Exposure

Exposure Pro: Claire Martin

About The Author

CNET Editor

Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.

Exposure Pro is a series looking at the work of leading professional and artistic photographers.

Name: Claire Martin

Claire Martin

(Credit: Claire Martin)

Biography: Claire began her career by pursuing a degree in social work; however, she changed her focus to photography when she realised that change can also be effected through this medium.

Since beginning her career pursuing personal projects in 2007, Claire has quickly gained praise for her unique style, receiving support from Getty Images as an Emerging Talent in Reportage in 2009, as well as representing Australia's Emerging Female Photojournalist for Foto Freo 2010. She has recently joined the renowned Australian documentary photo collective Oculi, and her work is distributed through Agence VU in Europe and Redux in the US.

Claire lives in Perth, Western Australia, where she works as a freelance photographer and a socially concerned documentary artist.

Awards

Magnum Foundation Inge Morath Award for Female Photographers under 30 years of age (2010).

Artistic statement: Petionville Club Camp photo series

I arrived in Haiti in the middle of the election frenzy, and within a few days of being there, the entire city closed down. International airlines refused to fly, businesses didn't open and everywhere there were violent road blockades, fires in the street and angry mobs protesting. The popular candidate "Sweet Micky" Martelly had not made it into the final run for presidency, and the hugely unpopular Jude Celestin had made the cut. It was clearly rigged.

The people, exhausted from a year of dealing with the grief of their losses from the devastating 12 January earthquake, and seeing little chance for change under the current government, had little other option than to revolt. They can't write a letter of complaint; 40 per cent of Haitians can't write at all. They clearly can't create change through a democratic election — the country is one of the most corrupt in the world, and they simply can't continue to go on as they are. What are the options for a people who have no education, no employment opportunities and consequently little or no control over their destinies? The Western concept of self-determination has little value in a culture that has consistently and for generations been oppressed.

With around one and a half million people internally displaced by the earthquake that devastated the capital Port-au-Prince, it is a shocking sight. Every spare piece of land has turned into a tent city, and whole suburbs and major infrastructure lay demolished, essentially turning an entire city into a slum. Frustration is mounting, as the camps that were deemed a temporary measure are now, a year later, looking quite permanent. But still the majority prays and waits patiently for something, anything, to give.

Video interview

More of Claire's work can be viewed on her website, clairemartinphotography.com.

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