Published by La Fábrica. Text by Sérgio Mah, João Seixas, John Gribbin, Leonor Nazaré, Sean Blair.
Though a notoriously secretive organization, in 2012 the European Space Agency (ESA) allowed Portuguese photographer Edgar Martins (born 1977) to explore their facilities. The photographs collected here depict more than 15 ESA facilities--test centers, robotics departments, jet propulsion laboratories, space simulators, astronaut training centers and more--scattered throughout the world. Though Martins' photographs aim for total reproductive fidelity, their very simplicity and starkness disassembles space, provoking contemplation of the aesthetic, material and discursive potentialities of these highly confidential areas. Martins' project does not end with this volume: between 2014 and 2018, his exploration of the ESA will continue in the form of audience-driven events, such as seminars, exhibitions and forums.
Published by Aperture. Text by John Beardsley. Interview by David Campany.
With artful composition and controlled framing--but no digital manipulation--Edgar Martins creates sublimely beautiful views of often unbeautiful sites. Minimalist nighttime beaches, forests ravaged by fires and Iceland's stark terrain have all served as subjects for his large-scale color photographs. He also explores the unexpected impact of Modernism on the landscape, including startlingly graphic airport runways and colorful highway barriers that, at first glance, read like abstract murals. Certain themes recur throughout Martins' work. A sense of place and alienation from it. A sense of mystery-vividly embodied in scenes such as a woman with a bouquet of balloons on a deserted shore. And a sense that something unsettling has just happened or is about to happen--a fire, an accident, a close encounter with some unspecified danger. As John Beardsley notes, "Some images are what we habitually expect photography to be--evidence of the world as we think we know it--while others obscure their subjects through an illusionism that borders on magic."