Tom Martinez, Witness Photography
From Louise Crawford's, Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn:"In his dual career as a minister and photographer, Tom Martinez is drawn to images that reflect the interfaith diversity of New York City and its unexpected natural habitats, In 2003 Martinez became minister of All Souls Bethlehem Church in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 2000 and subsequently completed a three-year stint at Christ Church in Summit, NJ. With the Christian Peacemaker Teams, he spent two weeks in Baghdad in an effort to promote a human connection with the Iraqi people and alternatives to war. He is the author of the book, “Confessions of a Seminarian: Searching for Soul in the Shadow of Empire.” His photographs have been published in the Staten Island Advance, the Brooklyn Paper and of course on the blog, Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn."
Tom Martinez (photo: Tamar Haviv)
Artist Statement: Witness Photography
I refer to my creative work as “WITNESS” photography becauseI’m trying to see and help others see deeper into life’s mystery. I’m indebted to the poet Rilke when it comes to the art of seeing, and understand my work as a visual extension of his Duino Elegies. My signature image of the angel (pictured at left) was one of my first really iconic images, resonating with the opening lines of Rilke’s great masterpiece, “The Duino Elegies.” Rilke says about the angels, “even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.”
More recently I’ve begun to collaborate with the wild old Beat poet, Albee ("A. A.") Pritchard. I took an author photo of Albee for his book of poetry (Howl Now!) back when I first met him and in his contagiously enthusiastic rapid-fire speech he blurted out that I had captured his soul, prompting him to dub me a Beat photographer. Because of my longstanding interest in the Beats and because I was so taken with Albee, I started embedding words and phrases from his poems in my images. We have a collaborative show opening at 9th St. Espresso (341 E. 10th St.) on Sept. 27th from 6PM to 8PM.
Albee, A. A. Pritchard, whose latest collection of poems is titled,