Jose J Martinez
Interview by: Death Machines
Photos by: Jose J Martinez
Intro: Jose Martinez was introduced to composition and form at a very early age. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, he spent his childhood accompanying his father, a noted architect and Director of Urban Planning, to construction sites.
Jose has been published extensively in such periodicals as Urban Velo, Vapors Magazine, Tuner Performance Reports, London’s Fixed Magazine, and Japan’s Ollie. Flavorpill, an online lifestyle magazine, recently partnered with BMW and together selected Jose to capture New York’s unique landscape. Since then, Jose has collaborated with Nike, shooting pictures for their sportswear store in SoHo. Recently, he was awarded Bike Short’s second place prize for his sequence-shot video. Formula Drift Staff photographer 2008 & 2009 season.
Jose Martinez, 27, New York
For anyone who doesn’t know you, what do you do?
Most people know me as the Official Formula Drift photographer/Fatlace blogger. I also cover some of the Fixed Gear scene in NYC.
Where are you originally from?
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic in a town called La Vega (not Las Vegas, NV).
How did you get involved with motorsports?
Ever since 1996 when Honda came out with the hatchback Civic I fell in love. I was very young at the time but as soon as I was able to afford a car I got more involved with the whole import scene as well as Option DVD/Best Motoring/Drifting.
How did you get your FD gig?
I shot Formula Drift Round 6 Wall, NJ in 2007 – John P who is the media coordinator and Fatlace blogger saw the images and asked me if I was interested in shooting and being a part of the Forumla Drift staff as a photographer. Thanks John!
What is your position at FD?
What/who are some of your inspirations?
I’m a diehard Formula 1 fan – I download images of the events from various photographers and I try to mimic some of their shots in our events. But there is one photographer that I follow a lot and that’s John Brooks from Speedhunters.
What are your plans for 2010?
This year I got to experience a different country (Japan) with Mark Arcenal of Fatlace. Next year I want to be able to travel east (Europe), as well as Canada for Formula 1.
Are you interested in freelancing for mags or web?
Most people know me because I shoot drifting but some don’t know I shoot a lot of landscape and street photography. I’ve shot for newspapers, city parks, celebrities and well known brands such as Nike, Casio and BMW.
Can you believe no mags offered you big money for any cover shots – or have they?
Hehehe, not that I know, but some of my photos have made their way to magazine/newspaper front pages (maybe not the whole page). I think front page is a good accomplishment for a photographer, but I don’t measure myself in those standards. How about a gallery show??
What do you like to shoot besides cars?
Landscape, Street photography, Marco and Long Exposure/Night photography. This is not a type of photography but I’ve been shooting a lot of film (35mm).
During the week, what’s your story?
I’m a Retail Manager for a well known company. I don’t have that 9 – 5 Monday – Friday job.
What are your thoughts on DeathMachines.net?
I like the coverage that Death Machines showcases – most autoblogs only show imports or are dedicated to certain sports. With Death Machines you get all the coverage from around the world and most importantly, you get a lot of videos, not just pictures.
What are you into? Drinking, partying, hookers: give me some dirt!
Oh man, as a photographer I get to cover a lot of events and I’ve been lucky enough to get media passes to parties, open bars, VIP events, etc. When it comes to girls, I’m a single man – still weighing my options.
Do you spend more time on the web or with your camera?
I think I spend more time with the camera; I have a lot of stuff that I have not been able to publish. I always have my camera with me and here in NYC there is always something going on.
What are you shooting with?
I recently got the Canon EOS 7D – but for the last 2 years I’ve been shooting with the Canon EOS 40D. I also have the Canon Elan 7 (35mm).
Where did you get your shooting style?
I think it is a blend of different photographers. But maybe it’s just how I see things or the mood of the moment. I’ve never been to school or have taken any class for photography – everything I know has been different stages of Trial and Error.
What are your favorite sites?
Fatlace.com; Formula1.com; Flickr.com/j2martinez; hypebeast.com; deathmachines.net; speedhunters.com; boston.com/bigpicture; Kanye West’s blog; thesmogcheck.com
What are your 3 favorite mags?
GQ/Details Magazine; F1 Racing Magazine; Maxim Magazine
Jose, thanks for your time. Any last thoughts?
Thanks Gary Gardella for the interview. I want to thank John (ID Agency), Jim and Ryan for allowing me to be part of Formula Drift for the last two years. Mark Arcenal for letting me blog at Fatlace.com – everyeone who follows my blog and flickr.com. 2010 is going to be a good year, maybe video shorts instead of photography.