Interview with Martina Matencio aka Lalovenenoso

Martina Matencio aka @Lalovenenoso exudes sensibility from every pore. A visit to her Instagram account is enough to be submerged into that very particular beauty she creates, into that very unique way of seeing the world and into that atmosphere that is so intimate where the play of lights and skin are key, and from where you will never want to leave… It’s just that Martina has a beautiful way of looking at everything and she immortalizes it to our delight.

We spoke to her following the publishing of her new book “Martina, tengo que hablar contigo” (Lunwerg) which translates as “Martina, we need to talk” where she narrates a true story of love and heartbreak told through her sensual photographs and WhatsApp messages. We chatted to her and this is what she told us. Come on in and read.

What did you want be when you grew up?

As a very young child, I wanted to be a teacher! But simply to be able to teach others, although later I remember I thought I wanted to run a lingerie shop, hahaha but they were thoughts that simply sailed through my mind.

If I’m honest, I have never really been the kind of person who thinks about the future or looks at things long term.

“I don’t know what I specifically wanted to be but, from a very young age, I would get up every Sunday to draw and I created pictures that I look at now and I can’t believe it!”

I never paint now, but I knew I wanted to create, creating was my solace and it still is.

What is the origin of your Instagram handle “lalovenenoso”?

My first name on Instagram was: Lovenenoso, using “Love” and “veneno” (venom in Spanish), I wanted to combine two words that represent life in two different languages, so it became Lovenenoso (the venomous), but they closed my first account and I wasn’t able to get the same name again, so I added “La” (“the” in Spanish) in front and it became LALOVENENOSO :)

From the age of twenty, photography is your way of life. What can you tell us about the whole journey, both of life and professionally? Was it a difficult beginning? What were the main pros and cons?

It hasn’t been difficult for me…Obviously, at the beginning everything is a little harder, the unknown, you are scared but I just got on with it. I remember going to take photographs of events, going as an assistant at the odd wedding… I look back now and my, I’ve taken so many photographs! But the truth is that, bit by bit and without even realizing it I got to a place where I felt good, and from there I found my way.

“I have never really been one to think about things, I knew photography was my life, I was so sure of it that I had no doubts, I allowed time to set the pace, enjoying myself and I suppose I suffered a little too.”

But as I always say…  suffering has given me my work, it’s not that I suffer while I work but that I offload my pain taking photos, let’s say that my pain has given me my work, and given that there will always be suffering…

You studied photography at the Serra I Abella School in Barcelona, and the truth is that we are real fans of the way you see things, of your sensibility and how you manage to convey emotions through your photographs. Were you always clear that the focus of your art should reflect the delicacy of the feminine soul?

I studied at  Serra I Abella, where they taught me technical aspects… the rest I learnt in time or rather than learnt, I discovered, I experimented, I felt… I saw what I liked, what fulfilled me and in the end, I am moved by my desires.

“I took photographs of what I liked, I set my gaze on what I desired, that feminine delicacy, that maybe I couldn’t find in myself.”

When did you discover you wanted to devote your life to photography?

“At 16 I knew I wanted to take photographs forever, although I had no idea if I would do so professionally.”

How would you define your style? What artistic or personal references have inspired you to achieve aesthetics that are so personal?

I would define it as genuine and above all, full of feeling. I think people like my photos because they are made of reality, of my feelings that at the end of the day, are something all humans have in common.

“I don’t have artistic models, I consume a great deal of Instagram”

I get to know new artists, I love photography books but I don’t have key models, I soak up every artist.

Are you the type of person who collects and uses many cameras or are you faithful to one camera and one specific model?

I’m faithful to my camera! Ha ha although I obviously have quite a few analogue cameras, but for work, I always shoot with the same one.

In 2017, you published your first book “Tus ojos, mis manos” (Stendhal), which translates as “Your eyes, my hands”, with the actress Alba Ribas. What do you recall about that collaboration and of your first incursion into the literary world?

It was marvelous. I love and admire Alba very much so you can imagine… Also, publishing your first book is always something that can only make you smile.

How did the idea of your book “Martina, tengo que hablar contigo” (“Martina, we have to talk”) come about?

It came from bringing out everything I write, from showing, from emptying… I had many WhatsApp conversations, many texts, notes on my phone… I think, with everything I have, I can produce three more books hahaha

During lockdown, while I lived with two of my friends, Tai and Mónica, I was able to write more and we talked a lot about love… Let’s say I had time to think and be inspired.

“This book is nothing more than a piece of my life, a conversation with myself…”

I think we are always talking to ourselves although the conversation may be with somebody else, hence the title that, although someone wrote it to me, I always end up talking to myself.

Is the story of love and heartbreak that you narrate through sensual photographs and WhatsApp messages true?

It’s super real. I haven’t made any of it up.

What has creating and publishing this book meant to you?

The real farewell to my father, who died two years ago. I dedicate it to him and if you read the last sentence in the book, you will understand that it is very difficult to say goodbye to someone’s life but that, fortunately, we still have heaven for us to imagine.

What does Instagram mean to you? Do you think it is an indispensable tool to give your project visibility or alternatively, are you not overly interested?

It’s a wonderful tool! A network where you can share your work and anyone in the world can see it! The only thing I can’t handle very well is censorship, because it even conditions the way I take photographs, and I don’t like that. It makes me really mad! But it happens unwittingly. If it weren’t for that, I love it. I also have to say that, although I have followers, I am not obsessed. I like it, I enjoy it, it provides work, I meet people… I take it as something positive, at least for now :)

Photographers throughout time that you admire…

I stick with Frank Horvat.

What are you working on at the moment?

On a collaboration with @grainclothing :) that you will see very soon! And that makes me very happy.

With whom would you like to work (artists, celebrities or brands)?

I’d like to work with Pedro Almodóvar, make the posters for a film of his or of Amenabar.

Which 3 books, 3 films or TV series or 3 songs do you recommend?

Books: “Shangay baby” or “Días sin ti” by Elvira Sastre

Films: “Youth” by Sorrentino or “The Lovers of the Arctic Circle” by Julio Medem.

Songs: Any by Sigur Rós or Julia (Deep Diving) or Paspatou by Parra for Cuva.

Favourite place to lose yourself…

Lanzarote :)

(*) Photos: Martina Matencio.