Interview with Frederico Martins
If there were more cork products our ecology would be better
APCOR News – Being from Santa Maria da Feira, what is your connection with cork? Is there any business in family related to this raw material
There is, in fact, a very strange coincidence in my case; my family is not originally from Santa Maria da Feira – we came to live here after we left Africa. But my maternal grandmother is Algarvian, from Silves, and the daughter of a cork manufacturer from that city, which before Santa Maria da Feira, was known as the national cork centre. My great-grandfather was a victim, so to speak, of the success of the industries in our council, and he ended up closing his business, like almost all the cork companies in his region. It was a complete coincidence that my family have come to live in this council, and that I was born here!
What are some of the “marks” that the cork industry has left on your childhood/teenage years? Is there any experience or story that you would like to tell us about?
Perhaps only the incredible landscape of cork oak forests on family trips to the Algarve. As we have family there, the trips were quite frequent, and as those who have been there will know, the Alentejo countryside in the spring is absolutely fantastic.
In your work as a photographer, have you ever come into contact with cork? Or suggested its use in any circumstance?
Not directly related to my work, no, but I always teach, mainly with the models
, and foreign teams that I work with, the importance of choosing cork products, particularly wine bottle stoppers. It doesn’t make sense today to opt for synthetic bottle stoppers or caps when there is a natural, biodegradable, environmentally friendly stopper, as is the case with cork. As I enjoy wine, I end up having this discussion with lots of people.
What was the experience of sponsoring three cork oak trees like?
Unique. I wasn’t expecting it, but it ended up making sense. As a confirmed ecologist, with a degree in agronomy, environmental issues are very close to my heart, and cork is one of those rare examples of a non-food agricultural product that has a vast, multidisciplinary, everyday use, while at the same time, enabling the preservation of a natural ecosystem, as in the case of the cork oak forest. If there were more products like cork, our ecology would certainly be better.
What is your opinion on the initiative of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal to make the Cork Oak the national symbol?
It’s only a pity it comes so late, but there’s no doubt that the cork oak deserves our appreciation and admiration.
As a Portuguese from Santa Maria da Feira, what is your view of cork?
It’s an extraordinary product, a true gift of nature, which we Portuguese had the vision to take advantage of like nobody else. We had the ability to promote and raise its image to the level of excellence that it deserves.
What message would you like to give to the Portuguese on this subject?
That they should choose cork products whenever possible.
Frederico Martins is an agronomist by training, but a photographer by passion. He grew up in Santa Maria da Feira, and at the age of eighteen, after gaining valuable experience in Angola, he received an international award in Paris. He studied Photojournalism and Fashion, the latter earning him the Prémio Fotógrafo Revelação (Photographer Revelation award). In 2011 and 2012, he was nominated best Portuguese fashion photographer, gaining the “Fashion Awards” award of Fashion TV. Frederico Martins is now a household name in Portuguese fashion photography.
His work has appeared in magazines like Dsection, Vogue Italia, Vogue Portugal, Vogue India, Vogue Ukraine, Myself Germany, Elle Portugal, Elle Indonesia, Maxim USA, Maxima, and GQ Portugal among others.