We had the good fortune of connecting with Valente Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valente, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I had a strong realization within my own abilities, passion, and experience to pursue Photography while providing for my future. I love the visual arts movies, photography, painting anything where an individual has to figure out how to visually interpret themselves or a message. Heck even commercial I still look at them like a little visual assignment for myself to decipher.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I identify as a Chicano Photographer, my target audience as POC, small businesses, and 1st generation Mexican American’s. I have been recently empowered by my pursuit of higher education and my own personal journey of my identity through ChicanismX. Which has inspired me to empower my community and create an image that reflects the beauty, power, and humanity of Chicanx’s. I am proud of the work I have done, the comfort I can bring to my subject, to honor and not betray who we are. I had to accept who I am otherwise what use would it be for me to accept my neighbors whom I’m building up their image when I can’t give the same love and respect myself?
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ahh, where would I even begin? I’ll give you one of my favorite day trips I took to San Diego with my then-girlfriend (now fiancé) one year. We had breakfast at one of my favorite historical cultural neighborhoods. Barrio Logan, got a Horchata latte at Por Vida. If you skate there’s a great skatepark to push wood. Great shops and restaurants that are full of life from the community. Enjoy a walk with your coffee observing the murals, they reflect the history of Chicano Culture, struggles and triumph’s that Chicano Park captures beautifully. They only accept Cash at Las Quatro Milpas a super dope restaurant that is also one of San Diego’s oldest restaurants. Also look out for any events that the neighborhood celebrates like the anniversary of Chicano Park or the La Vuelta an event where Car Clubs show up and show out their Lowriders. For lunch order take out from Hodad’s or a California Burrito from some of the many taco shops that the city offers. Lucha Libre Taco Shop is also a solid spot that has an amazing style. Then take it to Balboa for a nice picnic in the day. Plenty of space and shade to enjoy the natural beauty of San Diego. To end the night I am going to shoutout and pay homage to a spot that will be sincerely missed by me as a Cinephile, Ken Cinema in Kensington. A single screen movie theatre that championed all of Cinema from Cult Classics, documentaries, foreigns films, and straight up classics. I’m sad it couldn’t survive the pandemic, but another location that offers a similar variety that Ken Cinema offered, the Landmark Hillcrest Theater. Or to keep the old school vibe going I would encourage y’all to take a trip to South Bay Drive-In Theatre and watch a movie like we did in the 50’s, take some cash for here too. That’s only for the City, North County is the spot with all the breweries hit me up if ya want any locations in my neighborhood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I need to give a Shoutout to the story of The Godfather, that film made a lasting impact into my life. Rewatching that film annually has lead me to pursuing filmmaking, writing, production and then finally Photography. It made me love literature, recognize the people behind it when I wanted to learn more about those films. Francis Ford Coppola who wrote it, mentions what the story meant to him and how he could see his family. He recalls how when he watches his film that he doesn’t see a movie to him it feels like a family photo album. I have always wanted to capture that in everything that I do in any little thing that I make. Now I get to offer that same care in everything I capture. A lot of women from the Palomar Community College faculty who went above and beyond when learning of the fields I was actively pursuing. I would like to also give some love towards my family and friends, especially my Fiancé, whom has inspired me and kept things in perspective when dealing with peaks and valleys of this journey.
Still from Super 8 footage filmed by Alex Vega.