Image above: ©Octavio Paz, New Haven, c. 1984, analog gelatin silver, 14 x 11 inches, ed. 2/5
Image above: ©Monika Piatkiewicz
Storied People, an exhibition of black and white photographs by Charles Martin of people he met in chance encounters as well as celebrities, friends and strangers will open at the June Kelly Gallery on Friday, February 12. The work will remain on view through March 12.
Image above: ©Charles Martin, Angela Davis, New Haven, 1996, analog gelatin silver, 14 x 11 inches, ed. 2/5 / Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery
“My photographs are usually unplanned and carried out quickly,” Martin says. “They are primarily a record of a moment of complicity: the person sees the photographer is taking a photo and allows the image to be. In that instantaneous connection, the creative process and vision are grounded in the reality of a life, rich in narrative potential, uncanny and intuitive.”
Image above: ©Charles Martin, Toni Morrison, New York, 2008, digital gelatin silver, 11 x 14 inches, ed. 1/5 / Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery
Some of Martin’s subjects are perfectly posed, as in the still of Toni Morrison, and others a little less so, sometimes refreshingly self-conscious in the moment, like the apparently carefree Angela Bassett. In a shot of Ornette Coleman, an interesting face and an elusive background are fused together to create a striking enigmatic character study.
Martin’s photographs hint at objective detachment from his subjects, but his discerning eye when shooting and his editing and selection demonstrate his personal sensitivity and artistic awareness. It is apparent that dynamic energy, frenzied motion and spatial disorientation are also among Martin’s subjects, but he achieves a balance between aesthetic and narrative functions of his images. His perceptiveness and his empathy for both his subject and its context reflect his ability to organize form, space, energy and light into a stunning and artful visual dialogue. Martin’s photos also often offer a visual choreography between light and its reflection, between the actual and the perceived.
Image above: ©Charles Martin, Angela Bassett, New Haven, c.1983, analog gelatin silver, 14 x 11 inches, ed. 2/5 / Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery
Martin lives and works in New York. He is a graduate of Yale University, where he also received a master’s degree and a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese. He studied photography at the Yale School of Art with Thomas Roma and JoAnn Walters.
Image above: ©Charles Martin, Ornette Coleman, New York, 2012, digital silver print, 20 x 16 inches, ed. 1/5 / Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery
Martin’s photographs have been shown in numerous one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States, in Europe and in South America. His work is included in many private and public collections, among them The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of the City of New York, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University and the Walter Heun Collection.