Garcia De Marina: Conceptual photography is a game of imagination

12 jun, 2020

Garcia de Marina is a Spanish surrealist photographer whose.


- Garcia de Marina, please tell us about yourself
I am a photographer. I live in the north of Spain (Gijón). I’ve been using objects as a form of expression since 2011.


- How did you enter to the world of photography?
It really wasn't something planned. In 2010, I bought my first camera and from that moment, I felt I had something different in my hands. In the beginning, I trained and studied in a self-taught way through the Internet and by reading books. I was interested in advertising, I was amazed at how a brand, through producing an original image, could enable them to sell a product.
At the start, various photography forums were a means of inspiration for me. Once, in a contest on one of those forums, people proposed conceptual photography as a thematic. At that time, my ignorance led me to look for information about this type of photography online. I remember reading that it was meant to transmit the greatest number of messages by using the mínimum of elements. One day, my wife was cooking an omelet, and I saw a broken egg, so I thought about photographing it and also drawing footprints of a small chicken. That was my first conceptual photograph.
In 2012, I made a Facebook Page where I started publishing the photographs that I was taking at that time: those of landscapes, of the night, of people’s portraits, of my city, etc., but at the same time, I was taking and keeping some more conceptual images, which I only shared with the public later. It had not been a year since my presence on social media, when these conceptual images were shown in my first exhibition in Gijón (Spain). Since then, everything has happened very fast, and I was having several individual and collective exhibitions, both in Spain and in other countries.

You call yourself a surrealist artist. Why did you choose this genre?
I feel comfortable telling stories through objects, analyzing their symbolic “load” and trying to translate it into an emotional “load”. The objects are made by me to transcend the real to become part of the imaginary and the irrational. I am interested in the viewer actively participating in each of the pieces for the messages to be finalized in the viewer's mind. This way, it can become a dialogue between the author and the viewer -- through the objects.

Your photos are minimalistic and conceptual. What is your purpose in that?
I want to tell the greatest number of things with the least number of elements and to remove items that are not necessary or that bring nothing new to the story. My purpose is for people to play with their imagination. That they form their first reading about the object itself, but then continue looking for new stories or new interpretations in each of them. Have you ever wondered what meaning various objects around you have for you? The objects that you live with or that you had in your childhood? Or maybe the memories that those objects bring you in regards to the things that have happened to you in your life? My purpose is to tell stories through those objects, interact with the viewer, and to be able to transmit experiences, emotions or even “claim” other realities through them.

- What inspires you to create “speaking” photos? Why?
I am inspired by the observation, by looking at the smallest details, trying to see things as if you were seeing them for the first time and trying to get rid of the “obvious” reading. I analyze the shapes, the meanings, the colors, etc. by trying to join it all in experiences lived or things that I have seen or heard somewhere.

- Are there any photographers or other artists who inspire you?
In the beginning of my career, I liked to see the work of other authors, photographers, as those of sculptors or painters who used the object. Now the inspiration comes from just living day to day, from the things that surround me, from the objects with which I live. I think that inspiration comes from observing a situation (in a movie, a text, a song or on the street) and trying to tell that story with objects.

How would you describe your style in photography?
In my work, I think that the most interesting thing is to create an idea and with the help of the camera capture it. We could talk about visual poetry, conceptual photography, of imagination, although I don't think there is a specific style to define it. Rather, I think it is a type of photography where images are exercises that are presented to viewers to encourage them to play with their imagination. I think, it is a type of photography where each of the images have many readings. You view the first layer with an initial reading, and as you go through different further layers, you find different interpretations.

Your works are exhibited around the world. What do you think is the secret of your success?
I really don't think there's a secret, I think the only thing is to keep on working. If when I had my first exhibition in 2012, someone had told me that I would be showing my photographs in different parts of the world I would not have believed them.
I have found a type of photography that I am passionate about, where I am able to interact with the viewer through transformation of objects, and above all, through perseverance. This is what has brought me here: passion and work.

Recently you exhibited in Spain your new project titled “Inocentes” Please tell us about it.
Right now I am showing my last two works in Spain. In Gijón, the exhibition is titled "The Unfinished Word", which is a project that talks about language and communication through objects, and "Inocentes" which is a project that reflects on the subject of human rights in the world. This last, that is currently in Alicante, talks about violation of human rights, of torture, of the discrimination against people because of the color of their skin, because of their gender, because of their sexual orientation, because of their opinions, etc. I am presenting 48 timeless dialogues that may reflect the suffering of a population at any time or place. They are stories that may have happened 50 or 10 years ago and that unfortunately will still happen in the future. As a basis for the composition of the 48 stories, I have used two glass chess sets that symbolize ​​the fragility and vulnerability of a human being. The images will not be represented explicitly, but through symbolism and conceptualization. They consist of 51 photographs printed on cotton paper in the size of 70 x 100cm.
I want for people who enter the Exhibition Hall to see the photographs and then reflect on the violation of rights, I want them to shudder because of seeing all this inequality, loneliness, and suffering. I am looking for a reflection, a dialogue, and, more than ever, for a vindication of another reality. And of course, there must also be a glimmer of hope which we can glean out all of that.

- Last question. What do you think is the originality and power of photography?
I believe that photography is one of the most powerful tools to raise awareness of a human being overall. To reflect on what is happening in the world and to get excited about it. It gives us the ability to reach emotion through gazing into an image, and is a wonderful way to tell life’s most important stories.