BEHIND THE LENS
MERIDA, MEXICO BY FABIAN MARTINEZ
Fabian Martinez is a photographer and visual artist based in Mexico City. For the past five years, Martinez has focused on photographing architects, gallerists, interior designers and artists, as well as their work.
His lens has captured renowned Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, legendary photographer Graciela Iturbide, award-winning chef Enrique Olvera and the famed sculptor Pedro Reyes. Throughout his career, Martinez has collaborated with a wide range of titles, including Openhouse, Dwell, Architectural Digest and Wallpaper*.
He is currently working on a series of photos of Mexico City-– a project he hopes to turn into his first book. Here he shares with us his singular vision of Merida, the Yucatan capital.
Tell us about your relationship with Merida.
My relationship with Merida is quite new. I went for the first time in 2021 and haven’t stopped coming back. I’m obsessed with the city, the food, the architecture and the people.
What’s your favorite thing about the city?
I like how time moves, no one is in a hurry. It has the rhythm of a small city, but at the same time, has a very interesting cultural and gastronomic offer.
What might surprise a foreigner about Merida?
How diverse and unique it is, how different it is from the rest of Mexico.
Describe a perfect day here.
I’d start by having breakfast at Pancho’s Maiz. Afterwards, I’d go to SOCO for a cookie and an iced latte to go as I walk through the center while taking photos. I’d also stop for panuchos at La Lupita and watch the sunset back at my favorite hotel, Casa Puuc.
Can you share a local secret?
Café Alameda, the best Lebanese food.
Your best discovery?
Something everyone should know before arriving?
It’s really hot.
What’s the most special thing about Merida?
How different it is compared to the rest of Mexico. They’ve preserved quite a few traditions and customs; it feels very unique and special.
Where do you go in search of local culture?
To the markets. The Lucas de Galvéz Market is my favorite.
You have 48 hours in Merida– what can’t be left out of the itinerary?
Pancho Maiz, SOCO, Café Alameda, a marquesita, exploring the center and going to the Lucas de Galvéz Market, drinks at Salón Gallos, and the second day I’d go looking for cenotes.
Where to stay?
I always stay at Casa Puuc, the prettiest hotel in Merida. It was designed by the artist and antiquarian Claudia Fernández. It’s spectacular.
The most representative place in Merida?
To me, downtown.
The best dish you’ve eaten here?
La Lupita’s black stuffed panucho.
A place that always inspires you?
The Music Palace.
I love walking through the García Ginerés neighborhood.
Best locals only drinks?
Maybe it’s kind of obvious, but Salón Gallos. I also recently discovered El Gato, which I really liked.
Where can you witness the best sunset?
If you have time, go watch it in Progreso, the closest beach.
A song that reminds you of this place?
What is beauty to you?
I find beauty in everything. I like to analyze and observe the daily life of a place, of its people, of the routine, of those on the street, ordinary people.