Photography According to Arturo Martín
By Damián Estrada
Cubaplus decided to approach the work of the Cuban photographer Arturo Martín Suárez, an artist who defines his conception of photography as an irrefutable way of communication.
How has being self-taught affected your career? I believe it affected it in a positive way because photography is the art of what others do not see. Michael Angelo said that sculpture was the art of removing excess, that the piece was actually already there. In the same way photography involves having that extra instinct when passing through a place and seeing something that others do not...no school can teach you that.
Big Liborio (deceased Cuban photographer) used to say that the best photo is one in which little thought is given, because thinking too much is a strain that will be evident in a picture. Of course, in school one learns about the combination of diaphragms, speed, the temperature of light and technical aspects, but in addition to instinct I would say that for this art most important is having the necessary sensibility.
You mentioned having some projects with your colleague Marila Sarduy ..can you comment on that? The last project we worked on together was a book titled Fidel, a compilation of photos with snapshots from 1955 up to 2013. We worked on this for several years; in 2009 we did the exposition 83 contigo (83 with you), a very important event as it was the Commander´s 83rd birthday. Since then every year Marila and I try to work on a project together, summoning several artists but separating the political side and focusing on the colloquial. We managed to hold an exhibition with 53 artists and without a doubt, it was all thanks to her. Soon we will do something on topics as delicate as the violence of genre and the absence of communication, although these projects will not just involve us two but an entire group.
How do you see present day Cuban photography? Do you have any advice for beginners? I believe Cuban photography is doing very well. As for young photographers, my advice to them is to look for different venues in which to exhibit their work, not always depend on institutions. The State educates and trains them, from thereon each artist must be proactive in making his own way.
What more can you tell us about your work? I thoroughly enjoy my work, it gives me great pleasure and keeps on surprising me. I can´t sing, I can´t write... photography is my way of communicating. If someone feels something on having seen my photos, regardless of what that feeling is, that is satisfying to me. For me, an artist´s greatest aspiration should be to create some type of controversy.
Are you working on something right now? I have a medium-term project with Nelson Domínguez (well-known Cuban painter), although I prefer not going into detail on this for now.