Luis Sanchez Martin won gold in the Single Image category of our My Back Year: 5 competition. Judges chose his shot - taken specifically for the competition - of the interior of a home in a small Spanish village.
Luis tells us how the winning shot came about. “I was on holiday in the Teruel region where I was born,” he says. “I visited some small villages until I found the perfect scenario for the message I wanted to convey. There was a sort of medieval party going on, and the facades of the houses were decorated with antique rural tools. These, together with the textures and different lighting effects, were key factors in what makes the shot work. Finally - but no less important - is the small dog. Although it took a lot of patience to get him to stay in the correct position!”
The winning shot conveys a cosy sense of old-world charm, giving viewers an intimate glimpse into the world behind a rural backyard.
Self-taught, Luis is a fine-art photographer who is based in Spain. Keen to learn new techniques outside fine art, he recently joined four other photographers at a masterclass in Kenya’s National Park lead by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala (of Getty Images) and Kosuke Okahara (of Vu Agency). Invigorated by the reportage masterclass, he feels it will greatly influence his career. “I have been following trends in photography,” he says, “and realise it’s important to know how to do reportage: from the technical elements of the discipline to the skills around identifying and working on a concept.”
He was excited to learn from two great names in photography and welcomed the opportunity to master some valuable technical skills. “Their attitude to photography, their advice on artistic compromise, their methodologies and concepts provided a fresh model for me to follow,” Luis explains. “I now know you have to do your groundwork, prepare information about your chosen topic, stamp your style on each photo, and really ask why you are taking this picture.”
For sometime, Luis has been shooting social reportage-style shots of the unemployed and the workers of his local city, Valladolid. He also enjoys taking portraits of people in rural areas and working on documentary projects in other European cities. His next project is using a Leica (film) 35 mm with B/W for a social documentary project. “I want to feel the roots and pure essence of photography,” he says. He intends to put to good use the skills and drive he learned whilst on masterclass in Kenya. The personal project will use social reportage techniques to look at aspects of life in South America.