Marina Gondra Interview
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born in Bilbao, Spain, and I grew up with my family in the city. Since I was little I loved doing crafts like painting. After going to school I ended up studying arts in college. I specialized in painting for 5 years, but during my spare time I liked taking pictures. I learned photography self-taught since I was 15 and I loved taking pictures of everything that surrounded me. At the age of 22, I traveled to Italy to continue my painting studies. It was the first time traveling on my own, to a new place where I didn’t know anybody, and I had to learn a new language. It was very hard at first, and that’s when I began taking self portraits as a way of expressing my feelings. Photography was like a therapy. When I came back to Spain, I decided I wanted to dedicate my entire life to photography.
In my spare time I love travelling, reading, going for a walk, painting and knitting. Oh! And, together with my boyfriend, we are Newborn Photographers too!
When did you first begin to make art?
I always liked drawing. In my class I was the only one drawing on every piece of paper, the edges of the notebooks and on the blackboard before the teacher would arrive. I think I’ve always been connected to art, but it’s just something I didn’t know before I was 18 and I decided to study an artistic career. That’s when my horizons began to spread and I thought about the range of possibilities that an artistic life could bring me.
When did you first start using Photoshop and how did you learn?
As internet was installed in my house when I was 15, I began using social media as a way of sharing my works. Once I discovered Flickr I watched incredible images for other photographers and started investigating. I learnt there were some programs to edit photos, and that’s how started using Photoshop for the first time.
Watching tutorials and videos on internet was the best way to learn. I must say I have never to a Photoshop class and everything I’ve learnt has been through tutorials on the internet.
What inspires you?
My day to day. This is a question I’ve been asked so many times, and after these years, I think that everything that surrounds me is an inspiration for me. I like to shoot mostly in landscapes, and mother nature inspires me so much. But not only this. Everything that happens to us can be an inspiration, every anecdote, a new friend, something you tried for the first time, a new adventure that fills you inside, or even when you are experiencing a bad time in your life.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I follow a lot of artists, but if I had to choose, I’d say I love Oleg Oprisco’s work!
What is your typical process when creating a piece of art?
I always lead the same parameters when working. Once I have the idea, I like to sketch it in a piece of paper. It helps me visualize it. Then I decide where I should take the pictures and go in search of the perfect landscape. As I said before I shoot most of my pictures outside and I love nature taking part in my work. I spend a lot of time looking for a perfect place. Once there, I first take pictures of the background, and the model isolated. In this case, the model is me, and most of my works are self portraits.
To finish with the process, I edit all my images on Photoshop.
Where do you get your source materials from?
I try to use my own stock most of the times, and every object I use in the images are objects that I have at home. So I try not to use or buy stock if I can do it on my own.
What is your favorite Photoshop trick/method at the moment?
Right know I’ve started painting on the photographs. I know it’s not a trick but a very manual process, but I think that if you use it carefully you can create a very beautiful atmosphere and enhance the depth of field.
What is your favorite Photoshop tool or plugin at the moment?
The way I work is very manual, I don’t use all the tools at all, but I like changing a lot of the colors of my images so I guess one of the tools that I use the most is the selective color tool!
What work of your own are you most proud of?
The work of my own that I am most proud of is an images called “Fire”. At first sight it might be a really simple one, but it took me weeks to finish it. I went to the forest at 7 am chasing fogs during the sunrise. When I got there there was no fog and I had to work with a light and an atmosphere I didn’t like at all. I brought some sparklers with me and I lighted them up several times to create fire around me and I liked the experiment so much. But it took me weeks to edit this image.
The result did not convince me and I even thought about deleting it so many times. I guess I found the way to like it after all!
What are you currently working on?
I’m not doing a project right know. I did a 52 weeks project two years ago which was so hard and right know I try to create an image per week, which is difficult due to the workload that I have right now.
But my goal is just create and enjoy. Doesn’t matter if I have to wait a week or a month to get the time to do it.
What would you tell someone who is starting out making Photoshop art?
I’d just say be patient and constant. If you enjoy what you’re doing for sure you will get better results in less time than you think. And take time to be inspired!! Being a whole week in front of the screen is not going to help you.