"MARTY'S EYE" by Frank Smyth (originally published in January 2000 at DigitalJournalist.org.)
I have worked alongside dozens of shooters in all sorts of places for most of my adult life. They each have their own eye and every one focuses differently. Working with Marty in Cuba last year, I often wondered what he was doing. While many photographers shoot their subjects in order to capture a still-frame of drama, Marty focuses on a drama's subtle ironies in order to capture a timelessness that transcends it. This is not the kind of skill that one can easily learn from another. Instead it comes from a silent voice guiding his eye that is self-taught.
Marty focuses on people --victims-- from Bosnia to Rwanda, from Guatemala to India, from Liberia to Sierra Leone. The scenes are painfully intimate. In the wake of his subjects' individual traumas, Marty manages to break down their defensive walls. The funny thing is he rarely says much to them while he works. Instead he compels them through the unspoken compassion that they see clearly in his eyes. And they speak to us through his lens.
Marty's photographs are available at DigitalJournalist.org and other websites:
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