Urbex in Your Face - A Double Exposure Portrait Project by Naitchez Martin5 12 Share Tweet
Graffiti, cracked walls and windows, abandoned buildings – these signs of urban decay are mixed with portraits of the city's citizens in community member Naitchez Martin's project called Urbex in Your Face. Roaming the streets of his hometown in Toulouse, France, the photographer and chef paints profound pictures of character and resilience.
In this interview, we talked with Naitchez (@naitchez) to learn more about his urban exploration and portraiture project. Let's dive into it!
Hi, Naitchez, welcome to the magazine! First off, can you introduce yourself a little bit? How and when did you start film photography, and what keeps you shooting analogue?
Hello Lomography, my name is Naitchez Martin, I am 46 and I live in Toulouse, South of France. I work as a chef.
I started analogue photography quite early. My grandparents gave me a camera when I was around 16 or 17 years old. It was a Canonet QL17 G-III , and I still shoot with it! It gave me a lot of satisfaction to shoot with analogue.
With time and experience, we discover all the creative possibilities, with the different films, camera formats, different shooting processes. It is a great way to express creativity, and I’ll never get tired of it!
What got you into street photography? It seems like it has also been a way for you to document the activism in your area.
Street photography became very quickly one of my favorites in genres of photography. The human being is the center of my work, and there is a moment when we start to look at every single person in the street as if they were potential subjects to shoot.
Lately, in France, there are a lot of protests in the streets and it was for me the perfect opportunity to shoot, with a very particular atmosphere, and to have this role as a street photographer to witness what is going on through pictures. I don’t consider myself as an activist, but I know that the photography can be seen like that and also have a political sense.
Your album "Urbex in Your Face" has really striking photos. How did you get started with this portraiture project and can you tell us your motivations behind it?
It was born by chance. I was working on another series of pictures called “Ruin”, in which I deconstructed and reconstructed buildings on a Polaroid base. The project was to have an exhibition with two other street artists from Toulouse, but I wanted to show more.
I had some expired films and I started to shoot details of the abandoned buildings: broken windows, graffiti, broken walls. Once the film was finished, I rewound it, and shot my favorite thing, portraits of people in the streets of my city! I wanted to create a bond between buildings and human beings and show strength, character.
What is your process for taking these multiple exposure photos? What cameras and film do you use?
To take those pictures in multiple exposure, I use the film swap technique. I take zero notes on the pictures I've shot, and when I have to shoot the portraits, I have absolutely no idea what kind of broken wall or graffiti will be on each face. Chance is part of the job, but it does it well!
For this series of pictures, I used a Nikkormat FTN with a Nikkor-S 50 mm f/1.4 and some films like MaxiColor ISO 200, expired since 2006.
How do you choose the subjects for your portraits?
I choose my portraits through feeling only. I walk on the streets and I ask strangers, explaining the project to them. The only thing I ask is that they don't smile, so I can capture the emotions through their eyes.
The project gave me the opportunity to meet some people that I would never talk to without this project, and I also discovered emotions through the results and the reactions of people who participated when I sent them the pictures.
Do you have any advice for aspiring street photographers/portrait photographers?
If I had some advice to give for those who want to start street photography and street portraits it would be:
- Always have a camera with you.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people, very few refuse to be photographed, and usually they are even flattered.
- Think about the hyperfocal technique, it helps you to observe and be ready to shoot at any moment.
- Apply at least one of The 10 Golden Rules of Lomography!
Many thanks to Naitchez for sharing his images and stories with us! To view more of his work, visit his LomoHome or check out his Instagram Page.
written by sylvann on 2023-05-17 #culture #people #places #multiple-exposure #france #portraiture #urban-exploration #naitchez