“Cabin Fever” by Martin Blanco

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“In between the cover of another perfect wonder/And it’s so white as snow/Running through the field where all my tracks will be concealed/And there’s nowhere to go”
– Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow (Hey Oh)

When I was a child, I used to live the winter season like a moment of exhausting existential tedium, going from the television to the window, from the books to the window, from the chimney to the window. It could have snowed! But, in the end, not even the shadow of it could be found. And maybe this is the biggest wish of someone who lives in my city in the south of Italy: to wake up one morning and to see the snow, next to the sea.

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Instead, if you live in a small town in Minnesota during the winter, you’ll see that the temperatures and the wind reach 40 degrees Celsius below zero, the sun sets around 16, and, from that moment on, there it is little to do if not to shuttle between the television, books and fireplace. For Martin Blanco, someone who has spent half his life in Maracaibo, Venezuela, climate change can only be a harsh reality from which, at times, one needs an escape. So, Cabin Fever was born almost by chance through the search for an emotional awakening during a claustrophobic winter spent in an old house, barely reached by the sun, looking for beauty in the small and unknown neighboring communities.

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The method is quite bizarre, but functional: with an analog camera in one hand and Google Maps in the other, Martin goes in search of nearby cities until he finds a place he has not been to.

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Then, usually about an hour or two before sunset, he reaches these cities by car – a borrowed car, ending up farther and farther than he had told the owner – and there exploring neighborhoods, agricultural fields and even industrial buildings, withhis Canon AE-1. “It was a way to ignite the lost flame of the desire to travel that had become extinct after living in this state for so long”. Martin, in fact, studies cinema and television production at university in New York, but returns to Minnesota as much as he can.

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Unlike my work as a director, I tend to approach photography sporadically – I never actually plan my shots before discovering them in a particular place and at a particular moment, unless they involve multiple exposures. But even then, the first shot is rarely something premeditated. It is always immediate and given by the moment. And I never shoot the same thing twice. I hate to waste film .. But maybe I’m just cheap!

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All images © Martin Blanco / Website: martinblancofilms.com / Instagram: @martin.a.blanco
Written by Marta Mauriello
Translation by Gabriella Lanzi

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