Dr. Martín will be exhibiting at the next Talented Art Fair 1st to 3rd of July 2022 at Brighton Racecourse, where you can meet him and buy directly from him. Since moving to beautiful Cornwall, we caught up with Dr. Martín Raskovsky to find out a bit more about his love of photography and his creation process.
1 For those who don’t already know, who are you, what is your background and what do you do?
I have been a photographer since the early age of 9 when I was taking photos with a small “brownie” box and I built a darkroom in the bathroom of my parents home.
Photography is anything that originates from capturing light through a lens.
I grew up with an education not in the arts but in science. I studied software and obtained a PhD in Computing Science. Worked as a Lectured at Essex University and did research at Oxford University. Passionate and successful in science, kept photography as a hobby and it was at the age of 66 when I closed the science chapter and become a full time photographer.
Ever since the early days, I felt that the reality captured photographically did not matched the emotions I felt while taking the photo. But, in the darkroom, I was able to modify that reality to match my emotions. I “discovered” that I could mask the light beam when enlarging a photo using my own hands. I was able to “manage” light.
Photography is imaginary drawn with light.
I only learned years after, that that method was a well known and accepted photographic technique. Later on, it used to manipulate the reality by sandwiching different colour slides superimposing different times and locations making the surreal possible. These days, with the aid of a computer, I continue applying similar manipulation processes but with a much wider tool set.
Reality, in photography, was traditionally modified via staging, lens filters and analogical manipulation in the darkroom. Today is manipulated digitally.
2 Do you feel as though you are part of the art world?
Not having an education in the arts, it was difficult to me to associate with the art world. It was only at the time of my first exhibition that I understood what art is. In my view, an object becomes art when it provokes emotion in an observer, therefore a creator becomes an artist when her creation becomes art. All of the above have nothing to do with whether it is sold and for how much.
An object becomes art when it creates an emotion in an observer.
3 How have art fairs like the Talented Art Fair helped your entry to market?
My first exposure to the world was exhibiting at an art gallery. That transformed my view of who I was and of what I could achieve. But in an art gallery - after the “vernissage” - you do not stay present all day meeting people. You leave your work and the curators convey messages back to you. In this sense, an art gallery is impersonal, too distant.
Art fairs helped to enlarge the public audience and also and most important to “feel” recognition via face to face engagement with visitors. Also, meeting fellow artists in fairs helps to built a sense of belonging, a family, an art community. Talented Art Fair has been paramount both to enlarge the audience and to find my art community that today I feel proud to belong to.
4 Can you explain your creation process and what equipment do you use?
I used to say joking that what I do is simply going to bed with a camera by the bed side table. When asleep, when a dream came, took the camera and “click … click”
In other words, for me, the creative process is a release of emotions and imagination. I take a photo, and unhappy with the relation of that image with my emotions, I bring it to my desk and start a search process. It is like travelling through a dark tunnel. I know the light is at the end of the tunnel, but I cannot see it yet. I explore, take one lane, backtrack and take another, search for something that emanates from my inside. Until something happens in the conversation between image and me that sounds a bell. A fulfilment that explodes during the “eureka” moment.
Art is a conversation between an object and an observer.
5 You have a PhD in Computing Science and you are a Photographer. Any relation among the two?
Since more that 50 years of my life were dedicated to my profession as a software engineer. I have asked myself several times, what is the relation between the two passions of my life. Software on the one hand, and Photography on the other. Two activities apparently distinct, non overlapping and yet, they both define me.
It took me a while to arrive to the following.
In the software arena, the main activity I have been involved with was “problem solving”. How do you solve an engineering problem? You search for a solution. If the solution was known, there would be no problem. Searching for a solution is precisely what I described above when talking about a “dark tunnel”. And that is the relation. What I do manipulating photography and what I did solving software problems are equivalent “problem solving” activities.
6 Has the pandemic affected how regularly you exhibit your work?
I am happy today we are able to go to Art Fairs and Exhibitions again. The gap produced by the pandemic during most of 2020 and still partially continued during 2021 meant that we all had to stay at home. Last time I exhibited at a Lemon Art event was in 2019. I am happy to be able to catch up again with this wondrous team lead by Leah and Oliver.
7 Who has been the biggest influence on you and your photographic career and how?
The first time I took a photograph was with a simple box with a lens and a trigger. That was immediately followed - on the same day - by the process of bringing the image to paper in the dark room. I was fascinated by the process. Seeing an image appearing apparently from nowhere but realising it was light captured registered on paper. That process blew my mind. Not long afterwords my father ( I was 9 years old ) explained to me using his “modern” camera the technical aspects behind focus, aperture and timing. During several years, I explored and experimented with those elements. On my own, a child in a dark room. Self taught. My imagination was reach enough to provide discovery and entertainment. It is only now, on hindsight that I understand what I was doing then was trying to modify what came directly out the camera to match what I felt at the moment of taking the photo.
8 You've recently moved to Cornwall, can you tell us how this came about?
We lived in North Somerset for more than 30 years. An ideal place that I embraced when I left the academia. A location far away from cities, in the country, living next to the English side of the family, the grand parents from mother side. Out kids left home starting to fly solo, to live their own lives in their late teens. Not long afterwords grand parents passed away. It was time to change. Cornwall came to the scenario. We moved just before the first lock down in 2020. And what a marvel Cornwall turns out to be. The coast lines are inspirational. Every location, every beach, every cliff is a marvel. I am exploring the new country whilst doing my photography in this new scenario.
9 What can the visitors and art buyers expect to see from you at Talented Art Fair at Brighton Racecourse in July 2022?
A collection of both the best of my work so far and the new developments from the new scenario in Cornwall.