equal focus on the model as to the surroundings. Is this something you enjoyed doing?
Yes, you are right, I generally use surroundings as a part of the story behind or simply to enhance the main motive, using lights and shadows, textures, geometrical shapes, and lines among other things. In this case, the environment is playing an important role, the isolated and abandoned village landscape shares relevance with Rebeca. These two key elements brought together created the mood we had planned from the beginning.
What did you think of the combination of the Neptune Art Lens System and Berlin Kino Film?
Actually, it was really surprising to me. I love the special combination of the Berlin Kino grain and the bokeh from the Neptune Lens' diaphragm meshing together. I think it can be creatively used in many ways. Also mentioning that I really enjoyed the distinctive and special classic Berlin Kino film look for itself.
You seem to shoot more black & white than color films. Do you think it lets you express more with “less”?
Yes, there is clearly a lot of that. I frequently use color film stocks, especially for fashion and some travel projects, I actually enjoy it. But I really love b&w so much, that and I am naturally biased to it. My social accounts show that very clearly. I am a huge admirer of the last decade's Masters of Photography works. So, I find that in general b&w film works not only to put the soul on the essential, they also expel a classic beautiful remembrance still present in our collective conscience.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Upcoming projects are of a different nature. Facing some fashion and fine artworks, and also a more personal and specific project on the street and social/documentary photography. It has been postponed for a relatively long time due to the special circumstances we are living in now. Keep safe and healthy!
Thanks for loving the Neptune Art Lens System and the Berlin Kino film, Luis! Visit his Instagram for more of his works.