Many great things have been said about love but my recent favorite comes from an Alt-J song Nara. According to it, "love is the warmest color," and I couldn't agree more.
Love is the ultimate insta-filter that suddenly puts a nondescript hue on everything and everyone around you. It isn't tangible, not something you can mix on a palette but one that manifests itself in our loving eyes and smitten minds... It is the color that I see oozing from Wanda Martin's photo series Lovers.
Martin, 26, was originally born in Hungary and moved to London for her Master studies in Fashion Photography. She says all of her work – both personal and editorial projects – covers the same themes of gender politics, sexuality, subcultures and youth culture. Martin tells Konbini:
"I aim to investigate identity as a construction in our post-modern age – both sexual and subcultural identity."
Practicing art and "image-making" since she was 15-years old, Martin quickly developed her unique aesthetic that is influenced by 19th century pre-Raphaelite paintings and works of 17th century Dutch artists such as Vermeer. She also admits that her father (fine art photographer) had some effect on her as well.
The birth of Lovers
Lovers is one of Wanda's personal photography projects. It started about two-three years ago when she started familiarizing herself with gender studies – something that was caused by a personal experience. "Initially, my motivation was to investigate myself," Wanda says.
"My aim was to explore the nature of sexual fluidity and show the similarities between different kinds of (hetero- and homosexual) relationships through photographing couples of our contemporary youth culture."
Martin says she wanted to showcase that love and sexuality do not depend on sex and gender, only the people involved.
In her deeply sensual portraits, Wanda captures the connection between a diverse group of couples that she is familiar or friends with. They are all photographed in their own rooms, thus adding an additional layer of intimacy.
Passionately kissing, lovingly embracing or just quietly resting on each other, all of the couples display similar signs of affection proving Wanda's point – love is universal and its expression should never be limited by external factors such as gender, age, race or sexual orientation.
But... what is love?
Given her close experience with people in love, we asked Wanda Martin – so what is love, anyway? Maybe after three years of photographing lovers, she actually found the answer? Maybe one of her models dropped some wisdom on her?
"I didn't ask my models... I should have done that, actually – maybe I would have the answer. I would be the happiest if I could tell you what love is! Please, let me now if you do..."
Want to know a secret, though? Most of the couples featured in Wanda's project are not together anymore. That doesn't mean the moments they shared on camera weren't love. I guess we'll never know 💔...