All self-portraits by Vikki Martinez aka Elvikkin. Used with permission.
“I have too many ideas and wanted an outlet for them,” explains Vikki Martinez, aka Elvikkin. You only have to take a look at her photography to understand what she means. Through her creative imagery, Martinez illustrates a mind bursting with thoughts and visions. Although her self-portraits may suggest she’s still figuring herself out, they deliver a message that says she’s confident in her creative capabilities. Looking at her portfolio is so much fun. To have the right balance between deeper meaning and light-hearted creativity isn’t easy to achieve. And yet, at only 23, Vikki is killing it! Her work is full of personality, color, humor, and excellent technique. If you need further evidence that she speaks for who she is through her photography, take a look at her YouTube channel. She’s certainly a character, and it’s great that she is comfortable enough to show this through both her photography and videography.
As big fans of her work, we asked this young creative with a bright present and an even brighter future to have a chat with us.
Phoblograrapher: Do you take time to plan your self-portraits, what they will look like, etc.? Or do you just shoot them when you please and go with the flow?
Vikki Martinez: Ohhh, yes to all of the questions! I sometimes plan them. I’ll have an idea and I will try to recreate what I imagined as close as possible. Sometimes I just like a picture so much that I let it kind of make itself. A lot of the pictures with the contour lines are pictures I put in photoshop and edit until I like what I have. Like a freestyle edit, I guess I could call it.
Phoblographer: What do you find is the biggest challenge when creating a compelling self-portrait that people will enjoy?
VM: Almost all of it is a challenge. Reaching people through photography is already a big challenge. And self-portraits can be a little harder since I am the only model. I’m always worried people will get tired of seeing my face so I try to change how I look as much as I can. It’s also a challenge to just create to please people. I take photos and edit them mainly for me. I LOVE IT! So putting it on social media makes me think twice. Am I doing this for myself or for others? I think it is good to find an in-between/or a balance.
“A lot of my photography reflects someone that I want to be? Instead of who I am.”
Phoblographer: How would you describe your personality and how do you feel you communicate it through your photography?
VM: This is a difficult question. You know I’m still pretty young so my personality changes so much! And so does my photography. So I find it really interesting how my photos are a reflection of my current self. A lot of my photography reflects someone that I want to be? Instead of who I am. So kind of a character. More edgy and confident – which I’m trying to be! But I am also a pretty extreme introvert so I like showing some vulnerability.
Phoblographer: What gives you the most creative satisfaction; a self-portrait or a portrait you take of someone else?
VM: 100% both. I feel comfortable doing both! When I take self-portraits I am the auteur and I can do what I like. Same when taking photos of someone else. I feel in control of the vision. Being strictly behind the lens is easier though. I feel like I have a clearer view of the model and their surroundings and I can frame everything better.
Phoblographer: Career-wise, what goals do you have over the next five years?
VM: Wow, that’s a loaded question. Because I have a lot of goals, but as everyone in the arts, we are at risk of graduating from art school and working at a fast-food place. Fun!
My goals though don’t have any of that. I am confident of my visions so I think that will help me with my future as a photographer or videographer. I’m a film student now, so in the next five years, I want to work on set as much as possible! I think that’s what I’d love to do in the long run.
Let’s do some quick-fire questions…
Phoblographer: DSLR or Mirrorless?
VM: DSLR, because it’s what I use. But I want a mirrorless camera!! (I’m saving up.)
Phoblographer: Prime Lens or Zoom Lens?
VM: Prime Lenses! I am a tiny girl I like lightweight lenses. But if I could afford it I would own both.
“…I am drawn to some that have more of an emotional story behind it.”
Phoblographer: Photography or Videography?
VM: BOTH! I want to implement photography stylistically in videography! I am so in love with both I could not choose.
Phoblographer: Vegan or Meat eater?
VM: I eat meat. Sorry babies. I don’t like meat all that much so I rarely eat it. But respect to the vegan community I might join in a few.
Phoblographer: Finally, which is your favorite self-portrait and why?
VM: Ah, wow! This is like asking who my favorite child is. Not that I have children but my art is such a big part of me it’s very hard to decide. Each photo I take and edit has a bit of me, some more than others so I am drawn to some that have more of an emotional story behind it. The contour photographs are some of my favorite though. Still, it’s so hard to decide! So, I will just say I love all my children equally!
You can see more of Vikki Martinez’ work by visiting her Instagram.