ALBERT MARTINEZ & KARLA CUENCAS & MARIAJOSE CAMACHO

I am a native of Los Angeles. I haven't been photographing for too long, but I've always been fascinated with the art film and photo, and the emotions they evoke. I kind of fell into photography by mistake, but before photography, my life was a mess. I was strung out on drugs and had a terrible drinking problem. When I sobered up in 2013, photography became a therapeutic outlet, a coping mechanism (if you will) for me. It's something that gives me both drive and reward, and I will always continue to look at the world differently through a lens now. 

 

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I wanted to convey a certain type of desperation, and yet, confidence of the subjects. The fire escape, for the girls, could be viewed as a way out of their misery, boredom, or whatever the person who views the photos as. The shoot was set up in Downtown Los Angeles (of course) at FD Photo Studio. I rarely use studios, but they're great.

 

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Because it was the middle of the day in the heart of downtown with so much foot traffic, I had the girls take turns running out onto the fire escape whenever the coast was clear. There were moments when people would spot me standing in the middle of an alley below the fire escape snapping away, so of course, they looked up and found the girls showing off their lovely assets. Fortunately, I don't think any children saw anything. There were a few husbands and boyfriends who got a free show, and there were a couple of upset wives and girlfriends. There was nothing really I could do in that type of situation to soften the blow except yell to the girls to run inside. They did so well, because they were really shy and conscious about being out in their underwear in public, and by the looks of the pictures, you can't even tell that.

 

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Like I said, I rarely ever use studios. I'm not too big on a polished magazine cover look, although I'm not opposed to it either. It's just not my first choice to shoot. I prefer to incorporate the culture I live in. Being born and raised in such a diverse city and culture such as Los Angeles, I am inspired by all people, places and things, and I want to infuse that. Even when I'm driving around the city, I look for large painted walls of different colours, and structures that would be rad to shoot with or against.

 

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Well, one of them is my girlfriend, Maria (laughing). She's rad, and she has supported my journey with photography for a while now. Somebody asked me if they thought she was the jealous type, with me shooting different girls, and she's not at all. In fact, I usually consult her with photos I'm unsure about, so she's just about seen it all. She even tags along to help me and the model whenever she can. The other model is our friend, Karla Cuencas. I shot with Karla when I was just starting out, and we didn't even finish our shoot because of the commonalities we had. I told her, "You have to meet my girlfriend. I think you two would get along." And, ever since then, we have all kept in touch and have supported each other. The chemistry is on point with them, so they made this shoot fun. They can turn it on and be sexy, and then yet, talk about food during the shoot. We even got street hot dogs after, and just talked about life. So chill.

 

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I'm really into body language, and I think there's a big difference between confidence and body language. Not everything has to be sexy. There are other emotions such as vulnerability, anger, sadness that can be conveyed through a hand gesture, a tilting of the neck/chin, and so forth. Eyes are everything. So is the mouth. I look for a transparency before I ever work with somebody that can't be faked, or blotted out by confidence. The rest is just a backdrop. Body language is what gives the photo life, and then transfers to the viewer.

 

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I want to thank everyone who has supported my work, and everyone who continues to do so. This includes JUNNNKTANK. Hopefully we can find a way to collaborate more often, like, put a nice butt on a t-shirt? Maybe somebody would wear that. I don't know, but I'd be down to shoot it. Cheers!

 

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We're both very pleased with the results and look forward to an encore.

 










Karla Cuencas // karlacuencas

 

JUNNNKTANK is an online zine which has existed in one form or another since 2006.
For over a decade, the focus has been on highlighting the efforts of inspiring individuals and artists from around the world.

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Submissions are always welcome to junk@junnnktank.com.