Martin Gavica

Martin Gavica, photographer, Mr.Pink.

By Sheila Madsen, March 2024

“ I have been a photographer for as long as I can remember.” From the age of ten holding a Kodak camera, Martin has been giving us photographic gifts, each image is a silent poem. Martin invites you to view the slide show below.

Martin’s lens captures these stories effortlessly. “I am a simple creator of images enamored by life, women and the beauty that surrounds me.” Sitting in my living room, with his wife Gabriela Velarde [Gabi] he’s ridiculously humble and is not terribly interested in discussing his 30- year career as one of the most gifted photographers in the world.  He’d rather talk about giving back, Pink Power [Mr. Pink, more about that later] and how his career has enabled him to donate his time and money for his real passions – art and health.

Born in Mazatlan in 1967, he and his trusty Kodak would photograph friends, his neighbour’s pets, his siblings, family holidays and always the ever -present, ever-changing ocean. His family appeared to support his love of photography but when he was 15 his mother gave him guitar – probably thinking he may have a musical talent too. “I did have a passion for rock music, I shifted from Catholicism to Beatlemania, however, I paid no attention to the guitar as my favourite pastime was playing soccer.

When Martin was 17 he acquired his first professional camera, a Minolta SLR [his father found the camera abandoned in a park – hard to believe, I know], and “it became an inseparable companion. I began capturing my experiences – holidays, parties, soccer games and school events. What I loved most about photography was not the artistic achievement itself but the ability to forever preserve my teenage adventures.”

Again, Martin quickly glosses over the “artistic achievement” – it’s so natural for him, so part of his DNA, he doesn’t realize that his images take your breath away. During these teenage years Martin would travel to California – Orange County, San Diego and Los Angles staying with friends and family and even some VIPs who knew the LA scene. He flirted with making movies, movie stars, rock stars, models and swears to me he saw Mick Jagger playing the harmonica in a swanky club. I believe him and I also believe that the 80s LA scene didn’t really impress him. Because, in 1992 he returned to Mazatlan to become a professional photographer, “and here I am thirty years later with my Nikon, the darkroom long gone.”

This interview would not be complete without a loving endorsement from his best friend, Claudia Lavista – which will lead into Martin’s love of photographing the Delfos dancers and the students of EPDM.

“I arrived Mazatlán in 1998, Martín and I became friends in a second, perhaps because we discovered that we both shared a fascination for everything related to art. Through Delfos and the Professional Dance School (founded in 1992 and 1998 respectively) Martín encountered the power of the body in movement and was fascinated; he then began a relationship between his camera and the dance that continues to this day, becoming a close witness of dance pieces, special collaboration projects, graduations of students about to take flight into professional life, and personal projects. Martín created the Bella Foundation -in tribute to his mother and, from this platform, he has undertaken countless projects that have helped and promoted a wide diversity of women. He also produces concerts, is an inveterate music lover, tireless traveler and lover of all kinds of beauty.

Our relationship transcended the meeting of photography and dance and we became brothers and sisters in life – for 25 years we have been faithful friends, always present in each other’s lives, always interested in each other’s imagination, always wanting to invent new projects together to continue discovering ourselves as human beings and, celebrate the luck of having coincided on this plane of existence. Martín is, without a doubt, a very special human being whom I consider a fundamental pillar in my life.”

[Claudia Lavista – choreographer, dancer, professor, co-founder of Delfos Danza Contemporánea and the Escuela Profesional de Danza Mazatlan and Dirección de Danza de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM as of May 1, 2024.]

Since 2010, Martin has been photographing the contemporary dancers – Claudia’s students. “People familiar with my work with dancers often label me as a dance photographer. This is a misconception; I am not. I have never photographed a dance performance or a choreography in progress. I am a photographer who uses dancers as subjects, regardless of the project. I will always choose a dancer over a model. Their body language is unparalleled; even when still, their bodies convey a sense of movement.”

For more information contact: or on FaceBook, fundación bella.

Now we come to the heart of this profile what lies deep in heart of Martin Gavica. What gives him meaning, what drives him – and how he earned the nickname Mr. Pink. For those of us who have lived in Canada, the UK, in the US, and had knowledge of self-examination and “must-have” annual  mammograms – you simply won’t believe what Martin and Gabi have achieved. Martin’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 at 61 years old and died eight years later. Breast cancer was never discussed, it was shameful, it was a taboo subject. During his mother’s treatments Martin would spend time with doctors, and other care givers realizing that self-examination, early screening, mammograms, the entire disease was never ever mentioned. A silent killer. There was absolutely zero awareness of prevention. Feeling helpless and desperately wanting to shine a light on breast cancer awareness, a mindless football game sparked an idea in Martin that exists today. No, not football, but during that game all the players were wearing pink socks, pink shirts, pink gloves; they were celebrating the annual October breast cancer awareness in the United States. “What can I do for women and families in Mexico”.

Gabi Velarde and Martin Gavica.

Here’s what Martin did. He gave up his photography career for 14 years. He organized a photo shoot with 67 women in a strapless dresses, they told 10 other women, he arranged for auctions and raised enough money to create the Bella Foundation, named after his mother. “I became a feminist.” Martin took Pink Power on the road; 60 cities in Mexico, six countries in Latin America.  He’s educated and empowered more than 40,000 women [don’t be afraid of your male doctor]. Gabi printed self-examination booklets, how to look for lumps, and speak up and get help. Together they cracked open the taboo subject of breast cancer like a pinata and all the knowledge fell out along with volunteers and strong female ambassadors. With Pink Power, Martin and Gabi have probably saved hundreds of lives. With Pink Power, the Bella Foundation has money that Martin’s team donates for scholarships for EPDM dancers and many other health issues. Remember Martin’s passions – art and health.

According to Gabi, Martin rarely relaxes. Martin agrees and says “I’m in heaven when I just float in the ocean but I also like to play tennis, draw, listen to music and watch movies.” As Martin calls it “the pandemic pause” allowed him to organize all his photographs and create a new book, La mujer y el mar, women of the sea. The couple are leaving soon for Asia to supervise the printing of this gorgeous book and will have a much-deserved vacation.

During our four hours together, I was struck by just how powerful being humble is.  “Whatever I do, it has to have meaning, I have to give back.”  So very true, Mr. Pink.

[If you would like to buy a Martin Gavica photograph, prices start at $5000 pesos, you can send him a WA message 669 929 6934 or message him on FaceBook, Martin Gavica’s Photography. This is also applies if you wish to donate to the Bella Foundation/Pink Power.]

Martin’s new book, La Mujer y el Mar, Women of Sea will be available in October 2024. In June, the pre-sale price is $1000, and after that month the price will be $1200. Limited edition. You may place your order with Martin on his WA – + 52 669 929 6934 or message him on his FB page.