Shooting Stars: Mary Ellen Mark presents José Antonio Martínez | Photos | Smithsonian
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(Mary Ellen Mark)
(José Antonio Martínez)
(José Antonio Martínez)
(José Antonio Martínez)
(José Antonio Martínez)

Shooting Stars: Mary Ellen Mark presents José Antonio Martínez

At first just an amateur, Martinez devoted his life to mastering the art of photography

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I met José Antonio Martínez in the summer of 1998, when I had an exhibition in Mexico City. The following winter he took the class I teach twice a year in Oaxaca, and since then he’s taken the class over ten times. When I met him he was an accomplished businessman who was obsessed with photography; he has since sold his business and devoted his life to his photography. Because he is enormously capable technically, he can work in many different formats and make powerful images that represent several different approaches. He’s a great documentary 35-mm street photographer. He’s a fine medium-format portraitist. He’s a fine large-format interiors and architectural photographer. His work on birds is completely different from any of his previous work, yet it has the same power and energy. I don’t have the range he does, and I have to admit, I’m a little bit jealous. -- Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark’s documentary work has received many awards, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism awards. Her latest book, Prom, is due out in April. José Antonio Martínez, 62, lives in Mexico City.

Selected by Mary Ellen Mark for our special issue, this up-and-coming photographer discusses his work

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