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  • martinamargaux

Exploring process - Instinct

First day in AlUla, visiting my sister Sofia. I spent the day in an artist residency in a palm grove, where my sister works. I reflect about the idea to push myself to doing, making.

I tend to prepare myself (reading, studying) to perfection and end up doing close to nothing. I’m aware that preparation and learning is not a bad thing. But it needs to be accompanied and integrated by practice.

For example, I was in Marrakech and I kept thinking about all the things I aim to do in the dark room. Meanwhile, I was in a stunning place, with the most beautiful light and my photo camera. Why don’t you go out and shoot!


Practice also means training. Practice also means flowing, letting go of expectations, playing, experimenting, repeating again and again . Today’s training involves my pure instinct.

Work with the tools I have, here and now.


So today I followed my own advice. I am in Mabiti, a VIP artist residency in a beautiful palm grove. I decided not to set out a goal, a theme, a limit. Just go out, observe, listen and capture. Work with instinct rather than intellect. Training session of working with instinct.


And then, after let it follow by a moment of reflection. Record it, document it, process it.


How does my process work?

I think I’m still trying out different approaches. In this case, here’s :


1st step: instinct – pure attraction leads (and let the stuff I read/studied/prepared for flow naturally in my observation). Collect material – images, emotions, observations, thoughts, sensations, sounds(?)


2nd step: process – look at the material from a new position and potentially test different directions to develop it into an art piece - in the darkroom, or post production, or physical manipulation.


3rd step: create a narrative. The power of images is in their evocative narrative quality. So I want to create a series. Observe the images , listen to what they’re telling me and THEN write their story.

I don’t know if that works but here is the plan I want to test out (instead of categorically picking a theme and look for images that embody that theme). Normally the latter would be the methodology used? In this case I want to work on the observation of myself, a sort of self-portrait by portraying my regard. So the only direction is to capture what moves me for whatever reason and only THEN observe the material from an external perspective and interpret it as if I was a shrink or a scientist.


4rd step: make objects (“a photograph is an object”, make photographic objects)


5th step: go back to step 1


Mabiti photo session thoughts:

It’so weird to write about it and not having pictures to support my thoughts, but let’s try.

I notice: I am drawn to details and close up shots but also graphic compositions and textures. I am attracted by the inner structure of matter, of nature, of reality. The abstract is evocative to me but also graphic compositions of contrast/conflict/darkness.

Death, holes, shadows, contradictions. JANUARY UPDATE:

I developed the film. I like the time of analog photography. It allows the eyes to rest and the mind to absorb. And when you finally see the results of a shooting session, it's like you're seeing it again for the first time. I am not too satisfied by this shoot, but I want to pursue this direction. I'm also thinking about how I can materially manipulate/transform/reveal the images I shot. They need something "else" to be born. I'll experiment on this in the coming month.

Contact Sheet:


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