Alexis Martino

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catherine, 2011 Photography 4x6 Feet © alexismartino
Quick Facts
surrealism, photography

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” 

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


I've always been a storyteller. From my earliest recollections, that's always what I wanted to do. My love for photography started in high school as I roamed the archaic hallways imagining what had come before and what would come after. My imagination began to expand its creative horizons and explore many ways to tell a story, from the conceptual to documentaries. The narrative depends on the subject, the place and time. I always want a little truth in each piece of work that I do.

As technology and social media platforms change daily, so do the people and their understanding of the self and others in relation to the global world and their backyard. Constant changes in technology and social media force us to see our neighbor in a different light. These media simultaneously unite and separate the artist from the subject or viewer. My work focuses on uniting, understanding and discovering; I nudge technological image making towards that end, working to erode boundaries and the barriers to knowledge of the self and others.

My photographs read easily as film stills. Many of them contain only one subject captured a single moment in time, but each image contains tension between a past occurrence and a future one. The language of storytelling reveals itself in the setting as well as the gesture and expression of the subject. In my narrative portraiture I am searching for juxtapositions of reality and fiction, horror and delight, good and evil, and light and dark. It is the fine line between these opposing forces; the gray areas of the human spirit, that interest me. Underneath the beautiful, polished surfaces of my miniature, self-contained "dramas", there is often a sense of unease, longing and anticipation.

I strive to capture the turmoil that is in each of us that wells to the surface. Despair and paradoxically hope, a thread of strength in a well of madness. The naked self, struggles as the pendulum swings, man prevails or wavers. The fragility of the human spirit, this is my muse.

In my work I have lived the participation mystique, collectively working with my artistic tribe and subjects, to tell the story: the written word, the image, the brush, feeding off each other collaboratively, sometimes nurturing, sometimes cannibalistic. 

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