Laura Martinova, a Barcelona-based photographer and director at Diamond Rocket, traces the inspiration behind her work back to her childhood, lit by the neon city lights and the endless nature surrounding it. A curious and imaginative child with no siblings, Laura spent the days entertaining herself – drawing, inventing games, and creating movies. The field of her creativity grew as she expanded her playground to the city, and her curiosity never waivered.
“I spent a lot of time in shopping malls with my parents and friends on weekends,” she remembers fondly. “I was so excited to go shopping. The mall’s lights in contrast with my town’s beautiful nature and fields are still really connected to my work, which also fluctuates between natural landscapes and hectic city life.”
Laura has since made homes in Barcelona, Prague, London, Paris and Berlin, with every move making her filmmaking more agile and versatile through the influences of these cultural melting pots. While today she is back in Barcelona, spending as much time with her family as she can, she knows that the world awaits.
At Pompeu Fabra University, Laura took up audio-visual communication and specialised in cinema after. There, she made her first industry connections and learned theoretical concepts, but explains that she missed out on the practical side of filmmaking. “That’s why, once I finished university, the first thing I did was to start a production company – Konek – with some female friends. I wanted to create and learn from practice.”
Therein, Laura completed her first ever professional project – a small film for Fostering Arts and Design Barcelona. And, as with any low-budget endeavour, the creativity had to soar high. “I directed a film about people’s faces, lights and shadows,” she says. “It was a very minimal concept, but we made it work beautifully, with a nice camera and sound mix.”
Laura would follow this with some low budget commercials, music videos and documentaries. And while she was only at the Konek for nine months, they proved to be the start of a necessary foundation for what was to come. And, what came was a call from Vice Spain, who offered Laura a role as a director in Barcelona and Madrid.
“I started working for Vice in 2013, and stayed for three years,” she says. “There, I learned a lot about directing professionally for brands, agencies and clients. After that, I went into freelancing, which has allowed me to enjoy different projects and have some free time to rest in between them.”
During this stint, Laura picked up on one important lesson she still holds close to her chest: “Be patient, trust the process and think twice before making an important decision.”
To this day, Laura believes that while trusting your gut is important, eliminating impulsivity aids the creative process immensely. “Being mindful and aware helps my creative process. Impatience just doesn’t work.”
Once she went into freelancing, Laura got involved in a few career-altering projects that helped her find her own voice. ‘Popscuro’ was one of them – a music video for Clubz and a very special piece of work for her that she shot in 2017, with Colmado production company and again, a very low budget. “After this project, I got calls from some production companies in Spain that wanted to represent me as a commercial director,” she says.
“I then signed with Lobo Kane and started directing ads for McDonald’s or Four Roses. It was a huge step for me as a director – after that moment I could work on much bigger projects in Spain and in Europe as a whole.”
Some years ago Laura also took up photography professionally, which was a direct result of her love of experimentation. “It gave me a completely different point of view on image creation and allowed me to explore other parts of myself as a creative and a woman.” Her love of changing mediums and the unexpected remains one of the reasons for her to stay and persevere in the industry – something she notes is very competitive, and a challenge both for those who are ‘creative’, and [those who are] ‘sensitive’.
As such, getting overwhelmed is almost a given, she continues. “You always have to be available to work on a new project, while staying fresh and updated, creative and strong mentally. This requires a lot of self-discipline and is something that I got more used to after some years of working as a freelance director and photographer.”
What she believes is necessary, more broadly, is for the industry to become forgiving to young creatives who are just starting out. “They need to be able to be present in their creative process, so we can all get a more renovated vision of things – in filmmaking but also in the agencies’ creative process.” She adds: “I also think the industry should stop being so old school and plainly regressive.”
Throughout her career, Laura has collected an enviable amount of personal heroes – creative women she admires in both photography and directing. “They have been an example for me because of their technique, but also their personality, professionalism and work ethics. Béla Adler, Eva Losada, Angie López, Maite Astiz, Thaïs Català, Ariadna Monfort, Maya Lu, Seila Grau, Angela Ibañez, Lisette Ros, Karina Kolokolchykova, Yarik Umanets, Mona et toi… They are friends but also a daily source of inspiration and knowledge.”
These are also the people that keep motivating Laura. But, the list of inspirational factors doesn’t end there. “I love travelling, music, books, movies, food, art and my friends and family,” she says. “I always try to stick to a routine when it comes to my own quality time. I enjoy watching good classical films, especially directors like Kubrick, Hitchcock, Haneke, Lynch, Varda, and many others. Daily life is still my main source of inspiration.”