My name is M.Martinez and I'm a Portland based photographer. It took a long time to realize images could tell stories, evoke emotions, and change lives. Photography became a possibility for me at eighteen, I had a friend whose father was a canon brand ambassador and photography was on the cusp of transitioning from film to digital. They granted me access to equipment I couldn’t afford and I developed a passion for photographing people. When that relationship ended so did my access. I couldn’t afford a camera but was determined to continue. I started out as the picture lady in schools, then moved on to photographing families at the mall, working at portrait studios all around the Pacific Northwest. In 2009 I settled in Portland, and was able to further develop my skills. Two years later I opened M.Martinez Photo.
Photography became a way to reclaim narratives and take up space where I or others weren’t represented. I used personal projects as a way to change what I saw perpetuated in mainstream media and to uplift those who were also breaking stereotypes and working for change.
In 2018 I connected with Don’t Shoot Portland. Documenting their events I became part of the community. The more involved I become, the more I come to realize my part in history. I remind myself of the privilege that I’ve been granted to visually tell someone else’s story. It’s not my story, and I strive to make sure that it’s authentic and true to whomever or whatever I’m photographing.