If photographs could talk, a look through Walter Martinez’s “Humans of GMU” Tumblr blog could single-handedly describe moments across campus that define the diversity and uniqueness of Mason’s campus.
Martinez is a street photographer, meaning he uses his camera to capture otherwise forgotten and passed-by moments, focusing on Mason’s campus.
“I want to capture the people and what’s going on,” Martinez said.
Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” photography project, this Mason student takes photo- graphs to capture the people around him and the inspiring moments of everyday life.
Martinez’s love of art runs in his family. His father owns an art studio and gave his son an old Nikon from the ‘80s. Soon after playing around with it, he enrolled in a photography class. Last semester, to further pursue his interest in art, Martinez created a blog to show his images.
The trickiest part of street photography is getting a good feel of how to angle a shot without looking through the lens. It
is best to get as close as you can without overwhelming the subject. This style is meant to capture real-life moments, as people in studios may feel awkward knowing they are behind the camera. The feelings in street photographs are raw and uncensored.
“I like how his photographs show people. There’s so much going around campus, and so many people, it’s nice getting to see that,” Mason student Kattey Paros said.
Martinez does not edit his photos before uploading them. Although it is tempting to tamper with Photoshop or other after-effect aids he feels, these aids can only do so much.
Some well-known tips when taking photographs include leading lines, framing a subject and rule of thirds— basic photography rules. However, with street photography, moments are happening everywhere at every second. If one takes too long positioning a camera, one would lose the chance of capturing the moment.
“The biggest thing is just get over your fear of other people, because that was the biggest thing for me,” Martinez said.
“That initial fear of ‘would it be OK if I take a picture’… you just have to go and do it.”
Martinez started his blog with photo- graphs taken with his Nikon SLR camera. However, this semester he’s been taking photographs in film, so uploading pictures takes a bit longer than usual. The pictures on his site vary—some are black and white, others are filled with color. Martinez prefers the former because, “black and white brings out the emotion.” Also, although there are some photos taken off-campus, the blog mostly surrounds life at Mason.
To promote his site, Martinez is giving away a free opportunity. The 200th follower — if he or she is a Mason student — will get a portrait session for head shots, band photos, couple shots or anything that the winner decides.
To see Walter Martinez’s work, visit www.humansofgmu.tumblr.com.