I Need You More Than You Need Me
Project info

This project is a multifaceted body of work developed, over a period of 3 years, from a collaboration with Grain Projects and the families of inmates housed at Her Majesty's Prison Birmingham, in the area of Winson Green, Birmingham.

Using the social context of incarceration as a starting point, Martins explores the concept of absence, and addresses a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing prison as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, the work proposes we rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.

The project thus wilfully circumvents images whose sole purpose, Martins argues, is to confirm the already-held opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment: violence, drugs, criminality, race—an approach that only serves to reinforce the act of photographing and photography itself as apotropaic devices.

Composed of three distinct chapters, encompassing film, archive and new photography, and text, Martins’ work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame.